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ALTON - The Alton Amphitheater once again invites community members to come down to the river for a fun weekend. The Alton Expo will run from Sept. 7–10.

The Expo features fair food, carnival rides and live entertainment all weekend. Admission is free, and they’ll top off the event with the beloved mud volleyball tournament and Alton Catfish Classic on Saturday.

“There’s nothing like coming across the bridge after dark and seeing the riverfront lit up with the carnival and the stage. It really piques people’s interest,” Dan Herkert, chair of the Alton Amphitheater Commission, said. “The idea is to be a catalyst to introduce people to our city, and what better way to introduce people to our city than our beautiful riverfront?”

The Alton Expo will kick off at 5 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 7 and run until 10 p.m. The band Just in Time will perform at 7 p.m. You can also stop by from 5–11 p.m. on Friday and check out Powerplay with Gene Jackson at 5 p.m., followed by Dirty Muggs at 8 p.m. Saturday’s band, Platinum Rock Legends, will go on at 7 p.m. and the Expo will run from 1–11 p.m. The weekend will end with a performance by Porch Cafe at 1 p.m. on Sunday, and the Expo will close at 5 p.m. that afternoon.

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“There’s something for everybody,” Herkert noted. “It’s a little bit different each night, so everybody can fit something in that they like, because all of these bands will be playing hits that you know from anywhere from the 60s all the way up to the present.”

Rides, games and food will be available all weekend. They have several food vendors lined up already, including local favorites like Morales Tacos and Pig on a Wing.

On Saturday, Sept. 9, two special events are expected to attract a wide crowd of participants and observers. The mud volleyball tournament will pit 32 teams against each other throughout the day, followed by the 4th Annual Alton Catfish Classic weigh-in at 4 p.m. Over 90 teams are already registered to compete for the biggest catfish catch.

Herkert thanked his fellow Commissioners and the Alton Parks and Recreation Department for their work in this event, especially Deputy Director of Parks and Recreation Lyndsey Younger and Director of Parks and Recreation Michael Haynes, both of whom he called “a godsend.”

He added that he expects a final count of potentially 20,000 visitors to the Expo throughout the weekend. The Amphitheater Commission also hopes that the Expo will encourage people to visit other businesses downtown.

“We encourage them to get out and visit our local bars, restaurants, shops, stores, spend money in our city, generate some economic activity. And so far, we’ve had a lot of success,” Herkert said. “If we have a good year and the weather is good, you’re going to see a lot of people. Not just from Alton, but from the surrounding area coming through. And it is definitely a melting pot. You’ll see little kids all the way up to grandparents.”

To learn more, check out the event page on the Alton Amphitheater’s official website, or visit their Facebook page.

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