Great Rivers and Routes launch ‘Heartbeats’ videos

ALTON — A new eight-video series by the Great Rivers & Routes Tourism Bureau focuses on the heart and soul of the Riverbend.

A sneak peek of the “Heartbeats” videos is now available on bureau’s Facebook page.

“Southwest Illinois is a special place,” said Cory Jobe, President/CEO of the Great Rivers & Routes Tourism Bureau. “And what makes it so special is the people who live here, raise their families here and do business here. 

“Because of these people, we have a destination that people not only want to visit, but also where people want to live,” he said. “‘Heartbeats’ will showcase that and more.”

“Heartbeats” showcases ordinary people across the region with a passion and dedication to their communities. Each of the 5- to 7-minute videos focus on residents, business owners, the fine arts, live music and healthy living. Each episode will be five to seven minutes long.

Jobe said the bureau is planning an extensive ad campaign around the videos, including paid social and digital ad buys. Each week the bureau will highlight different aspects of ‘Heartbeats’ on its Facebook page — — in preparation for the full launch of the video series.

The bureau partnered with the Shift Agency of Alton to produce the videos, which will be released in early January.

“We are fortunate to have the creative talents of Shift Agency guide this video series. It captures what truly is the heart and soul of southwest Illinois,” Jobe noted. “Everyone should stay tuned for this extraordinary video series.”

The series includes:

• Rory Morse, who developed a pop-up pizzeria in Alton at the start of the COVID pandemic. Deep beneath the surface of this journey is a desire to bring more people to a table where ideas, community and inspiration are shared.

• Denise Knight of the Calhoun Ferry Company, whose roots and pride of the region run as deep as the mighty Mississippi River itself.

• Collinsville BBQ Supply, a retail shop with roots in the backyard and professional barbeque community but also built to give back to those who serve.

• A deep dive into the creative scene of southwest Illinois with a focus on the fine arts including Opera Edwardsville, The Macoupin Art Collective and Alton artist Michael Snider.

• Jesse Riley, an assistant football coach at Alton High School, who sees more than touchdowns and tackles. He understands the power of positive influences and how words can impact athletes both on and off the field.

• Discover local venues with a passion for music, musicians and fans.

• Brenda Whitaker, a former steel worker whose entrepreneurial spirit has helped build the infrastructure of a blooming downtown district.

• Farm-to-table, with a focus on orchards, organic farms and local scratch kitchens that grow nutrient-dense crops in the region.

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