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Touch of Venice on the Rock

A Venetian Night, proposed by Dixon Main Street’s new events and marketing coordinator, sounds like fun. It would help build upon one of the community’s greatest assets, the Rock River.

Published: Tuesday, April 29, 2014 1:15 a.m. CDT

Organize and stage a Venetian Night along the Rock River? Why not?

We like the idea that was “floated” by the new events and marketing coordinator for Dixon Main Street in a story in Saturday’s SV Weekend.

Giana Bonneur said her first project will be to bring a Venetian Night to the Dixon riverfront.

Bonneur, of Morrison, previously worked in downtown Chicago and thus is familiar with the big tourism draw that is Chicago’s Venetian Night.

Every July in Chicago, boat owners decorate their vessels with colorful lights and pilot them past delighted audiences in the twilight.

Along with the lighted boat parade, music and food are on the agenda during the Windy City event.

Dixon’s version of Venetian Night may have fewer yachts and gondolas, but it could bring excitement and people to the Heritage Crossing Riverfront Plaza and nearby downtown attractions.

It could help fulfill Bonneur’s stated wish to “see something happening on the riverfront all the time.”

That general desire has been stated, in various ways, for at least a century.

Telegraph editorials from 100 years ago, reprinted recently in SVM’s Editorials from Yesteryear feature, stated that the Rock River was “one of Dixon’s greatest assets” and urged local residents to capitalize on it.

How could that be done?

On Jan. 27, 1914, the paper called for the re-establishment of athletic clubs to promote water sports on the river.

Owners of canoes, speed boats, and other craft were encouraged to organize “an active, enterprising boat club.”

A country club, built along the river, would be a positive step, the editor opined, as would greater advertising of the river’s beauty and recreational opportunities.

On March 17, 1914, the Telegraph proposed that a week of boat races on the Rock River should be scheduled for that summer.

The regatta “would be of no inconsiderable value to the city from an advertising point of view.”

Well, Venetian Night ought to have considerable value as a fun, entertaining event that would make excellent use of the riverfront.

We look forward to it.

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