April Showers Bring…May Events in ILLINOISouth

Alex Matthews
Events, Spring, What's Happening

There are over 50 great events happening in ILLINOISouth this May. Taking a look at the Calendar, here is a handful that stand out.

Locust Street Fair
May 2 • Centralia
Crafters & artisans, great food, beer/wine garden, antique car show, historic walking tours, historic train presentation, Independent Silver Band concert, and “Tintype” photography

Willoughby Farms Spring Farm Day
May 9 • Collinsville
Local vendors including stained glass, woodworking, homemade soap, toy tractors, bird feeders, rug loom, rope making and more; baby animals, sheep shearing, wool spinning, hayrides, straw pyramid, corn table, scavenger hunts, nature walk and more

Spring Fest
May 14 – 17 • Toledo
FREE Barbecue, Queen Pageant, entertainment, car show and the annual Fireman’s Chicken Dinner

Art on the SquareArt on the Square
May 15 – 17 • Belleville
100 juried artists from all over the world, high school exhibit, entertainment, food & wine courts, demonstrations and children’s activities
(Visit us at our Monster Mural in the Children’s area!)

Carlyle Sailing Association Open House
May 23 • Carlyle
Tour the marina, ride along on several types of sailboats and kayaks


Jasper County Strawberry Fest
May 29 – 30 • Newton
Entertainment, music, games, food, crafts and all things strawberry
(Visit our online calendar for other Strawberry festivals in Ecekert’s in Belleville, Ruma and St. Jacob)

For more information on these and other great events this month, click here for our online calendar or click here to request your FREE copy of the Spring/Summer Tourism Times!

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April is all About the Arts in ILLINOISouth

Alex Matthews
Art, Attractions, Events, Shopping, What's Happening

“Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.”
– Picasso

This April is all about the arts in ILLINOISouth.

See works from up-and-coming creators ranging from kindergarten to college at a student art exhibition. Take a raincheck on the latest blockbuster at the multiplex and catch live performances of classics like The Sting or Into The Woods. From gallery exhibitions and quilt shows to theatrical performances and concerts there is something for every palate.

We never cease to be amazed at the immense talent throughout our region – get out this month and see why!

Schmidt High School Show Winners

Schmidt Art Center High School Show Winners

High School Student Art Show & Life Experienced Senior Art Exhibition
Now – April 6
Schmidt Art Center at SWIC, Belleville

Fayette County Schools Art Show
April 2 – April 7
304 W. Main St., Vandalia

Clinton County Showcase Presents: The Sting
April 10 – April 19
Avon Theater, Breese

Perscription: Murder Presented by MASC
April 10 – 19
Capitol Theatre, Waterloo

Funky Butt Brass Band

Funky Butt Brass Band

Funky Butt Brass Band
April 12
St. Paul’s UCC, Belleville

The Blues Brothers Revue
April 12
Kaksaskia College Jane Knight Auditorium, Centralia

St. Louis Brass Band
April 12
The Hett at McKendree, Lebanon

Love, Laughs & Loss – One Act Plays
April 17 – 18
Lindenwood University, Belleville

Indian Market Days at Cahokia Mounds

Indian Market Days at Cahokia Mounds

Spring Indian Market Days
April 17 – April 19
Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site, Collinsville

Quilt & Craft Show
April 18
7405 Exchange Rd, Texico

Voices of Spring
April 19
St. Paul UCC, Belleville

Dunham Hall Theatre at SIUE

Dunham Hall Theatre at SIUE

Into the Woods
April 22 – April 26
Dunham Hall Theater at SIUE, Edwardsville

SWIC Student Art Show
April 23 – May. 14
Schmidt Art Center at SWIC, Belleville

Hansel & Gretel
April 24 – April 25
O’Fallon Milburn High School Auditorium, O’Fallon

It’s a Grand Night for Singing
April 25
Union United Methodist Church, Belleville

Musical Tapestry
April 26
Lindenwood University Auditorium, Belleville

Get more information about these and other great events on our online calendar!

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The Birds Are Back – Bald Eagles in ILLINOISouth

Alex Matthews
Attractions, Events, Outdoors, What's Happening

It’s a bird, it’s a…no it’s actually a bird – a Bald Eagle to be specific. There’s lots of them flying around ILLINOISouth. Ever year in January and

February several of these majestic birds flock (get it?) to several places in the area to find food in lakes and rivers that aren’t frozen over.

