EDITOR’S NOTE: This is a weekly column provided by the Alton Regional Convention and Visitors Bureau that discusses the impact of tourism on our region.
If you haven’t noticed, the chill of winter has bitten us a couple of times this season already.
From a tourism perspective, most destinations would be sad about this. But the staff at the Alton Regional Convention and Visitors Bureau is buzzing about the temperature plunging. Why? Deep freezes bring more eagles to the region, which in turn brings thousands of visitors to a typically unpopular time to visit because of the frigid temperatures.
Our eagle season offers some great opportunities for eagle watchers, with programming offered each and every weekend. Don’t miss the Alton Visitor Center meet and greets to start your adventures every Saturday in January from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. New this year, we have a live chat on our website at www.VisitAlton.com so that people can ask us questions about where to find the eagles and how the counts are this year. We also have stories on the website that give weekly updates for our numbers of eagles and swans in the region and their favorite hangouts. As a way to get people throughout the region, we are also continuing the free eagle T-shirt giveaway. For those visitors stopping at five of our eight eagle hotspots, we will give them a free eagle T-shirt (while supplies last). The anchor for all of our season is the official eagle watcher’s guide. This booklet tells people where to spot the eagles, how to get there, what eagle events are going on, where to spend the night in the region for a packaged deal and much, much more. Pick up your copy at the Alton Visitor Center or download it on www.VisitAlton.com/Eagles.
Aside from eagles, January also celebrates the local flavors of the region as the CVB sponsors the fourth annual Alton Restaurant Week. From Friday, Jan. 16, through Sunday, Jan. 25, you will have the opportunity to dine at 16 participating restaurants as part of the week’s promotion. The 16 include Aerie’s Riverview Winery, Amarillo Tex’s Steakhouse, Bossanova, Bluff City Grill, Carver’s BBQ, Castelli’s at 255, Fin Inn, Franco’s Restaurant, Gentelin’s on Broadway, Grafton Winery, Johnson’s Corner, My Just Desserts, Outfitter’s Grill at Argosy, Reeta Marie’s Country Store, State Street Market and Tony’s. Also, if you dine with these participating restaurants during the week and bring in your receipt, you will receive a free commemorative glass that showcases the Clark Bridge and our eagles. Fritz Distributing is our beverage sponsor for this week and is co-sponsoring the glass giveaway with the CVB. Check out all of the menus, details and more at www.AltonRestaurantWeek.com.
We have many eagle events still on the horizon, along with many wonderful winter adventures on their way. Please check out all of the fun and adventure waiting for your next outing at www.VisitAlton.com.
Stawar is president and CEO of the CVB, which works for the vested interests of hospitality partners in northwestern Madison County and all of Jersey and Calhoun counties.