Travel & Tourism
Loebsack, Schilling Continue Push for the I-74 Bridge PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Travel & Tourism
Written by Joe Hand   
Friday, 24 August 2012 11:47

Washington, D.C. – Congressmen Dave Loebsack (IA-02) and Bobby Schilling (IL-17) today sent letters to United States Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood, Illinois Governor Pat Quinn, and Iowa Governor Terry Branstad urging them to use unspent highway funds to advance the Quad Cities’ I-74 Bridge.  According to the Federal Highway Administration, $6,931,453.04 in unspent highway funds could be made available to the state of Illinois, and $2,330,683.79 could be made available to the state of Iowa.

On Friday August 17, Secretary LaHood announced that the Administration is making this money available for states to create jobs and improve crumbling roads and bridges.  By October 1, states must identify projects on which they intend to use the funds.  The U.S. Department of Transportation will have to approve the projects before states can move forward.

“We specifically support the inclusion of I-74 in the announced plan by the Administration to use unspent funds to help move transportation projects forward in each state,” the Congressmen wrote. “This bridge fits the important criteria of fixing our crumbling infrastructure, creating jobs and supporting our economic recovery, and we encourage you to include the I-74 Bridge in this plan for funds in each state that will not be used for their original purpose.”

Secretary LaHood joined the Congressmen in viewing the I-74 Bridge in May, when he called it “one of the worst bridges [he’s] ever seen.” Loebsack and Schilling worked to include an authorization for $500 million in transportation reauthorization for the Projects of National and Regional Significance program to fund large, interstate bridge projects such as the I-74 Bridge.  Loebsack and Schilling called on House Appropriators to fully fund this program while crafting future appropriations bills to ensure I-74 can compete for funding and move forward as quickly as possible.

In 2005, the I-74 Bridge became the most traveled bridge in the Quad Cities with an average of 77,800 vehicles crossing daily.  This is despite the fact that it was built for 48,000 such crossings.  The Bridge itself is functionally obsolete, however, and has never met Interstate standards.  In addition to improving travelers’ safety, the I-74 Bridge project would spur economic growth, create construction jobs, reduce traffic backups, and improve air quality.

The full text of the lawmakers' letter to Secretary LaHood can be found here, and their letter to Governors Quinn and Branstad can be found here.


Illinois State Fair Attendance Increases 13 Percent; Highest in 10 Years PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Travel & Tourism
Written by Erin Wilson   
Friday, 24 August 2012 11:44

SPRINGFIELD – August 21, 2012. 2012 was a banner year for the Illinois State Fair.

Attendance soared 13 percent this year.  According to newly released figures from state fair officials, 918,875 people passed through the gates during the fair, which is 103,275 more than a year ago and the most since 2002. The fair concluded on Sunday.

“This was a great fair,” Governor Pat Quinn said.  “Every year our State Fair team makes Illinois proud. Special thanks to State Fair Manager Amy Bliefnick, Agriculture Director Bob Flider and everybody who visited the fairgrounds, especially the buyers who demonstrated their commitment to Illinois agriculture during this difficult time for the industry.”

Grandstand attendance was up four percent, thanks to strong sales from country stars Eric Church and Miranda Lambert.  Church’s concert on opening night of the fair drew 12,643 spectators, and Lambert’s show on the final Saturday drew 10,103.  Collectively, the acts sold 51,732 tickets, the most in 12 years.  Several records were set during the 11-day run of the fair as well.

The grand champion junior steer shown by Seaton teenager A.J. Line sold for a record $52,000, surpassing the previous high of $51,200.  It was one of five record prices fetched at the Sale of Champions, the auction of prize-winning Illinois State Fair junior livestock.  The grand champion barrow ($24,500), grand champion sheep ($17,200), Land of Lincoln barrow ($11,000) and Land of Lincoln Supreme Dairy Champion ($3,000) were the other record-setters.  The event raised $159,210, not only for the youngsters who raised the animals, but also for the state’s 4-H and FFA youth education programs.

“While the attendance is gratifying and makes the effort that goes into putting on the event worthwhile, it’s what can’t be quantified -- the lasting memories the fair creates, that is most important.  The families who attended this year likely will never forget their trip to Springfield,” Acting Agriculture Director Bob Flider said. “It’s those memories that I hope will keep them coming back for years to come.”

Preliminary, unaudited figures indicate revenue from admissions and parking also was up, increasing 33 percent to $1.5 million.


