Towboat Festival Returns To Grafton, Ill., In November

Enjoy a little music, a lot of food and drinks, and plenty of fun touring working towboats and experiencing life on the Mississippi River during the annual Grafton Towboat Festival that will be held in Grafton, Ill., November 3-4.

The event runs from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, on the Grafton waterfront and will include special attractions throughout the weekend. The event coincides with the Fresh Fish Festival hosted by award-winning Grafton Oyster Bar at Grafton Harbor. Other Grafton businesses will also be offering food and drink specials, live entertainment and games for children before dusk.

Luhr Bros. Inc., Columbia, Ill., will be displaying the mv. Twyla Luhr for guided tours from noon to 4 p.m. both days. The 160- by 48-foot towboat was built in 1982 by Jeffboat Inc., Jeffersonville, Ind., and has 6,800 hp.

Other attractions include storytelling by towboat captains, the Coast Guard and the Corps. The Gypsy Rose Pirate Ship will also be on site for kids to explore on Saturday, and a bounce house sponsored by Jersey State Bank and the Grafton Chamber of Commerce will be available to children both days. A hands-on lock and dam display will also be featured at this year’s event.

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Jan DeSherlia, co-owner of Grafton Harbor, said the company will be offering one-hour riverboat cruises onboard the Hakuna Matata on both days. The 53-foot passenger vessel seats up to 49 guests at a time for a tour of the Illinois and Mississippi rivers.

At 4:45 p.m. on both days, DeSherlia said there will be a full-moon cruise, where storytellers will give guests a haunted history of Grafton. A haunted party will follow, where guests will learn about the “evil spirits” who are said to haunt the docks of Grafton Harbor.

Admission is $3 for adults and $1 for children. For more information, call 618-786-7678.