Real Grand Excursion is a rare occasion which has two basic targets: to entertain and to educate. Let's look 151 years back when the first and original Real Grand Excursion took place. 1854 was the year of the so-called renaissance of the upper Mississippi River. At that time America experienced a rapid growth of population and despite the fact that New York was the largest and the most important city those days, other cities that we know today as big industrial and cultural centres were gaining their national status very quickly. When the original Real Grand Excursion was only a project, it was expected that no more than 500 participants would take part in it, but it appeared that as many as 1,200 guests actually took part in the realization of the project. On top of that, most of them were VIP's of that time from a great lot of different spheres, including publishing, theatre, education and literature. One of the most prominent figures was Millard Fillmore, former US president, who headed the group of famous politicians. Because of this motley crowd of celebrities the group of excursionists was called "the most brilliant ever assembled in the West".
There were all in all five boats for guests who were entertained during the whole course of the Excursion. Music, small talks, casual conversations, first-class food, courtroom dramas, political speeches and those satirized by the nineteenth century comedians were delivered. Finally, the Powerful of the country were encouraged to award the crew and riverboat captains and others responsible for that trip. As a result of the Real Grand Excursion 1854, the Davenport area became the key rail-crossing point in the region, several areas gained considerable freedom of publicity and for other destinations it was a starting point of the acceleration of their development.
The Grand Excursion 2004 was less ambitious, but the goals were carefully chosen as those which are of paramount importance these days. It is more than just necessary to take care of our environment, that's why the organizers chose students as the target audience of the Excursion. The River resources had to represent nature and its impact on humans' lives. The River represented the Flow of life; the River became everything for the participants: the transport, their enjoyment, the source of inspiration and creation, and even food.
The River is music, the River brings thousands of miles along its course into life, river possesses the Greatest power in the world - The Power of Beauty which can inspire and nourish with energy. That's why the Grand Excursion 2004 embraced even the banks of the river with another large excursion program - The Grand Excursion Bike Ride, also organized in such a way that it couldn't cause problems with luggage, food and entertainment - no one could say he was disappointed.
What differences and innovations will the new Grand Excursions bring us?