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Shane Ritter and Angie Cleary fish on a dock on Lake Shelbyville in Eagle Creek State Park in May. 

Name: Freddie Fry

Occupation: Executive director for the Shelby County Office of Tourism

Tell me about your position and what the Shelby County Tourism Office does.

I am the executive director for Shelby County Office of Tourism and a certified tourism bureau with Illinois Office of Tourism. The office was created by a Shelby County ordinance to promote Lake Shelbyville and Shelby County for the purpose of attracting overnight visitors, but truthfully we go way beyond that. We try to also be an asset and available resource to our county residents and communities as well. We are not for profit and self-supporting using the 3% lodging tax for marketing and expenses, including our payroll.

Can you reflect on how the lake season was this summer?

We got off to a slow start due to all of the rain, but fortunately the Corps of Engineers did a great job of water management that kept any closures to a minimum. Fourth of July fireworks were able to be set off over Lake Shelbyville, and they were stunning! Water went back to normal, trails for hiking and biking are in great shape, all beaches were open. The beaches closed for the season Sept. 6. All in all, it was another great summer to enjoy all the lake has to offer. As fall approaches keep in mind that the lake provides some of the best fall color viewing. Take advantage of the recreation areas for a fall picnic, a colorful hike or bike on the trails or a panoramic view from a boat!

Shelbyville and Shelby County are much more than Lake Shelbyville. What other wonders are offered?

Columbus Day weekend, we have two great annual events: Touchstone Energy Balloonfest and Scarecrow Daze! Festival of Lights will light up Forest Park in Shelbyville beginning Nov. 22.

Attractions from one end of the county to the other! We have three wineries, numerous golf courses, a goat tower, a BelAir Museum, a covered bridge, a Sunken Garden, seven Looking for Lincoln wayside exhibits, Chautauqua Auditorium and much more. These and other attractions, events and interesting tidbits can be found online or request a guide from our office info@lakeshelbyville.com or give us a call at (217) 774-2244.

What is the most rewarding and what is the most challenging part about your job?

Funny thing — providing the best available information we can is both!!

The gathering is a big challenge: we spend countless hours tracking down events, attractions, contact info, locations, new, closed, etc. Thankfully, more of the people we've reached out to are sending us their updates. Once gathered, we have to make the information available. We post to our website lakeshelbyville.com and event calendar, we produce an annual Visitor Guide (available in print or online), and maintain a presence on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. The majority of our print or online advertising is done outside of our area. 

The dividend comes from increased website traffic, events well-attended and successful, social media is liked and shared. We love when visitors and area residents trust us to keep them up to date with what's going on. The biggest benefit comes when visitors are happy and visitor services are successful. The best reward? The smile, a thank you and sometimes even a hug!

If you could sum up Lake Shelbyville in a phrase, what would it be?

Limitless recreation with endless possibilities!

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Contact Kennedy Nolen at (217) 421-6985. Follow her on Twitter: @KNolenWrites


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