Travel & Tourism
Celebrate Summer on the Water at Central Missouri's Lake of the Ozarks PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Travel & Tourism
Written by Beenders-Walker Group   
Thursday, 28 June 2012 07:53

Hit a summer celebration high-water mark with AquaPalooza, the Lake's largest family-fun boating party, July 21 at Dog Days Bar & Grill (on land at 1232 Jeffries Road or the 19 mile marker on the water) in Osage Beach. Experience a free, live concert with four bands (including Australian country-music trio The McClymonts and AC/DC tribute band Hells Bells), contests, games, T-shirt giveaways, a live radio broadcast and special promotions throughout the day. Bring your family, your friends and float on the water in a boat, raft or tube. Or if you're a land lover, enjoy AquaPalooza with your crew inside the cool and dry comfort of Dog Days Bar & Grill. Admission is free. AquaPalooza 2012 is sponsored by Lake of the Ozarks Marine Dealers Association, Budweiser, Benne Media and Dog Days Bar & Grill. For more information, visit, text "BOAT" to 22828, or call the Lake of the Ozarks Convention & Visitor Bureau at 1-800-FUN-LAKE (386-5253).


Wine and beer aficionados, unite and sample the works of some of Missouri's best wineries and breweries at the Midwest Wine and Brew Festival on Aug. 11. The event is presented by the Lake Area Chamber of Commerce and will take place from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. at the Country Club Hotel & Spa in Lake Ozark. Over a dozen wineries and microbreweries will have their wares on display to sample and purchase. Lake-area restaurants also will be on hand to offer light fare as a perfect complement to the wine and brew samples. Festival advance tickets are available for $15 and will include a tasting of all of the wines and beers, as well as a souvenir wine glass. Tickets bought the day of the festival are $20. For more information, call the Lake Area Chamber at 573-964-1008.


Your boat is welcome at the Lake of the Ozarks! Speedboats, fishing boats, pontoon boats and personal watercraft are all ways to have some relaxing summer fun at one of Missouri's largest lakes. There are nine public access boat ramps available for use at the Lake and if you're staying the night, most of the area's lodging facilities have their own boat docks. Don't have a boat? Don't worry. Watercraft can be rented by the hour or the day at most of the Lake of the Ozarks' resorts or marinas. For more about how to get out on the water or for a list of hotels and resorts with boat docks, call the Lake of the Ozarks Convention & Visitor Bureau at 800-FUN-LAKE (386-5253) or visit the Bureau's website,


RC BoatIf one has the need for speed, there will be as much velocity as a fan of the throttle can handle at the Lake of the Ozarks Shootout, Aug. 25-26 at Captain Ron's Bar & Grill in Sunrise Beach. The event features more than 100 boats competing to be named the lake's fastest boat, racing against the clock in individual runs. Last year, Bill Tomlinson and Ken Kehoe captured the event's "Top Gun" title and electrified the crowd with a course record-tying speed of 208 mph. The timed runs take two days to complete and are the unquestioned Main Event, but the Shootout festivities stretch over nine days including a variety of activities for the whole family. Among this year's events during the week-plus of revelry are: a Class One R/C Mini Shootout for remote controlled boats (Aug. 18), a benefit golf tournament (Aug. 19), The Great Shootout Treasure Hunt (Aug. 20), The Shootout Street Party (Aug. 22), The PWC Dam Run (Aug. 23), a poker run (Aug. 24) and much more fun for fans of all ages. For more information about the Shootout and for a full schedule of Shootout-related events, visit


Summer is loaded with fun fairs, festivals and events at the Lake of the Ozarks! For more information about getaway packages, lodging, dining, shopping, events and attractions throughout the Lake area, contact the Lake of the Ozarks Convention & Visitor Bureau at 800-FUN-LAKE (386-5253) or visit the Bureau's website,


