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.
You can already see it! The grasses are greening and the tree buds are sprouting, creating a new look to our luscious landscape. Spring is here, officially just in a few days. We will keep an eye on the rituals of spring flooding, but let’s hope that the worst is behind us for 2016 already when it comes to rising waters. The warm weather is a welcome surge in activity to our great outdoor destination.
Something new this spring is the Downtown Alton St. Patrick’s Celebration from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, March 12. The RiverBend Growth Association, along with Fritz Distributing, the CVB and Argosy Casino, are making sure Alton is a stop for the St. Patrick’s Day weekend fun. Join 15 restaurants and bars as they celebrate the Irish. Third, State and Belle streets will be closed downtown, making it more safe to enjoy the many sounds, food and drink specials. Argosy Casino is providing a continuous shuttle from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. with stops at Argosy’s Hop House, Downtown Alton Visitor Center, Johnson’s Corner, Bluff City Grill, Elijah P’s Burgers and Brews, and Old Bakery Beer Company. See how many places you can visit and try their specials for the day or enjoy the fun they have on tap! Check out all of the details at www.AltonStPats.com. Alton Main Street is also hosting the St. Patrick’s Day Tavern Tour Thursday, March 17.
As we head through the ides of March, we have plenty of reasons to be wary. The impasse at the state continues and we’re hearing that it may go on well into next fiscal year without a budget. I will be headed to D.C. to meet with the US Travel Association next week to discuss national issues affecting travel and tourism growth with our congressmen and senators. We will also have the opportunity to enjoy the Illinois Governor’s Conference on Tourism in the coming weeks in Springfield. Your CVB has lots of activity going on to ensure that Alton and our tourism product become elevated in the eyes of the state and federal leaders.
Finally, this is the month for spring break. Many local schools will be out for a few days or the entire week. Consider taking a day or two and visit the many wonders our region offers. Make a night of it at a special guest house, cabin, lodge or hotel. Plan your trip accordingly at www.VisitAlton.com this spring and check in for some great deals.
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.