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ALTON - The National Great Rivers Museum will host their annual R.E.C. Fest to promote recreation, education and conservation.

From 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, May 18, 2024, community members can enjoy a variety of presentations and stations, from a mobile planetarium to a snake-identifying game with live snakes. Corrinne O’Brien with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers explained that the free event is a great chance for families to get outside, learn more about safety and engage with over 25 partner organizations in the area.

“We pretty much throw a big party out in our parking lot,” O’Brien said. “It’s all geared towards the recreation season and how to recreate safely and just how to enjoy the summer safely.”

This year’s event is adventure-themed, with several "adventure stations." Attendees can test out their archery skills, climb the rock wall, learn about ATV safety, play in a stream table, tour the Melvin Price Locks and Dam, check out touch-a-truck vehicles and much more.

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There will be a Mascot Parade at 11 a.m., complete with Fredbird, Bobber the Water Safety Dog from the Corps of Engineers, Blazer the Newfie from Lewis and Clark Community College and more. Bob Tarter from Animology will host a live animal show at 11 a.m., 12:30 p.m. and 2 p.m. Every 20 minutes starting at 11:30, you can stop inside the National Great Rivers Museum to visit the Mobile Planetarium and learn more about the night sky.

O’Brien encourages everyone to stop by the Welcome Tent when you first arrive to pick up a “passport” and a map. If you get your passport stamped by ten stations, you’ll get a prize bag. The first 100 people to turn in their passports will also receive a ticket to a River Dragons baseball game.

O’Brien explained that the goal of R.E.C. Fest is to celebrate the start of summer and encourage people to get outside while also offering safety demonstrations. Railroad crossing safety, severe weather safety, water safety and more will be covered at the different stations throughout the day.

“For the Corps of Engineers, safety — specifically water safety — is one of our huge missions,” O’Brien said. “We wanted to come up with a way to engage the community and really have a fun event that could get folks out and ready to recreate and promote that safety aspect.”

O’Brien hopes to see many community members out at the National Great Rivers Museum on May 18. Not only does she think it will be a super fun day, but she knows it will help families stay safe as summer approaches.

“It’s a good kind of introduction to really any recreational activity that folks could do here in the Riverbend area,” she added. “We encourage everyone to visit as many stations as they can to learn as much as they can and experience it all.”

For more information about R.E.C. Fest, visit the official Facebook event page.

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