EDITOR’S NOTE: This is a monthly column provided by the Alton Regional Convention and Visitors Bureau that discusses tourism events on the horizon.
We are in the dog days of summer, but for tourism in our region that is a great thing!
July is typically the busiest month of the year for our industry. So far, we’re on pace to keep that momentum going to help make this month another success for us all. We had a soggy, yet still productive Fourth of July holiday. The numbers are not as strong as they could have been, but the industry still celebrated in style. We are wrapping up another successful All Star Restaurant Week this weekend, through Sunday. We would like to thank all of you that chose to dine out this week to support our wonderful family-owned restaurants! You still have a couple days to taste their great specials and be a part of the fun for this bi-annual celebration of our local food; check out AltonRestaurantWeek.com for details!
We are also very excited about what the future holds for this coming year. Thanks to the work of Governor Rauner, the administration and our legislators, tourism is funded for the next 12 months! We can look forward to planning strategic promotions that integrate with a yearlong exposure with more comfort than ever before. However, the impasse did not come without a cost. Unfortunately, Illinois lost significant market share and is now trailing the Midwestern states of Ohio and Michigan with total number of visitors. But with a coordinated state campaign and your CVBs working in the trenches, Illinois will rebound to the top very soon.
Back to the summer scene: the Liberty Bank Alton Amphitheater will be offering some great sounds over the next few weeks with the Feed the Need concert featuring Rodney Atkins and Jana Kramer on Saturday, July 16. Also, things will heat up next weekend as we welcome the Charlie Daniels Band for a little “The Devil Went Down to Georgia” fun. In the coming weeks, we will welcome back the Food Truck Festival on Aug. 27 and Travis Tritt in September.
Finally, mark your calendars for some unbelievable family fun! It is time for the return of Kid’Cation! From Friday, July 29, through Sunday, Aug. 7, the fun will be all about the last moments left of summer for families to squeeze out one last getaway. Our partners have once again delivered for the families, with specials like a free kid’s ticket to Raging Rivers to a family fun Amtrak Day at the train station. You will also find great deals on overnight stays and even some discounts on food, like at The Whole Scoop in Grafton with $2 kid-sized Mississippi Mud treats! The Alton Visitor Center also will host an eagle from World Bird Sanctuary and the Lewis and Clark Confluence Tower will feature the princesses from “Frozen” at the tower. The fun will be non-stop and you can find all of the great fun at VisitAlton.com/kidcation.
What are you waiting for? Get out there and explore the Great Rivers region as we sail through the final weeks of summer!
Stawar is president and CEO of the CVB, which works for the vested interests of hospitality partners in Madison, Jersey and Calhoun counties.