CLINTON – The American Queen Steamboat Company and Shore Excursions of America announced last February that Clinton will be added as a new tour stop in 2015.

Since the announcement, a local committee has coordinated with the American Queen staff to ensure a great experience for these guests. Many community members and area businesses have expressed an interest in helping to welcome the American Queen guests.

The American Queen will visit Clinton on five dates this summer, all Wednesday afternoons beginning in July. The dates of their visits are July 22, August 5 and September 2, 16 and 30.

Some of the passengers will stay on the steamboat and just enjoy the view of our community. Others will opt into a Premium Tour of the Naeve Family farm near Andover. Finally, many of the passengers will take a Hop-On Hop Off tour that includes stops at the Clinton County Courthouse; the Windmill and Cultural Center in Fulton, Illinois; the Sawmill Museum, downtown shops and lounges, and the George Curtis Mansion.

The local committee did not decide these stops along the tour, rather the shore excursions staff identified which areas would be the best to access logistically, keeping in mind the tight schedule of the guests, as they will be back on the Queen and off to their next destination in a matter of a few hours.

"We are really celebrating the fact that the American Queen is adding Clinton to their tour destinations," said Director of the Convention & Visitors Bureau Carrie Donaire. "This year is a first step and we hope to continue to build on the local tour route and options for what the passengers do in the Clinton community."

CVB Board Chairperson Sara Misiewicz added "We know that not everyone could be included on this initial tour, so we are excited to organize a vendor event near the Clinton Marina to showcase our community and the Midwest to these special guests."

The Vendors on the Veranda will be an open-air marketplace at the lower level of the Candlelight Inn for local businesses and non-profit organizations to sell Midwest and local merchandise to visitors from the American Queen.

There will be three informational meetings held for area businesses to learn more about the Vendors on the Veranda. The meetings will be held at the Clinton Area Chamber of Commerce at 721 South 2nd Street in Clinton on April 15 from noon to 1 p.m.; April 15 from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m., and April 28 from noon to 1 p.m.

Interested businesses need to attend one of the meetings. Vendor space is limited. Interested vendors need to apply.

If you are interested or have questions, please contact Arlanda Baxton at the Clinton Convention & Visitors Bureau at 563-242-5702 or Arlanda.baxton@clintonia.com. Applications will be made available during the informational sessions or online at www.clintoniowatourism.com.

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