July 13, August 10 & September 14


Hot Summer Nights, a cruising series on the Bagnell Dam Strip in Lake Ozark, will feature all makes and models of cars, trucks and motorcycles. Visitors attending the event will enjoy classic cars, trucks and motorcycles, contests, giveaways, helicopter rides, live entertainment and much more. For more information about Hot Summer Nights, call 573-964-1008 or visit


August 4


Rubber duckies make Lake time lots of fun at The Great Bagnell Dam Duck Drop in Lake Ozark. In this distinctive event at Bagnell Dam, spectators "adopt a duck" (purchase numbered tickets) and then thousands of the familiar bathtub toys (with numbers corresponding to tickets) are unleashed from the air to splash down into the Osage River. The ducks "race" to the finish line. The first duck to cross the finish earns a lucky patron the grand prize of $5,000. Consolation prizes include $1,000 for second place and several Lake-area shopping cards for other finishers. The event also boasts a 5K Fun Run and Waddle Walk, live music and entertainment, a Family Fun Zone (complete with clowns, kids' games, bounce houses and puppet shows), and a variety of delicious food for sale. For more information, visit or call 573-286-8291.



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Free Admission Kicks Off 2012 Iowa State Fair Opening Day PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Travel & Tourism
Written by Lori Chappell   
Tuesday, 26 June 2012 13:30

DES MOINES, IA (06/26/2012)(readMedia)-- On opening day, August 9, the Iowa State Fair will jump-start the 11-day celebration with free admission from 6 a.m. to 9 a.m. and Healthiest State Initiative activities. The 2012 Fair runs August 9-19.

From 6 a.m. to 9 a.m. Fairgoers can take advantage of free admission with a coupon from the Iowa State Fair special section of the August 5 Des Moines Sunday Register and in the full-page Hy-Vee ad in the Wednesday, August 8 Des Moines Register. One coupon per person, parking not included. Gate admission is also half-price after 5 p.m. Monday through Thursdays. Valid at all gates.

Beginning at 6 a.m., join us on the Grand Concourse for a morning of wellness sponsored by The Healthiest State Initiative. Opening ceremonies will be at 8 a.m., followed by Iowa's largest ZUMBA® class. ZUMBA® is a Latin-inspired, calorie-burning dance fitness program.

Fair fun continues all day with contests, food, games and entertainment including performances by The Nadas, JJ Grey and Mofro, Bob Wootton and Steve Holy. Christian music stars TobyMac, Tenth Avenue North and Jamie Grace will perform on the Grandstand stage at 8 p.m. Tickets for the Grandstand show are $32 (plus convenience charges) and are available now through Ticketmaster outlets and the Iowa State Fair Box Office.

A complete listing of opening day activities will be available at in July.

About The Healthiest State Initiative

The Healthiest State Initiative is a privately led, public effort that engages Iowans and their communities throughout the state. Its goal is to make Iowa the healthiest state in the nation by 2016 as measured by the Gallup‐Healthways Well‐Being Index®. The Healthiest State Initiative involves individuals, families, businesses, faith‐based organizations, not‐for‐profits and the public sector in a broad‐based community‐focused effort. For more information, visit

Hy-Vee, Inc. is an employee-owned corporation operating 235 retail supermarkets and drug stores in eight Midwestern states. Founded in 1930, the company is famous for offering quality, convenience, value and "a helpful smile in every aisle." For fiscal year 2011, Hy-Vee recorded total sales of $7.3 billion, ranking it among the top 25 supermarket chains and the top 50 private companies in the nation. Hy-Vee's 62,000 employee-owners carry out the company's mission of making lives easier, healthier and happier. For more information, visit the website at

"Nothing Compares" to the 2012 Iowa State Fair, August 9-19. For more information, call

800/545-FAIR or visit

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Missouri Celebrations Booming with Fun PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Travel & Tourism
Written by Sarah Luebbert   
Tuesday, 26 June 2012 13:14
Missouri Salutes the USA
“Happy Birthday”

Jefferson City, Mo. — The Fourth of July. Independence Day. An iconic date in United States history. In Missouri, as in all of the states and territories, the celebrations take many forms, chiefly parades, carnivals and festivals, barbecues and picnics, concerts, and glorious fireworks displays. The Missouri Division of Tourism and invite you to celebrate the birthday of the United States at festivities and activities across the Show-Me State.

