Great Rivers & Routes Tourism Bureau promotes ‘Heartbeats’ video series

ALTON — The Great Rivers & Routes Tourism Bureau is promoting a new video series called “Heartbeats,” which showcases ordinary people who have made an extraordinary difference in local communities.

The new eight-episode docu-series launched on January 17 on It features powerful stories themed around entrepreneurs, art, music, healthy living and people giving back to their communities. The series was created in conjunction with Alton’s Shift Agency.

“The Heartbeats video series is a thoughtful and heartfelt look at the people who make Southwestern Illinois a great place to live. These people are the ‘heartbeat’ of their respective communities,” said Cory Jobe, President/CEO of the Great Rivers & Routes Tourism Bureau. “Because of these people, we have a destination that people not only want to visit, but where people want to live.”

Each episode is between five and six minutes long and is available on the Bureau’s website:
The series includes:
• Rory Morse who developed a pop-up pizza place in Alton at the start of the COVID pandemic. Deep beneath the surface of this journey is a desire to bring more people to the table where ideas, community and inspiration are shared.
• Denise Knight of Calhoun Ferry Company. This is a story of two brothers and entrepreneurs who saw the need for a ferry service and literally built the business from the ground up along the banks of the Mississippi River. That family’s roots and pride in the region run as deep as the mighty Mississippi River itself.
• Collinsville BBQ Supply, a store with roots in the backyard grilling and professional barbecue community, but also built to give back to those who serve.
• Dive deep into Southwestern Illinois’ creative scene with a focus on fine arts, including Opera Edwardsville, The Macoupin Art Collective, and Alton artist Michael Snider.
• Jesse Riley, an assistant football coach at Alton High School, who sees more than touchdowns and tackles—he understands the power of positive influence and how words can impact athletes both on and off the field.
• Music moves the soul and live music has a home in southwestern Illinois seven days a week. Discover local venues and musicians with a passion for music, each other and their fans.

• Brenda Whitaker – a former steelworker in Granite City – who followed her dreams and whose entrepreneurial spirit helped build the infrastructure of a thriving downtown.
• Farm-to-table takes on new meaning among the orchards, organic farms and local kitchens that grow nutritious crops in the backyards of southwestern Illinois. Meet the farmers who grow the crops and the restaurants they use.
The Bureau teased the video series in November and December ahead of its January launch. The videos are also part of a targeted paid social media campaign. The social media ads target people in St. Louis, Chicago, Indiana, central Illinois, Paducah, KY, and Iowa.
“We are lucky that so many people pour their hearts and souls into our region. These videos capture what is truly the heart and soul of southwestern Illinois,” Jobe noted. “Everyone should tune in to this extraordinary video series.”