Great Rivers & Routes launches video docu-series, ‘Heartbeats’
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Including episode on Denise Knight of Calhoun Ferry Company
By Carissa Sitki
Great Rivers & Routes Tourism Bureau has launched a new video docu-series (documentary series) called “Heartbeats,” which aims to highlight the lives of people who positively impact their local communities. Included in this series is a video featuring Denise Knight of the Calhoun Ferry Company.
Knight’s installment is episode 2 of the series, and is entitled, “Across the River.” It shares the story of two entrepreneurial brothers who saw a need for a ferry service and built the Calhoun Ferry Company from the ground up along the banks of the Mississippi River.
A Great Rivers & Routes press release stated that Knight’s family’s “roots and pride in the region run as deep as the mighty Mississippi River itself.”
The new eight-episode docu-series was released on Tuesday, Jan.17. Knight’s episode and the other seven episodes are between five and six minutes long and can be viewed on the Bureau’s website: https://www.riversandroutes.com/destination-development/heartbeats/
All of the videos feature stories surrounding local entrepreneurs, arts, music, healthy living and other people who give back to their communities. The series was created in partnership with the Shift Agency of Alton.
Cory Jobe, President/CEO of Great Rivers & Routes, praised the people who were featured in the videos as “the ‘heartbeat’ of their respective communities.”
“The Heartbeats video series is a thoughtful and heartfelt look at the people who make southwest Illinois a truly great place to live. These people are the ‘heartbeat’ of their respective communities,” said Jobe. “Because of these people, we have a destination that people not only want to visit, but also where people want to live.”
The other seven episodes in this series are:
■ Rory Morse who developed a pop-up pizzeria in Alton at the start of the COVID pandemic. Deep beneath the surface of this journey is a desire to bring more people to a table where ideas, community and inspiration are shared.
■ Collinsville BBQ Supply, a retail shop with roots in backyard grilling and the professional barbecue community but also built to give back to those who serve.
■ Take a deep dive into the creative scene of southwest Illinois with a focus on the 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 influences and how words can impact athletes both on and off the field.
■ Music moves the soul and live music has a home in southwest Illinois seven days a week. Discover local venues and musicians with a passion for music, each other and their fans.
■ Brenda Whitaker – a former Granite City steel worker – who followed her dreams and whose entrepreneurial spirit has helped build the infrastructure of a blooming downtown district.
■ Farm-to-table takes on a new meaning between the orchards, organic farms and local scratch kitchens which grow nutrient-dense crops in the backyards of southwest Illinois. Meet the farmers who grow the crops and the restaurants who use them.
The Bureau released clips of Heartbeats in November and December of last year, prior to last month’s launch of the full series. According to Great River’s & Routes, the videos are part of a targeted paid social media campaign and the social media ads are targeting people in St. Louis, Chicago, Indiana, central Illinois, Paducah, KY, and Iowa.
“We are fortunate to have so many people pour their hearts and souls in to our region. These videos capture what truly is the heart and soul of southwest Illinois,” Jobe noted. “Everyone should tune in to this extraordinary video series.”
About Great Rivers & Routes:
The Great Rivers & Routes Tourism Bureau is a certified Destination Marketing Organization serving Madison, Jersey, Calhoun, Macoupin, Montgomery and Greene counties and East St. Louis in St. Clair County. The bureau is dedicated to educating visitors about the region by providing information regarding the area’s history, unique landmarks, recreational opportunities, leisure attractions, special events and scenic marvels.