As you travel in Missouri, celebrate with us at one of these outstanding Independence Day events. There are many opportunities from which to choose, and not just on July 4; some are held earlier, while others last beyond July 4. And let’s be clear, this is just a small sampling of what’s available. Whichever you attend, a great time will be had by everyone in your family. Happy birthday U.S.A.!

  • Central Region:

June 28-July 1:

Independence Day activities are the weekend before the Fourth, at Olde Glory Days, in Clinton. This old-fashioned celebration of our country’s birthday includes many activities, among them: free entertainment, a carnival, wiener-dog races, concerts, food, games, a parade, and mega-fireworks.

July 3-4:

Jefferson City’s annual Salute to America gets underway Tuesday evening with the Salute to Heroes parade. Downtown streets are closed-off to accommodate Wednesday’s activities: a carnival; music concerts; beer gardens; a classic car show; games for the kids; food galore; a bald eagle and birds of prey presentation by the World Bird Sanctuary; and other special activities. A tremendous firework spectacular fills the air above the Missouri Capitol and the Missouri River.

July 4:

Fort Leonard Wood invites you to join the Independence Day Celebrations at Gammon Field. Activities include military-vehicle displays; a horseshoe tournament; interactive games; watermelon-eating/seed-spitting contest; a car show; performances by the 399th Army Rock Band, and a concert by Trixie Delight; the U.S. Army Soldier Show; and a rousing fireworks display. Take your lawn chairs and/or blanket and enjoy this free event. Coolers, outside food and beverages, and pets are not allowed.

Downtown Columbia is the new site for Fire in the Sky. Children's activities take place at Flat Branch Park; two concerts (Ironweed, and the Norm Ruebling Band) take place on the main stage in Peace Park. The fireworks display will be launched from atop the Sixth and Cherry parking garage, downtown.

You can enjoy fireworks from shore and on the water at several venues in the Lake of the Ozarks area, including: Tan-Tar-A Resort, in Osage Beach; Lodge of Four Seasons Resort, in Lake Ozark; and Captain Ron’s (573-374-5852), in Sunrise Beach.

In Sedalia, relax in the grandstand for a Sedalia 4th of July Celebration at the State Fairgrounds. Enjoy an evening of special activities, including a flag presentation, a concert, and a big fireworks show.

  • Southeast Region:

July 4:

The Civil War soldiers of Fort D, in Cape Girardeau, were very patriotic. On July 4, they celebrated by firing their rifles and cannon, eating a special meal with friends and civilians, and flying their flags proudly. Fourth at the Fort commemorates those activities. Fort D Historic Site is an original earthworks fort dating from 1861.

Take in the Salem July 4th Chamber Parade, at 6 p.m., in downtown Salem. Fireworks begin at dark, at the Dent County Commons.

In Cuba, Missouri, Hood Park is filled with festivities when the fireworks literally Light Up the Sky for Freedom.

East Prairie holds its annual Independence Day parade at 10 a.m.; a fireworks display begins at 9 p.m. (573-649-3057).

The town of Oran has held the annual Oran 4th of July Picnic for more than 100 years. Enjoy an old-fashioned church dinner; bingo; ice cream social; horseshoe tournaments; and fireworks.

  • Northeast Region:

July 2, 3, 4:

The Heritage & Freedom Fest, held at the Ozzie Smith Sports Complex, is O’Fallon’s largest festival of the year. It features national entertainment; regional bands; a carnival; activities for children; crafters; lots of great food; and two nights of spectacular fireworks.

July 3:

The National Park Service holds the Jefferson Barracks Blast at the Jefferson Barracks Historic District, south of St. Louis. Enjoy music under the stars in the Veterans Memorial Amphitheater, and watch a brilliant fireworks display. Concessions are available.

