This week’s trivia question: When was the Hamilton Primary School built?
Answer the question here; winners may choose a free lube and oil change from Drake Tire, a $26 value, or a $20 gift certificate to Tony’s Restaurant in downtown Alton, Gentelin’s or Jimmy the Greek’s on Broadway in Alton. Winners will be notified by email on Monday and may pick up their prize at AdVantage News.
EDITOR’S NOTE: This column, provided by the Alton Regional Convention and Visitors Bureau, discusses tourism events on the horizon.
It has been nice these past few weeks to actually get the chance to celebrate summer. The floodwaters have subsided and the visitors have been coming back in droves. This week, we are closing out our newest initiative, Kid’cation, which has bundled many offers for families and travelers to enjoy and explore our region. We had more than 300 children and families attend Alton Amtrak Days and we experienced sellouts on the Pirate Cruise on the Hakuna Matata in Grafton. This first-year promotion centered on families and kids has been great. The tradition has started!
Last month, we touted the anticipation of All Star Restaurant Week and experienced incredible numbers with more than 1,200 people coming into the Visitor Center as part of this program. The reviews were very favorable for our local dining establishments. We also successfully distributed a new dining guide to our attractions and online at www.VisitAlton.com on the dining section. Check out the great editorial and foodie content here. It is sure to make you hungry!
Sports continues to be king in the area with lots of baseball tourneys in Alton and Bethalto. This week, be sure to catch all of the great American Legion games at Gordon Moore Park. We are also preparing for a great co-ed ASA Softball Tourney.
Finally, this past month the Illinois Office of Tourism reported a record-breaking $444 million in tourism expenditures for 2014 in Madison, Jersey and Calhoun counties. I joined the Illinois Office of Tourism crew at a special roadshow in Lebanon at McKendree College to hear the great news. We also are trending well for this year, 2015. However, the state of Illinois budget is looming and will begin to greatly affect tourism revenues throughout the state if funds are not soon released to support tourism as an economic driver. The budget impasse is affecting our CVB locally and tourism throughout the entire state. The governor and legislators are supportive of tourism, but everything has been on hold since July 1 for tourism promotion throughout the state.
But enough about the good news and bad news; let’s celebrate today. Get out there and enjoy the end to summer by catching a world class baseball game at Gordon Moore Park or have fun with the kids at a special Kid’cation program. Check out all the fun at www.VisitAlton.com/kidcation.
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.