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Above, Frankie Valli (at right) and the Four Seasons headline the 2018 Loessfest concert at Tom Hanafan River’s Edge Park.

Due to the recent Missouri River flooding, the current condition of the Tom Hanafan River’s Edge Park, and this summer’s projected Missouri River levels, officials from the City of Council Bluffs and the Iowa West Foundation have canceled Loessfest 2019.

Loessfest, established in 2013, has traditionally kicked off the summer season with a free, family-friendly festival during Memorial Day weekend at Tom Hanafan River’s Edge Park on the Iowa side of the Missouri River. In April, officials announced the postponement of Loessfest 2019 moving it to Labor Day weekend hoping the park would then be dry.

“Cancelling Loessfest was not an easy decision to make. We know it has become a summer tradition for many of our residents,” Mayor Matt Walsh said in a press release issued Monday. “The Missouri River has begun to recede and is not posing a threat to our levees. However, it is forecasted to remain at a level that leaves River Road, and the western edge of the park, flooded all summer.”

The hub of Loessfest activities, Tom Hanafan River’s Edge Park, is an 85-acre preserve and recreational area located at the foot of the Iowa side of the Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge, stretching both north and south along the Missouri River. Since its inception, Loessfest has drawn more than 200,000 people from all over the region to Council Bluffs.

“River’s Edge Park was designed to flood, and once the river is back in its banks we will begin cleanup,” Vincent Martorello, director of Parks and Recreation, said in the release. “It saddens us to cancel Loessfest this year, but we are confident that the park will be restored when the flooding resides.”

In the absence of Loessfest, the city has begun planning a different community-wide celebration to be held at Bayliss Park over Labor Day weekend. Details are expected to be released soon.

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