At the Riverlands Migratory Bird Sanctuary in West Alton, visitors will be able to paddle the calm backwaters of Ellis Bay.
With a day full of entertainment, events and activities on both sides of the river, the inaugural Great Rivers Festival will celebrate the Mississippi’s rich history and continuing importance to the region.
Hosted by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the Meeting of the Rivers Foundation and partners on the river, the Great Rivers Festival will reconnect visitors with the river through activities in Alton and West Alton, Mo., from 10 a.m. to 5 pm. Saturday, May 17.
“The Great Rivers Festival is a celebration of the region’s confluence of the Mississippi, Illinois and Missouri rivers,” said Angela Smith, natural resources specialist with the Rivers Project Office. “The theme for the festival is ‘There is something for everyone — a celebration of our shared river resources.’”
The National Great Rivers Museum in Alton will host live music, local food and drink vendors, local art vendors, live bird and reptile shows, and tours of the Dredge Potter and the Living Lands and Water barge. Visitors looking to help manage the river’s invasive species in the tastiest way possible can also learn how to catch and prepare Asian carp.
At the Riverlands Migratory Bird Sanctuary in West Alton, visitors will be able to paddle the calm backwaters of Ellis Bay. Canoes, kayaks, and stand up paddleboards will be available for $5 per person with equipment provided. Paddling is open to all ages and skill levels, but visitors must be 11 or older to paddle solo. Visitors will also be able to talk to members of the St. Louis Canoe and Kayak Club plus many other paddling enthusiasts about water safety and paddling our great rivers.
For a list of show times and events, visit www.mtrf.org. Like us on Facebook at facebook.com/GreatRivers and follow #GreatRiversFest for additional event information.
The National Great Rivers Museum is located off River Heritage Parkway (Illinois 143) at No. 2 Lock and Dam Way, East Alton, adjacent to Melvin Price Locks and Dam. The museum is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and has free admission. For information, call (618) 462-6979 or go online to www.mtrf.org.