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ALTON - Whether you’re in the “Spooky Season” spirit or just looking to take in some beautiful fall colors, there’s a lot going on in the Riverbend region this fall. Cory Jobe, president and CEO of the Great Rivers & Routes Tourism Bureau, said there are plenty of frights and fall fun to go around with several events happening in and around Alton as the leaves change and Halloween season approaches.

In Grafton, Fall Foliage and History Shuttle Tours will be held starting in the parking lot of the Grafton SkyTour at Aerie’s Resort. The three-hour trip includes a “fall color drive” on the Great River Road, stops at the Elsah General Store, a guided tour of the Principia College grounds, and a tour of Pere Marquette State Park featuring panoramic views of the fall foliage.

“We’ve been recognized by the Farmer’s Almanac, MSNBC, MSN Travel, as one of the top fall foliage drives in the country,” Jobe said.

Fall Foliage and History Shuttle Tours will run from 1 to 4 p.m. on select dates from Oct. 13 to Nov. 10 - those exact dates are listed on their website. Tickets are available for $27.50 per person on the Great Rivers & Routes website. Seats are limited, and Jobe noted that last year’s shuttle tours completely sold out.

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For those looking to get in the spirit of “Spooky Season,” there are plenty of tour options this year, including new and returning haunted walking and trolley tours from Alton Odyssey Tours and “Ghosts of the River Road” dinner tours with Troy Taylor, the author of “Haunted Alton.”

Jobe said fall is a busy time of year for the Tourism Bureau, and an especially important time for local business owners.

“We’re really excited, I know our small business owners are excited - this is kind of their Super Bowl, as they tell me,” Jobe said. “The next six to eight weeks are critical.

“Fall is a big time for our small business owners, our sites and attractions that rely on travel, this is their opportunity and their season.”

Tourism in general around the Riverbend seems to be increasing - Jobe said they recently announced record-breaking tour numbers (again) for the region.

“We had over $825 million in visitor spending that took place in our six-county region, and most of that was done right here in Madison County,” he said. “Overall visitor spending in the region is up 25% over 2021, and we continue to raise the bar in terms of getting visitors here from our key markets.”

More information about Great River & Routes and other events going on around the region are available at riversandroutes.com. The full interview with Jobe on Our Daily Show! on RiverBender.com is available at the top of this story or on Riverbender.com/video.

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