ALTON - The Alton Marina has become a powerhouse business over the past 15 years under the direction of General Manager Karen Baker-Brncic of Parrot Pointe Marine Inc. On Saturday, August 27th, the region will say goodbye at the Marina to the legendary general manager with a huge anniversary party. Karen will soon retire from her position.

Karen Baker-Brncic Award-winning Barbecue Masters Black Iron BBQ begins selling plates at 6:30 p.m. at the party. Beverage bars will also be on site. The world-famous Z-Band will be the entertainment at the Marina. There will be a Grand Finale on the Big Screen produced by Megyme Productions that people will want to see, Karen said.

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There is no cover charge and people are requested to bring their lawn chairs and "party attitude," Karen says. The Z-Band starts performing at 7:30 p.m.

Under Karen’s leadership, the Alton Marina has emphasized exceptional hospitality and convenience. In 2020, The Alton Marina was selected to be on the cover of Quimby’s. Karen said Quimby’s is the Bible of the Water Ways of the United States and to make the cover is one of the greatest honors the Marina has accomplished.

Karen and her staff live by the following motto: “Our dedicated office and dockside concierge staff always want to make your stay a relaxing and memorable experience."

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Karen and the group of Marina workers have had to contend with huge Mississippi River floods over the years. The one in 2019 was nearly as bad as the Great Flood of 1993 and rivaled the 1973 flood in Alton. The flood in 2013 was also very difficult, Karen said. However, each time under Karen's leadership, the group cleaned up the area and continued the business to one of the highest echelons of any business or marina around despite the flood obstacles.

Deluxe Corp.’s reality program “Small Business Revolution — Main Street,” 2018Karen credited harbormaster Greg Brown with his overwhelming support over the years. Marina Manager Fran Purdy has always been Karen's wingman. In the past, Karen also credited the City of Alton’s Cindy Roth (City Treasurer, retired), Tom White, and assistant harbor master Jill Butler for all their help. I also thank Mark McHugh, a long-time employee of the Marina for his efforts. Karen said she doesn’t think she could have a more dedicated and hard-working staff. She also commended all the other employees who have been so dedicated to Alton Marina's mission to serve the area.

"Tremendous customer service and constant hospitality have been keys to Alton Marina’s success," Karen said. Karen comes from a long line of family members who have also been in the service industry. Many around the Alton area consider Karen like a member of their own family because she has had that much impact on people.

“Around 10 p.m. Saturday, we will do the final farewell video,” Karen said. “I am looking so forward to the party. The Marina needed a lot of TLC when we got there. I am going to desperately miss a lot of my life-long friends, but I will still stay active in a couple of river boards and other volunteer groups. I just don’t want to be a boss of anything. I am looking forward to retirement.”

The beautiful Alton Marina at night.

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