CHARLES CITY, Iowa --- The whitewater course on the Cedar River is open and already delighting kayakers and those hugging inner tubes.
"It was a lot of fun," Mara Forsyth, 15, of Charles City, said after riding a tube on the course.
She's glad the course was built.
"I think it will bring a lot of people to our town," she said.
Officials declared the course officially open after safety signs were posted this week. Enthusiasts, however, have been hitting the water for two weeks or so.
Bob Kloberdanz, chairman of the Charles City Parks and Recreation Board, went tubing last week with 45 members of the Charles City High School baseball and softball teams.
"It was wonderful," he said. "Everyone was down here having a blast."
Kayakers from Iowa, Nebraska, Wisconsin and Minnesota also have been on the course, according to Kloberdanz.
A ravine play area on the riverbank with logs kids can walk on and other features was just completed as part of the whitewater park.
The rest of the project, which includes an amphitheater, fountain and labyrinth, should be ready in time for a grand opening celebration July 29-30, according to Kloberdanz.
Tentative plans for the celebration include walking tours of the park, water demonstrations and exhibits and a ceremony cutting a giant ribbon stretched across the river. A flotilla of boats and inner tubes also is planned.