Tours hope to attract bargeload of tourism

Guests make their way up the gang plank for the Jefferson City Convention and Visitors’ Bureau second annual “Barge into History” tour in 2012.

Guests make their way up the gang plank for the Jefferson City Convention and Visitors’ Bureau second annual “Barge into History” tour in 2012.

What could be more divine than taking in a nice glass of wine while watching the sun set over the Missouri River?

Organizers of third annual “Barge into History” event on Thursday and Friday are hopeful others will think such an experience will be delightful, too. Sponsored by the Discover Jefferson City Foundation, the fundraiser is designed to promote tourism in the Capital City.

“It’s so breathtaking to see the view of Jefferson City from the river,” said Peggy Landwehr, an organizer of the event. “It’s just the most relaxing atmosphere. It really is so enjoyable and very safe.”

Boarding for the tours begins at 5:30 p.m., followed by a 6 p.m. departure. Once full, the barge is expected to swing west upriver, toward homes along Hayselton Drive, before turning around to cruise past the Capitol, the Missouri State Penitentiary and other key Jefferson City landmarks.

Radio broadcaster Bob Priddy and historian Gary Kremer will narrate the tours, which conclude at 8 p.m.

Tours in 2011 and 2012 both sold out.

“The Barge Tour is a delightful event which has become a favorite of many in the community,” said Amy Freeman, a tour organizer. “We have received extremely positive feedback from attendees in the last

several years and we are excited to continue to offer this rare opportunity as a way to garner funding for Discover Jefferson City.”

The Foundation’s mission is to support, through financial and in-kind donations, the Jefferson City Convention and Visitors Bureau. The goal is to share information about the diverse selection of cultural, civic, athletic, scientific and cultural activities available in Jefferson City. But promoting the Missouri State Penitentiary tours is a top priority, and that’s where the majority of the money raised will go.

The G2 Gallery is providing the hors d’oeuvres and Chez Monet is furnishing the desserts. Beer, wine and soda also will be available. Entertainment includes live blue grass music and a history lecture.

Tickets are $100 and space is limited.

Although the commercial barge is cleaned before the guests arrive, it’s not a luxury cruise. Guests should dress accordingly, as the rusty steel barge generally is used to haul sand. Tents shield participants from rays of the sun and the possibility of precipitation.

“We’re going to pray for good weather,” said Landwehr.

For more information or to purchase tickets, visit www.discoverjeffersoncity.com or contact Shiela Sanford at sheila@visitjeffersoncity.com or 632-2820.

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