EDITOR’S NOTE: This is a monthly column provided by the Alton Regional Convention and Visitors Bureau that discusses the tourism events on the horizon.
It is true that because the river runs west to east here that our sunsets are sensational in the summer, with the sun dipping into the mighty Mississippi River each night during the season. Summers are also sensational with tourism as the Meeting of the Great Rivers region explodes with activity and great times for the busiest times of the year. We are about to wrap up another summer sunset and begin the trek into our second busiest season of the year, our fantastic fall.
Before we dive deep into fall, let’s recap the past season. Just in the last month, the CVB conducted some incredible campaigns to grow our market share of travelers. We encountered another successful All-Star Restaurant Week that had diners rushing into many of our family-owned restaurants throughout the region. And, we gave away another record amount of glasses reaching nearly 2,000.
We also just wrapped up a more family-focused campaign with Kid’Cation that celebrates the last hurrah of summer for parents to delve into 10 days of fun-filled adventures for families of all types. With programs from the pirate cruises aboard the Hakuna Matata to the Princess meet and greets at the Lewis and Clark Confluence Tower, this Meeting of the Great Rivers region was teeming with great family memories for all and had expanded activities and more people enjoying our many attractions and amenities.
Also these past few weeks, we’ve seen some successful concerts down at the Liberty Bank Alton Amphitheater with Rodney Atkins and Charlie Daniels. Don’t forget to buy your tickets for the last concert on Sept. 9 with Travis Tritt. Many other great activities are on the horizon with the amphitheater, including several movie nights, the food truck festival on Aug. 27 and some planned summer gospel series concerts later this month and in September. The live music scene continues to explode and can be followed at VisitAlton.com/livemusic.
We’ve also welcomed the Queen of the Mississippi a few times on the riverfront already and the Spirit of Peoria has some special cruises planned on Aug. 31 that will be an event you will not want to miss. Alton Little Theater has a dinner mystery cruise on Aug. 31 or you can enjoy sightseeing cruises earlier in the day. Tickets can be purchased at the Alton Visitor Center or online at VisitAlton.com/cruises.
As we transition into fall, be on the lookout for the new fall guides that will be arriving next week to celebrate the season and invite thousands of people to join us. We also just received the state travel magazine with the fall season filled with bounty to enjoy throughout the entire state. So, it is bittersweet as the summer sets, because our next big tourism season should continue our growth.
Stawar is president and CEO of the CVB, which works for the vested interests of hospitality partners in Madison, Jersey and Calhoun counties.