The Queen is coming

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The 10-year-old American Queen reaches 418 feet long and is the largest, authentic paddlewheel steamboat in America. (Submitted photo)

By Addison Mumm

The American Queen, America’s largest steamboat, will stop at the docks of Prairie du Chien once again. This authentic paddlewheel steamboat previously visited Prairie du Chien several years ago.

The 418-foot steamboat will tentatively dock at St. Feriole Island on Wednesday, Aug. 12. The boat will arrive if the weather and river levels permit. As part of the “Shake, Rattle and Rollin’ on the River” cruise, the roundtrip St. Paul nine-day journey will visit St. Paul, Minn.; Winona, Minn.; Dubuque, Iowa;  Prairie du Chien; La Crosse; Red Wing, Minn., and again to St. Paul, Minn. This schedule is always subject to change anytime because of fog, mechanical problems or water levels.

“Even if the American Queen is unable to make it, the special events and activities will still go on in Prairie du Chien,” said Prairie du Chien Tourism Coordinator Patti Wacker.

There will be no tours of the American Queen while it’s in Prairie du Chien. Due to safety precautions, only passengers and the Queen’s staff are allowed on the vessel.

This historical, Victorian-style steamboat can welcome over 400 passengers for its many voyages. The hundreds of passengers will have the opportunity to venture into Prairie du Chien’s downtown, the Villa Louis, the Crawford County Jail and 1800s jail, the Fort Crawford Museum, Valley Fish and Cheese, the Fur Trade Museum, Dousman House and the Cannery.

Downtown, the passengers and locals are all welcome to enjoy music from the Barn Gypsies and history story telling in the Lori Knapp parking lot across from Pickett Fence, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Visit city hall as Luanne Neumann talks about the history and artwork throughout the building. Also explore and tour the 1800s jail and Crawford County Courthouse.

Tickets for non-passengers to see the 1800s jail will be sold at the Fort Crawford Museum for all locals. There is no need to be alarmed as cannons will be fired on the hour and every half hour from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Fort Crawford Museum. All non-passengers are welcome to enjoy the day on the lawn. Those who will be firing the cannons will be dressed in appropriate time attire. Donations are greatly appreciated for the event. Don’t miss out on the special occasion.

There will be a charge for tours at the Villa Louis and the Fort Crawford for non-passengers.

Shuttles will circulate from each hop-on/hop-off site every 15 minutes from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. for the Queen passengers only. Parking spots will be designated for these shuttles near each of the hop-on hop-off sites.

The visit of the American Queen can create more opportunities for visitors to the Prairie du Chien area, according to Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Bob Moses.

“If this event goes over well, we could be a port for more cruises, not just the American Queen,” Moses said.

Everyone is encouraged to get out and enjoy the special events as well as welcome the American Queen passengers at the St. Feriole Island riverfront.

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