A District Filled with Good Times and Great Opportunity
Stay Connected: Follow us on Twitter Find us on Facebook
Home Events Media Volunteer Opportunities Contact




Stay up to to date on festival announcements at: www.facebook.com/EarthtonesFestival


The Mississippi Earthtones Festival, presented by Alton Main Street and the Sierra Club, is a celebration of our rivers through art, music, and conservation. This 10th Annual event falls on September 17th, and promises to attract thousands of people to Broadway, where the street will be closed to traffic between Alton Street (Mineral Springs Mall) and Henry Street from Noon to 10pm.  

“At the MEF, we showcase our region’s nature-based programs, as well as local businesses that are working to help “green” residents’ lives,” said Sara McGibany, Executive Director of Alton Main Street. "It's an exciting evolution for the festival to move into the Downtown business district. After reviewing many options, this location really hit home with the Main Street & Sierra Club values of keeping your buying power local. A number of great new businesses have opened on Broadway over the last couple of years, and everyone is very excited to have a big crowd at their doorstep. We encourage the community to come down for this special occasion and spend a day exploring Broadway."

There will be several agencies on hand to teach consumers how to incorporate more sustainable practices into their daily lives, along with companies featuring Earth-friendly products and services. A variety of fun and educational activities are planned for families. Many animal experts will be on-hand at MEF for questions and answers! 

“Festival-goers will have many chances to have a positive effect on the environment that day,” said Christine Favilla, Three Rivers Project Coordinator for the Sierra Club. “They can get easy tips on things such as winterizing their homes and conserving water, or bring along the following materials to be recycled: plastic plant pots, cell phones and unused home & garden tools.”

Start the day out right by participating in the MEF River Clean Up. From 9:00 a.m. to Noon, boats will ferry volunteers to clean up riverbanks and islands. Pre-registration is required to reserve your place in the boat as well as your free lunch and t-shirt. RSVP by emailing christine.favilla@sierraclub.org. Approximately 25 tons of trash has been removed from the Mississippi River to date during MEF clean-ups.

Dozens of local artisans and upcyclers will offer their nature-inspired, hand-made wares, such as jewelry, clothing, kitchen linens, knit & crochet, henna tattoos, hula hoops, handmade books, etched bottles, tie dye, artisan soap, wooden arbors and furniture.          

Wind-powered music will fill the air throughout the day, come hungry because there will be a great selection of local food & beverages on site. Many Broadway businesses have been preparing to roll out the red carpet for the additional guests, and a number of shops will have displays and merchandise on the sidewalk.

“We are so fortunate to have such amazing historic architecture as well as the Mississippi River as part of Alton’s culture; the goal of the festival is to welcome community members and visitors for a fun day in Downtown Alton to celebrate the river while learning more about what we can do to protect the environment,” said Sara McGibany”  

There is ample parking for festival attendees in the Farmers’ & Artisans’ Market parking lot, located at 501 Landmarks Blvd.; guests can simply walk across the pedestrian bridge directly to the event. Volunteers are needed; for more information, please visit: www.facebook.com/EarthtonesFestival.

This free community festival would not be possible without the generosity of its sponsors. The MEF committee expresses their sincere appreciation to the following local businesses for supporting the event: The Telegraph, Riverbender.com, WBGZ Radio, AdVantage News, the Environmental Protection Agency, Argosy Casino Alton, Madison County Planning & Development, The Nature Institute, Illinois American Water, the Old Bakery Beer Company, StraightUp Solar, Homefield Energy, and Prairie Rivers Network. This event is held annually on the 3rd Saturday in September, as part of the State of Illinois’ “It’s Our River Day” initiative to celebrate Illinois watersheds through education, recreation and conservation.            

Listen to a 2015 interview with Sara McGibany about the Mississippi Earthtones Festival: