Alton’s Riverfront Park and Amphitheater will come alive on Saturday, September 21st, from Noon to 11 p.m., where festival-goers will discover a multitude of exciting activities centered around celebrating and protecting our natural environment. Celebrate the Mississippi River through art, music and conservation at this free, family-friendly event. The park grounds will be transformed into an eco-village where guests will find over 50 booths filled with conservation exhibits, Earth-friendly products and services and nature craft vendors will allow visitors to shop with many eco-artisans, including a woodworker who makes furniture out of Mississippi driftwood.

Along with those activities, The Artfully Alton committee of Alton Main Street Association is inviting area artists to enter the Mississippi Earthtones “Plein Air Competition”. The contest is open to artists 18 years or older with paintings or drawings depicting a true-to-life scene of the Mississippi River or surrounding scenery as viewed from the festival grounds of the Mississippi Earthtones Festival. The competition will be held and judged on Saturday, September 21st, 2013 at the Alton Amphitheater at Riverfront Park. Registered artists will have five hours (Noon to 5 p.m.) to complete their work of art, which must be executed outdoors and on-site. Art will be exhibited and artists will have the opportunity to sell their work during the Mississippi Earthtones Festival, if desired.

There will be six categories for judging; oil painting, watercolor, pastel, acrylics, drawing and mixed media. Participants must paint from life and on location en plein air, which literally means “in the open air”. Studio work is not allowed. Cash prizes will be given to first, second and third place overall, as well as “People’s Choice”, with all votes to be cast on the day of the festival. A $15 registration fee is required. Please make your check out to Alton Main Street and mailed to Alton Main Street, Attn: Sarah-Plein Air; 200 W. 3rd Street - Suite 100; Alton, IL. 62002 postmarked by September 18th or hand delivered by September 20th. The walk-up fee is $20.00 to register on the day of the festival. Registration forms can be found at Please email Sarah Ansell, at, for more information.

Is photography more your style? Enter your photos of The Watershed to be displayed at the festival and judged in the “People’s Choice” category. The watershed is the natural area between the bluffs and the river, including all streams that run into it. These photos can include animals and people. Entries must be un-mounted and photos must be 4” x 6” or larger, printed on paper of your choice. Family appropriate photos should be submitted no later than September 16th at 5 p.m. and mailed to Alton Main Street, Attn: Patti-Photos; 200 W. 3rd Street- Suite 100, Alton, IL. 62002. Each photo must be labeled with your name, phone number, e-mail and title on the back. Each participant is limited with four photos each. The two categories, black and white and color will be judged at the festival. Please email Patti, at, for more information.

The Mississippi Earthtones Festival is presented by Alton Main Street, Sierra Club and The Nature Institute with support from, the National Great Rivers Research & Education Center. Sponsors include: the City of Alton, American Water, Mungenast Alton Toyota and the Environmental Protection Agency. Fun volunteer opportunities are available; please contact 618-463-1016 to sign up for a shift. Please note that no coolers or pets are allowed in RiverfrontPark during events. Visit for more details and registration info, or stay up to date at

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