July 4:

Take in the 135th Veiled Prophet Parade, in downtown St. Louis. This annual parade is one of the most enduring family traditions in St. Louis. The parade features giant helium balloons; elaborate custom-built floats; a spirited competition among marching bands; and more than 100 entries.

July 4, 6, 7:

Fair Saint Louis is one of the largest Independence Day celebrations in the Midwest. The 32nd annual event is held on the grounds of the Gateway Arch, overlooking the Mississippi River. Events kick off early July 4 (before the Veiled Prophet Parade), with a four-mile race and a one-mile family fun run. There are two air shows July 4 (noon and 3 p.m.), including top civilian performers and military aircraft. All three days, enjoy local and national entertainment, Kids Town, and other activities. Appearing on the main stage at 8 p.m.: Heart (July 4); Third Eye Blind (July 6); and Dierks Bentley (July 7). Each evening concludes with the star-spangled fireworks display. Note: The fair is not open on July 5.

July 4-7:

Kirksville’s Red White and Blue Festival is filled with activities: apple-pie contest; antique car show; a pancake breakfast; bicycle races; a movie in the park; a parade; and a super fireworks display.

A tradition for 57 years, Hannibal, hometown of Mark Twain, has held National Tom Sawyer Days. A spectacular fireworks display celebrates the birth of the U.S.A. Activities include: the National Fence Painting Championships; a frog-jumping competition; Tom and Becky contest; an arts-and-crafts show; mud volleyball; concerts and entertainment; dancing; food; and the famous Hannibal Cannibal 10k/5k run and 5k walk.

July 7:

The Jefferson National Expansion Memorial, in St. Louis, holds the 1862 Historic Fourth of July at the Old Courthouse. Volunteers and park rangers, dressed in historic period clothing present music, speeches, and weapon-firing demonstrations. There is a reading of the Declaration of Independence, along with several other 1862-era activities.

  • Northwest Region:

July 3:

Take the family to Legacy Blast, a free fireworks extravaganza in Lee’s Summit. Food vendors, entertainers, inflatables, face painters and balloon artists fill Legacy Park; plus, there is a marvelous fireworks display, choreographed to music. Visitors may take their own food; however, alcohol, fireworks and grills are not allowed.

July 3-4:

The aptly named town of Liberty lights up the sky at Liberty 4th Fest, on the square and at William Jewell College. Enjoy the all-American barbecue competition; beer garden; concerts; a parade; vendor booths; a car cruise; and bands. On July 4, fireworks begin at 9:45 p.m. at William Jewell College.

July 4:

Join the interpreters at Fort Osage, beside the Missouri River in Sibley, as they celebrate Independence Day at Fort Osage with musket and cannon demonstrations, patriotic speeches and interpretive demonstrations highlighting life on the early 19th century frontier.

Attend Independence Day at Missouri Town 1855, in Lee's Summit, and experience the 4th of July in an antebellum Missouri village as it was celebrated in the 1850s. A variety of activities for the entire family provides the setting for a fun-filled day. A special patriotic parade, where visitors join staff strolling through the village, highlights the day.

Jackson County's Fourth of July Appreciation Celebration is held at Longview Lake Beach, south of Kansas City. Gates open at 6:30 p.m. Take the family for an evening of live music, food vendors, and be amazed by the fireworks display.

In Bethany, the Bethany 4th of July Celebration includes a picnic in the park at noon; a parade at 3 p.m.; a cake and ice cream social; a pet contest; and a garden contest. At 5 p.m., the Northwest Missouri State Fairgrounds opens, with food vendors on hand; fireworks start at dusk.

July 4-7:

Parkville’s good-old-fashioned Parkville 4th of July Celebration includes a parade, a carnival, games, food, and fireworks.

