“REC Fest” Spring Festival Returning to the National Great Rivers Museum

St. Louis District
Published May 4, 2023

ALTON, IL – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Rivers Project Office invites you to R.E.C. (Recreation, Education, and Conservation) Fest – the largest recreation and safety festival in the Riverbend! Kick off the summer season with your family at the National Great Rivers Museum, in Alton, Illinois from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. for this free, adventure-themed (rain-or-shine) event.

“Our goal with this new, exciting event is to encourage families to explore their outdoor recreational opportunities and learn how to go about them safely,” said Park Ranger and Event Coordinator Travis Smith. “From archery and hiking to weather and first aid there will be plenty for you and your family to test out and learn.”

R.E.C. Fest will host more than 20 partnering organizations such as the Illinois Department of National Resources, Alton Parks and Rec, and Missouri Department of Conservation and will feature booths andactivities that teach about outdoor recreation and safety through equipment demonstrations, live wildlife displays, and more.

Come throw an atlatl (spear) with the Missouri Atlatl Association, see what it takes to hit a bullseye with the National Park Service, and “touch-a-truck” with the Alton Police and Fire Departments. Upper Limits Rock Gym & Pro Shop will also be at the event with a rock wall on site and are sponsoring the event through the Museum’s cooperation association, the Meeting of the Rivers Foundation. Food options are available for purchase by Dam-It Joe’s BBQ and Hot Wings.

In addition to the event’s usual festivities, the pavilion in front of the museum will serve as the location for shows throughout the day. Wildlife Biologist and “Animal Guy” Bob Tarter will put on an entertaining educational program called Animalogy that displays animals with unique skills and physical features at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.

Sandwiched between those two shows will be a special ceremony at noon that will announce the selected names of three new river islands near Piasa Island. Students from both Jerseyville and Alton School District’s engaged in park ranger programing this school year and submitted name suggestions for the new islands. The newly created islands are part of the Upper Mississippi River Restoration Program’s Piasa and Eagles Nest Island Habitat Rehabilitation and Enhancement Project.   Those students, along with their winning names will be announced at the ceremony and certificates presented by U.S. Army Corps of Engineers staff.

“The Island Naming Contest created a unique opportunity to engage the community, stakeholders, and partners, and educate about habitat restoration” said Brian Markert, manager of the Upper Mississippi River Restoration Program who has been overseeing the project. “There are a lot of people who worked on this project, and we’re all excited to be able to recognize both their efforts and the winning students at the ceremony next Saturday.”

Festival goers that visit at least ten stations will be eligible for prizes at the Welcome Tent.

R.E.C. Fest is also nationally recognized as an official Kids to Park Day event, and any 4th grade student who attends can receive a free America the Beautiful Park Pass in addition to their prizes, permitting them and their families free entry to any National Park.

The National Great Rivers Museum is located at 2 Locks and Dam Way in Alton, Illinois and is open from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. seven days a week. For more information, please call the museum at 618-462-6979.

Rivers Project Office

Release no. 23-016