Visitors from near and far come to several locations along the Mighty Mississippi to take a peek at our feathered friends. Look out spots like the Old Chain of Rocks Bridge in Granite City (Madison County) and the Jerry F. Costello Lock and Dam in Modoc (Randolph County) provide the perfect vantage point to catch a glimpse. Carlyle Lake (Clinton County), the largest man-made lake in Illinois, also attracts many Eagles along its

83 miles of shoreline. This year alone 100 were spotted during an annual two-day count. This continues a trend of increased eagle populations coming
to the area in the winter months.

In addition to eagle watching, several events are held each year in ILLINOISouth and surrounding areas, which give visitors a chance to learn about our National Bird. Along with educational opportunities and activities, many of these events typically give people a chance to get up close and personal with Eagles.

There are many other places in ILLINOISouth to spot Bald Eagles and other fascinating wild life. Where have you seen them? Tell us in the comments below or on Facebook and Twitter.

For more information on annual eagle watching events, visit our online calendar, or check out the US Army Corps of Engineers site here.

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12 Big Christmas Events

Alex Matthews
Events, Holidays, What's Happening

Ho Ho Hold on a minute…what are you doing this weekend (and the next couple for that matter)?

ILLINOISouth knows how to celebrate the season in style. Don’t take our word for it – we’ve combed through our event calendar and picked 12 unique festivities that will knock your stockings off.

1. White County Christmas
Weekends, Now – December 13
Downtown Carmi
It’s a White County Christmas featuring a Chocolate Tasting on November 21, Reindeer Run 5K and Festival of Trees on November 22 and Craft Shows on November 29 and December 13.

2. Christmas in Carlyle
December 5
The Christmas Season in Carlyle kicks off with a parade and fireworks.

3. Christmas on the River
December 5 – December 7
1331 Swanwick St., Chester
This year’s theme is All Aboard the Polar Express. The bell still rings for those who truly believe. Enjoy a lighted parade, craft show, quilt show, carriage rides and more!

rudolph and sam costumes

4. Holly Jolly Christmas
December 5, 12, 19
Newton, IL
Singer Burl Ives (aka Sam the Snowman in Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer) recorded Holly Jolly Christmas, which has inspired his hometown to plan this event every year. Puppet shows, carriage and wagon rides, carolers in period dress and Santa Claus are just a few of the activities.

5. Christmas Past
December 5 – December 21
Mascoutah Heritage Museum, Mascoutah, IL
Relive the Christmases of your youth! Enjoy the sights, sounds, and smells of the holiday season as you view historic Christmas cards, decorations and ornaments, listen to records on our Victrola, and look at our display of old-fashioned toys. You and your family can even have your picture taken in our Victorian parlor, decorated for the season. The Museum is open every Tuesday morning from 9:00 until noon, the first and third Sunday afternoons of the month, and on December 5th after the Santa Claus parade.

 christmas at the barn6. Christmas in the Barn
December 6 – December 7
Rainbow Ranch Petting Zoo & Exotic Farm, Nashville
Stop in to see the cows, sheep, donkeys, camel and other farm animals that are waiting for the Baby Jesus to be born.

7. Country Christmas Stroll & House Tour
December 6 – December 7
Stroll the activities throughout town – includes a craft fair, “Festival of Trees” display, and flea market/vendor show. The House Tour includes area homes and a church. Museum sites open and decorated surrey rides available (weather permitting). Breakfast with Santa will be at 9am on Saturday.

christmas picture color

8. Old Fashion German Christmas
December 7
Participate in a traditional German holiday with music, food, carriage rides, shopping and more.

9. Christmas at Willoughby
December 7
Willoughby Farm, Collinsville
See a new side of Willoughby Farm: decorated for the holidays! Visitors will sip hot cider or hot chocolate and nibble on holiday sweet treats while visiting with Santa Claus in the farm house. Remember to bring your camera to snap a photo of Santa with your little one. Join un in the Bank Barn for a holiday sing-along while guests make ornaments to take home. From 1-4 p.m.

10. Christmas with Dickens
December 12 – December 14
Enjoy shopping, carolers and characters from “A Christmas Carol” while strolling the streets.

statehouse christmas 11. Statehouse Christmas Open House
December 13
Vandalia Statehouse State Historic Site
The oldest surviving capitol building in Illinois is putting on its best holiday duds and throwing the doors open to the public. Visitors to the Vandalia Statehouse State Historic Site will find the building illuminated by more than 250 candles and trimmed with decorations appropriate to the 1840s, when a young Abraham Lincoln served there. Decorations include fresh greenery and fruits.

12. Christmas in the Park
December 19 – December 20
Charley Brown Park, Flora
Christmas in the Park features horse drawn carriage rides, little toot train rides, petting zoo, Santa Claus in the Santa House, lots of festive light displays and more!