  • Southwest Region:

June 30:

In Joplin, July 4 festivities begin June 30, with the Independence Celebration at Route 66 Carousel Park. Local band Big Smitty will perform rock cover tunes leading up to a dazzling fireworks show. The concert and fireworks show are free and are scheduled from 8 p.m.-10 p.m.  Parking is $1 and proceeds will be donated to the United Way. Show up early and enjoy family fun with bumper cars, mini golf and amusement rides at the Carousel Park before the performance begins.

July 3:

You can’t help but have a great time in Branson at Branson Landing when they present the annual Liberty Light Up Independence Day Celebration. The evening starts with a concert, featuring the Nashville band, “Chain Reaction–a Tribute to Journey.” Following the concert, the skies over Lake Taneycomo light up with a choreographed fireworks show–the grand finale will leave you breathless.

July 4:

If you are in the Carthage area, find a comfy spot in Municipal Park for the city’s Celebration and Fireworks. The park contains grills and covered shelters; it is an ideal spot for a holiday barbecue.

In Branson, Silver Dollar City theme park turns red, white and blue, celebrating the nation’s birthday with a special opening ceremony; a morning salute to veterans; an old-fashioned ice cream social; and fireworks. This special event is part of National KidsFest, which runs thru July 22.

The town of Marshfield holds one of the longest running Independence Day Parade (133rd annual) events west of the Mississippi River. The parade kicks off the Independence Day Rodeo and Fireworks celebration, held at the fairgrounds.

In Springfield, Fireworks at the Field includes a full afternoon of activities in various locations, culminating with America’s pastime—baseball. At Hammons Field, watch the Springfield Cardinals play the Midland Rockhounds; after the game, stay for a concert by the band, “Members Only.” Then, keep your seat for a tremendous fireworks show.

Of course, there are a lot more Independence Day activities and events all across the Show-Me State. This is a time for everyone to be thankful for the freedom we all share, so find an event near you and celebrate America. Oh . . and be careful out there.

To find thousands of attractions, events, lodging choices and places to eat, check out Missouri’s only official tourism website, While browsing the website, you can order a free copy of the 2012 Missouri Travel Guide, which is also available by calling 800-519-4800. And yes, there is a free app for that—“Official Missouri Travel Guide.”

About the Missouri Division of Tourism
The Missouri Division of Tourism (MDT) is the official tourism office for the state of Missouri dedicated to marketing Missouri as a premier travel destination. Established in 1967, the Missouri Division of Tourism has worked hard to develop the tourism industry in Missouri to what it is today, an $11.2 billion industry supporting more than 279,000 jobs and generating $627 million in state taxes in Fiscal Year 2011. For every dollar spent on marketing Missouri as a travel destination in FY11, $57.76 was returned in visitor expenditures. For more information on Missouri tourism, go to

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News Releases - Travel & Tourism
Written by Ellie Alexander   
Monday, 25 June 2012 09:23

Do you love gold? The “Gilding Arts” exhibit opens in Pontiac, Illinois, opens on Friday, June 29, 2011.  The Society of Gilders, in cooperation with the City of Pontiac, will open an exhibition space inside the Walldog Mural and Sign Art Museum on 217 Mill St, in the center of downtown Pontiac.

The Society of Gilders is an international organization of artisans who work with gold and metal leaf.  The Society’s members’ works include using gold on picture frames, architectural items, sculpture, signs, furniture, fine art and other media like jewelry, mirrors, decorative objects, and more. The Society teaches interested artists and craftspeople to work with gold or other metal leaf.  For centuries, it has been a carefully guarded technique.  The Society, through its members, brings the techniques to all.  Artisans work with everything from 23 karat gold, silver, copper, aluminum and various other mixtures of metals to produce glittering objects.

The exhibition space offers an introduction to gilding, a glimpse of the famed “Swift Collection,” a brief tour through how gold and metal leaf is made, a primer on how to gild, and showcases everyday items that are brought to brilliant life with gold and metal leaf.  The “Swift Collection” is comprised of tools and work stations that were used during the late 1800s in the hand production of gold leaf.  In addition to the historical artifacts found in the new exhibit, there are gold leaf works for sale.

