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WOOD RIVER - As Wood River Main Street takes off, they have a lot of fun events planned for the city.

The organization’s quarterly “What’s Up Downtown” meeting is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, June 20, 2024, at East Alton-Wood River High School. Kristen Burns, director of Wood River Main Street, encourages residents to attend the meeting to learn more about local businesses and plans for the future of Wood River.

“The exact reason that we’re doing this is for residents, so residents can come, they can meet the business owners, they can find out what’s going on, they can find out what’s going on with Main Street, and just everything that we’re doing,” Burns explained. “This is giving us that opportunity to grow together.”

After Wood River Business Alliance was selected as an Illinois Main Street in April 2024, Burns and the other volunteers on the Main Street Board have learned a lot about resources they can utilize for Wood River. The ultimate goal is to make Wood River a great destination to live, work and play.

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The "What’s Up Downtown" meeting invites businesses to share information about their services with the residents of Wood River. Burns hopes to see many community members and leaders present at the June 20 meeting.

In the meantime, Wood River has kicked off its farmers market from 4–7 p.m. every Thursday. Burns noted that the number of vendors has doubled from last year, and she is excited to watch the farmers market expand.

“We’re really hoping that we’ll have a great season and just keep growing and growing,” she explained. “We have more [vendors] that have already signed up for this week. We have live music again this week. We have five different musicians who are playing throughout the season, so I’m excited to have that. We’re trying to make it more of an experience than just, grab your tomatoes and go.”

This goal — to create an experience — is a big part of what Wood River Main Street hopes to accomplish. They will host a movie night after the Parks & Recreation Department’s Bike Ramble on Friday, June 14, 2024, and Burns can’t wait to watch “The Wizard of Oz” in Central Park alongside the entire city. The organization is also in conversations about painting the backs of buildings along Highway 143, to entice more people to come into town.

As Wood River grows, Burns hopes to collaborate with the Heritage Council and Wood River Museum to preserve the history of the town. She noted that the goal is to continue expanding while always remembering and honoring Wood River’s past. She has been pleased to see so many people who are excited about Wood River Main Street and want to be a part of its mission.

“We never want to forget the history of Wood River and Main Street. We are preserving the past, and that’s what we want to do,” she added. “There are some people that were born and raised in Wood River, and they jumped on board to be volunteers with us. They just really see what we’re doing and see that it’s not just a fad, that we’re really trying to push this forward.”

For more information about Wood River Main Street, visit their official website at WRBusinessAlliance.org or check out their Facebook page.

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