Great Rivers & Routes Tourist Office promotes ‘Heartbeats’ video series

ALTON — The Great Rivers & Routes Office of Tourism is promoting a new video series called “Heartbeats” featuring everyday people who have made an extraordinary difference in local communities.

The new eight-episode documentary series launched on on January 17. It features powerful stories with themes related to entrepreneurship, arts, music, healthy living, and people giving back to their communities. The series was created in collaboration with the Shift Agency of Alton.

“The Heartbeats video series is a thoughtful and moving look at the people who make Southwestern Illinois a truly great place to live. These people are the ‘heartbeat’ of their respective communities,” said Cory Jobe, President and CEO of the Great Rivers & Routes Office of Tourism. “Thanks to these people, we have a destination that people not only want to visit, but also where people want to live.”

Each episode is five to six minutes long and can be found on the Bureau’s website:

The series includes:

• Rory Morse, who developed a pop-up pizzeria in Alton at the start of the COVID pandemic. Deep below 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 Calhoun Ferry Company. This is the story of two brothers and entrepreneurs who saw the need for a ferry service and built the company literally from the ground up along the banks of the Mississippi River. That family’s roots and pride in the region run as deep as the mighty Mississippi River itself.

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

• Dive deep into Southwestern Illinois’ creative scene with a focus on fine art including Opera Edwardsville, The Macoupin Art Collective and Alton artist Michael Snider.

• Jesse Riley, 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.

• Music moves the soul and live music has a home in southwestern Illinois seven days a week. Discover local venues and musicians who are passionate about music, each other and their fans.

• Brenda Whitaker, a former Granite City steelworker who followed her dreams and whose entrepreneurial spirit has helped build the infrastructure of a thriving downtown district.

• Farm-to-table takes on new meaning among the orchards, organic farms and local home kitchens growing nutrient-dense backyard crops in southwestern Illinois. Learn about the farmers who grow the crops and the restaurants that use them.

The Office teased the video series in November and December before launching in January. The videos are also part of a paid campaign targeting social media. Social media ads are targeted to people in St. Louis, Chicago, Indiana, Central Illinois, Paducah, KY, and Iowa.

“We are lucky to have so many people putting their hearts and souls into our region. These videos capture what really is the heart and soul of southwestern Illinois,” Jobe said. “Everyone should tune in to this extraordinary video series.”