1 of 3
Sara McGibany of Alton Main Street, Lt. Gov. Sheila Simon, Mayor Brant Walker and Christine Favilla of the Sierra Club pose for a photograph after Simon received the Confluence Conservation Award in 2013.
2 of 3
Volunteers board Army Corps of Engineer boats at Alton’s public dock for the Mississippi Earthtones Festival river cleanup.
3 of 3
Amphitheater main stage and activity booths.
ALTON — The Mississippi Earthtones Festival, organized by Alton Main Street and the Sierra Club, will be a celebration of the area’s rivers through art, music, and conservation.
This year’s event is noon to 11 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 20, and promises to attract thousands of people to Liberty Bank Alton Amphitheater and Riverfront Park. The event is held annually on the third Saturday in September as part of Gov. Pat Quinn’s “It’s Our River Day” initiative to celebrate Illinois watersheds through education, recreation and conservation.
“The Alton area is rich with conservation-based programs, as well as businesses that are working to help ‘green’ residents’ lives,” said Sara McGibany, executive director of Alton Main Street.
She said there will be several agencies teaching consumers how to incorporate more sustainable practices into their daily lives. There will be representatives from businesses featuring their “green” products and services. Educational booths include Lewis and Clark Community College’s Sustainability Department, Two Rivers National Wildlife Refuge, Jaime Hines Discovery Garden, World Bird Sanctuary and Illinois American Water, among others.
“Festival-goers will have many chances to have a positive effect on the environment at the festival — right then and there,” said Christine Favilla, Three Rivers Project Coordinator for the Sierra Club. “They can get easy tips on how to winterize their homes, recycle plastic gardening pots, and participate in a river cleanup.”
Boats will depart at 9:30 a.m. to ferry volunteers to clean up Alton’s riverbanks and islands. Participants should register by Sept. 18 to reserve their place and free lunch by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
A variety of fun outdoor activities are planned for families and children, such as nature arts and crafts projects, solar-power experiments, and an eagle program on the main stage from 3 to 3:30 p.m. The World Bird Sanctuary will have a bald eagle with a 7 1/2-foot wingspan that guests can interact with while learning about her habits in the wild.
Wind-powered music will fill the air throughout the day, and the entertainment lineup will feature Nancy Lippincott and Friends playing Americana genres from 1 to 3 p.m.; World Bird Sanctuary Eagle program from 3 to 3:30 p.m.; Confluence Conservation Leadership Awards from 3:30 to 3:45 p.m.; River City Sound from 3:45 to 5 p.m.; Blu Skies from 5:15 p.m. to 7:45 p.m. and Jake’s Leg, a St. Louis jam band that has been interpreting the music of the Grateful Dead for about 30 years, from 8 p.m. to 11 p.m.
“We are so fortunate to have the Mississippi as part of Alton’s culture; the goal of the festival is to connect everyone for a fun day in the park to celebrate the river while learning more about what we can do to help the environment,” McGibany said.
Attendees should take Henry Street into Riverfront Park and follow directional signage toward the Marina to the festival grounds. For more information, visit www.facebook.com/EarthtonesFestival.
Volunteers are needed; for more information, contact Sara McGibany, executive director of Alton Main Street, at (618) 463-1016; or Christine Favilla, project manager for the Sierra Club, at (618) 462-6802.