It is the goal of the Society of Gilders to open a larger, more complete Museum of the Gilding Arts in Pontiac, with expanded exhibits, as well as classrooms and other learning opportunities.

The new exhibit space will be hold its grand opening during the Pre-War Festival that is taking place in the downtown area Friday night,  June 29th, and all day Saturday, June 30th.  A ribbon-cutting ceremony will be held on Friday, June 29 at 10 AM.  The public and press are invited to attend.

For more information about the Society of Gilders, visit

Enjoy Illinois Summer 2012 PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Travel & Tourism
Written by Illinois Office of Tourism   
Monday, 25 June 2012 07:40
Enjoy Illinois Summer 2012
Nothing says summer like a getaway together, whether it's with the family or just the two of you. In Illinois, you'll find getaways filled with everything from zoos and music festivals to charming vineyards and superheroes. Discover even more ways to make unforgettable memories, along with exclusive deals that make getting away even more tempting.
Best Bets for Summer
History Comes Alive History Comes Alive
Journey back to the Springfield Lincoln knew and loved as costumed re-enactors give free performances on downtown streets and at nearby attractions.
Music Festivals Music Festivals
Enjoy the sweet sounds of summer at music festivals throughout Illinois, including Lollapalooza, Ravinia, On the Waterfront and more.

Top Fests Top Fests
Whether you like food on a stick or Shakespeare in the park, there’s a festival for you. Top fests include Taste of Chicago, DuQuoin State Fair and the Illinois Shakespeare Festival.
Illinois Fan Favorites Illinois Fan Favorites
Starved Rock State Park has been voted the favorite attraction by our Facebook followers. The finalists include: Museum of Science and Industry, Galena’s Historic Main Street and Brookfield Zoo.

175 Days to Love Chicago Zoos
Explore wildlife from around the world when you spend time with polar bears, dolphins, giraffes and more at the Brookfield, Lincoln Park, Scovill and Niabi zoos.
Millennium Park, Chicago
Don't Miss...
Illinois State Fair, August 9-19
Experience a summer tradition like no other, where you’ll find everything from carnival rides and tasty treats to live concerts and rodeos.
Grafton Zipline Adventures
Get your adrenaline rush on nearly two miles of ziplines that whisk you through a lush forest during a two-hour tour.

What Else Is New?
Explore the charm and fun of Illinois Wine Country in a new section featuring more than 90 wineries throughout the state.

Discover places we have pinned throughout the state on our new Pinterest boards for Illinois tourism.

Did You Know?
Tempel Lipizzan
The Tempel Lipizzan horses are back with performances featuring the graceful beauty and poetic maneuvers of these royal steeds.

American Girls dinner and private cruise
Photo: © 2012 American Girl
You can enjoy an American Girl dinner and private cruise on the Chicago River July 15 & 29; August 5 & 12.

Smallville Superfest
The new Superman movie, Man of Steel, was filmed in Plano. Can’t wait for the movie? Get your superhero fix in Plano at Smallville Superfest August 17-19.

Illinois Summer Deals

From $149/night
Holiday Inn

Raging Rivers Package
• Overnight accommodations for four
• Raging Rivers Waterpark tickets
• Breakfast buffet

From $131/night
President Abraham Lincoln Hotel

Presidential Package
• One night in a newly renovated guestroom
• Breakfast buffet for two in Lindsay's
• Tickets to the Abraham Lincoln Presidential
Library & Museum
From $154/night
Residence Inn Chicago Downtown

Water Tower Place Shopping Package
• $50 American Express gift card
• Water Tower Place Premier Perks Coupons
• Water Tower Place gift/tote bag
• Complimentary hot breakfast buffet

From $100/night *
Timber Ridge Outpost & Cabins

Tree House & Cabin Package
• Stay in a private treehouse or log cabin
• Free 30-minute archery lesson
* Three-night minimum

View more deals

What would you like us to feature in upcoming E-Newsletters?

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