SOUTHERN ILLINOIS -- Like just about every other major event, COVID-19 forced the cancellation what would have been the third annual SI Made Expo in July.
"I'm very disappointed," said Sen. Dale Fowler, who spearheaded the event that began in 2018 and has proved to be a rousing success the first two years, "but it's clearly the responsible thing to do."
However, Fowler couldn't just give it up for the year.
"We wanted to keep the momentum going," he said, "so we're taking it virtual."
That takes coordination and a series of video shoots.
Fowler and his staff spent two days last week trekking across southern Illinois, meeting with business owners who would have been represented at the Pavilion in Marion, the traditional home for the SI Made Expo.
Fowler said they completed about a dozen shoots in just under days and there are many more to complete before the project launches in November.
"They are long days," he said, "but worth it. We're doing everything we can to promote the vendors and destinations."