Government

Pro-Trump boat gathering draws hundreds at Coralville Lake

Others enjoy mild weather at Lake Macbride on Labor Day

SOLON — Hundreds of people gathered for a pro-Trump boat parade at Coralville Lake on Monday.

More than 100 boats trickled into the lake by Mehaffey Bridge with Trump signs, “Make America Great Again” flags and American flags. One personal watercraft had a Donald Trump costume tied to the back,

People came from across the state to watch the boat parade, including from more than four hours away in Spencer.

Attendees said it was energizing to be around so many other supporters of the president.

“The silent majority is silent no more,” said a man who said his name was Jimmy Liberty and dressed up in a Revolutionary War costume. “We’re going to be in full force the next couple months.”

More than 200 people lined up along the bridge, often waving flags and cheering.

“I’m going to assume this is a safe bridge,” Deb Brodersen said with a laugh.

Craig Pryor, of Iowa City, said he was “very impressed” by the turnout. It gives him “optimism” heading into November.

More than 90 percent of attendees were not wearing a mask despite a Johnson County order requiring people to wear masks when 6 feet of distance is not possible.

The man going by Jimmy Liberty said the pandemic is being “overblown” and was not concerned about social distancing.

ARTICLE CONTINUES BELOW ADVERTISEMENT

Brodersen, who came from Spencer and works in a hospital, said she wasn’t concerned about the virus and lack of masks being worn because she was keeping distance from others.

“I think I’m real careful,” Brodersen said. “If I was going to be in an enclosed area, then I would have my mask on.”

The event, lasting more than an hour and culminating with local radio station 100.7 The Fox KKRQ playing the national anthem, remained peaceful.

The national anthem that was played — Jimi Hendrix’s version, made famous at Woodstock in 1969 — didn’t win everyone over, though.

“I love the national anthem — I’m very patriotic — but I just don’t like that version,” Brodersen said. “I’m just not a rock star fan. I’d rather do country.”

Two boats with Joe Biden signs were seen on the lake, but there was no physical confrontation.

A quiet time at Lake Macbride

Nearby at Lake Macbride, it was a much quieter scene as families looked to enjoy the mild weather. About noon, fewer than a dozen people were at the beach.

“It actually wasn’t very busy, so it was very nice,” said Mark Greiter, of Cedar Rapids.

After a summer that was anything but normal during the pandemic, Alicia and Hans Hoerschelman and their two sons enjoyed continuing their Labor Day tradition of going to Lake Macbride.

ARTICLE CONTINUES BELOW ADVERTISEMENT

“It’s a nice little tradition that we started, so we’re happy we are able to keep it up,” Hans Hoerschelman said.

Even the time of day has been the same for the last three years. Not everything is quite the same, though. The 6-year-old was wearing a mask this year, and instead of a packed beach, it was almost empty.

“The people that are here have been really respectful about distancing and things like that,” Alicia Hoerschelman said. “So that helps a lot.”

Greiter went on a pontoon boat with his family for a couple of hours before going to the beach. Unlike the Hoerschelman family, this was his first Labor Day going to the lake.

“Now we’re probably just going to go home, grill out and probably do some tree cleanup from the storm,” Greiter said.

Comments: (319) 398-8394; john.steppe@thegazette.com

Give us feedback

We value your trust and work hard to provide fair, accurate coverage. If you have found an error or omission in our reporting, tell us here.

Or if you have a story idea we should look into? Tell us here.

Give us feedback

We value your trust and work hard to provide fair, accurate coverage. If you have found an error or omission in our reporting, tell us here.

Or if you have a story idea we should look into? Tell us here.