Enjoy the End of Summer PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Travel & Tourism
Written by Illinois Office of Tourism   
Wednesday, 15 August 2012 14:47

Summer is winding down, so don’t miss out on your last chance to soak up some fun with end-of-summer deals throughout Illinois. Cool off at outdoor waterparks, explore state parks or be inspired at world-class museums. Check out these money-saving deals and make some unforgettable summer memories. Last Chance!
Explore These Summer Deals and More
From $149/night
Holiday Inn - Alton
Raging Rivers Package
• Overnight accommodations for four
• Raging Rivers Waterpark tickets
• Breakfast buffet
From $149/night
Marriott Hotel & Conference Center - Normal
Family Fun Package
• Admission for four to the Children’s
Discovery Museum
• Overnight guestroom
• Breakfast for four at Jesse’s Grille

From $131/night
Days Inn - Chicago
Field Museum Hotel Package
• Discounted Standard or Business
Class Room
• VIP Pass to The Field Museum
• Admission to 3D Theatre
• Free deluxe continental breakfast
From $100/night *
Timber Ridge Outpost & Cabins - Karbers Ridge
Tree House & Cabin Package
• Stay in a private Treehouse or Log Cabin
• Free 30-minute archery lesson
* Three-night minimum
View more deals

19th Annual Galena Girlfriends' Getaway is Sept. 7-9 PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Travel & Tourism
Written by Galena/Jo Daviess County CVB   
Tuesday, 14 August 2012 10:38

GALENA, Ill. ─ Call, text, tweet or Facebook your best girlfriends and get them together for a weekend in Galena you won’t ever forget! Two full days (or longer if you’d like) of laughing, reliving memories and reconnecting all are planned just for you. The Galena Area Chamber of Commerce once again plans a special weekend for “girlfriends” of all ages from Friday, Sept. 7, through Sunday, Sept. 9.

This annual Galena Girlfriends’ Getaway will feature belly dancing lessons, Quartermania, a slipper party and more – just for the ladies – in beautiful, historic Galena in scenic northwest Illinois. A pre-registration fee includes your own Galena Girlfriends’ Getaway goody bag, entry to all of the events and a chance to win a $200 shopping spree.

The ever-popular Quartermania auction will happen once again, Saturday night at the Galena Convention Center starting at 6 p.m. Ladies can buy a roll of quarters, bid on a variety of interesting items, and see who gets the great bargains. A Saturday night “Slipper Party” at the Wal-Mart Supercenter beginning at 9:30 p.m. will feature games, refreshments and coupons.

Sunday’s finale at the DeSoto is a brunch with your “girlfriends” as the weekend will wrap up by announcing the winners of the shopping spree and gift baskets. Throughout the entire weekend, there are several dozen businesses throughout Galena and Jo Daviess County that are offering specials, drawings, and events to participants of the Galena Girlfriends’ Getaway.

For more event info, including venues and fees, call the Galena Area Chamber of Commerce at 815.777.9050 or visit Pre-registration is also available online at Additional area offerings and visitor information may be found at the Galena/Jo Daviess County Convention and Visitors Bureau by calling 877.464.2536 or at While in town, visit the CVB’s Old Train Depot Visitor Information Center at 101 Bouthillier St. (corner of Park Avenue) for on-site assistance and countywide information.

Galena's Main Street.jpg

Ladies can enjoy Galena’s historic Main Street during the 19th Annual Galena Girlfriends’ Getaway weekend Sept. 7-9. Photo courtesy of the Galena/Jo Daviess County CVB.

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Governor Quinn Opens 2012 Illinois State Fair PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Travel & Tourism
Written by Nafia Khan   
Friday, 10 August 2012 13:31

Family Fun for Everyone" Fair Showcases Food, Entertainment, Illinois Produce and Livestock

SPRINGFIELD – August 10, 2012. Governor Pat Quinn today officially opened the 2012 Illinois State Fair, “Family Fun for Everyone.” Today’s ribbon cutting at the fairground’s main gate marks the start of the 10-day celebration that features food, racing, music, carnival rides and a wide variety of family-friendly activities.

“The state fair is an Illinois staple, with something for everyone, whether you are young or just young at heart,” Governor Quinn said. “I hope everyone comes to Springfield to sample the sights and sounds of the fair.”

The state fair began 159 years ago as a way for Illinois farmers to showcase their labor. The fair continues to feature Illinois livestock, as well as produce and other Illinois products at the Farmers Market Tent. Visitors can also enjoy auto racing, horse shows and harness racing in addition to the carnival rides.

Along with the Grandstand concert lineup, the fair also features a wide variety of free entertainment – from high diving to musical acts – on 14 stages throughout the fairgrounds. Also this year, the Chicago cast of the highly acclaimed “Million Dollar Quartet” will give a free performance along with the group New Odyssey at the Grandstand. The Broadway musical is based on the recording session that brought together Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis and Carl Perkins.

Fairgoers will also have the opportunity to learn about state government and the state programs that are helping grow Illinois’ economy. Many of the state’s agencies and departments, as well as other constitutional officers, will have tents at the fair where people can obtain information about state services and programs.

Governor Quinn will also cut the ribbon on the Governor’s Tent at the fair today, officially opening the tent to fairgoers. The tent features displays about Governor Quinn’s programs and initiatives that are aimed at creating and supporting high quality jobs throughout Illinois. The Governor’s Tent will also feature an interactive simulated coal mine, a corn crib dig pit and an artistic, accurate, museum quality 4-ft world globe designed by Chicago artist Matt Binns. The tent is open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily during the fair.

For a complete listing of daily activities at the 2012 Illinois State Fair, “Family Fun for Everyone,” please visit or call (217) 782-6661. The state fair runs from Aug. 9 – 19, 2012.


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