Don’t forget to check out some of the other great holiday happenings in our area! There are several places to see plays and concerts in the coming weeks. Plus, who can forget the great light displays in the area? Many of them like the Du Quoin Holiday Lights Fair and the Way of Lights in Belleville have live entertainment and indoor activities for all ages!!!

What are you most looking forward to this holiday season? Tell us in the comments below or on Facebook or Twitter!

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Hot Java Warms ILLINOISouth

Bill Beggs
Attractions, Food, Holiday Guide, Tourism Times

For some folks just hoping to wake up, the end justifies the means, so they grab a warmed-over cuppa joe at McDonald’s or a Casey’s, “to go.” (And don’t let the door hit you on the fanny on your way out.)

For a coffee snob, this just won’t do! They want their coffee to stay.

When the weather outside is frightful during a hectic holiday season’s hustle and bustle, the chill may encourage shoppers to beat feet from storefront to storefront. But our area’s one-of-a-kind coffee emporiums provide respite, a haven for as long as you want. While you sip the steaming, fragrant elixir of life, you can even compare gifts. (For who would dare embark on a retail therapy session alone? Humbug! )

Throughout the burgs and villes of ILLINOISouth are coffeehouses that will make you forget there was ever a premium coffee that starts with Star and ends with bucks. And most of these java joints serve freshly baked pastries that are “slap-your-grandma good.”

Red Roaster in MaeystownWe even found one place that roasts its own beans, the Village Kaffeehaus in Maeystown, via the Lil’ Red Roaster. But you’ll have to hold off on your fix until Saturday, because most places in this authentic German village aren’t open until the Wochenende (weekend).

Sacred Grounds in Edwardsville gets its beans from a St. Louis company called Mississippi Mud. Others use beans from fine roasters in The Lou such as Chauvin or Kaldi’s. But the important thing is what they do to the brew, whether you like it black or all frou-frou—a latte, mocha or cappuccino (gesundheit).

The baristas at Mokka Café in Columbia spice up their brews with pumpkin flavoring at Thanksgiving. But why stop there? They make pumpkin-flavored gooey butter cake and whip up a pumpkin-pie latte. Closer to Santa-time is when you can enjoy a peppermint mocha or gingerbread latte here.

Any coffeehouse worth its caffeine pays great attention to ambiance. (Read: art and interior architecture.) Mokka’s walls are done in pallet wood and corrugated aluminum. Artists do murals on the chalkboard wall; kids create their own masterpieces on a chalkboard table while their parents, who’ve finally dropped after shopping, may relax.

s Cup in OlneySacred Grounds, famed for its vegetarian menu, rotates works from local artists. Ophelia’s Cup in Olney does the same, often spotlighting elementary-school talent. They’ve displayed works by autistic artists. And you can help yourself to a book, as well as leave one or a few, in the shop’s book nook.

Not sure what the brew du jour is? Check out the Facebook page, which many stores update as often as daily, among them The Coffeehouse Co. in O’Fallon. Sacred Grounds in Newton prides itself on a different flavor every day.

And don’t be disappointed to find your caffeine dealer closed on this day or that. Java Joe’s Coffee House, the pride of Centralia, is shuttered Sundays and Mondays… just like most self-respecting local barbershops.

The Abbey doesn’t sound like the name for a coffee shop. Well, Belleville locals will tell you it’s all that, and more. Not only will you find fair-trade coffees and teas, but crafts from around the globe. The Abbey leads a bit of a double life, so if espresso has kindled a holiday romance, after 5 it’s time to warm it up with spirits and maybe a bit of mellow music, often live jazz.

The Abbey in Belleville

There’s no time like the holidays, of course. It’s the most wonderful time of the year, so let’s have some coffee, and tawk.

Click Here to find information on these and other great coffee houses and restaurants on our website.

This information originally appeared in the Tourism Times Seasonal Guide. Click here and sign up to receive three issues every year at no cost!

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Small Business Saturday ILLINOISouth

Alex Matthews
Fall, Holidays, Sales, Shopping

We all know about Black Friday (quickly turning to black Thursday – much to our dismay) and Cyber Monday. These are days to kick-start your holiday shopping with deals galore on hot items from toys to TVs and everything in between. Over the last few years, more emphasis has been placed on keeping that money at home through SMALL BUSINESS SATURDAY promotions…and we couldn’t be more thrilled!

This Saturday, November 29, several communities throughout ILINOISouth are offering great promotions to attract shoppers. On top of that, stores and other businesses are offering great discounts on their best merchandise. It’s a win-win! You get to save, and in some cases even win money, all while supporting local shops and boosting the area’s economy.

Below is a short list of specials that people told us about, alphabetized by community.


Eckert’s Country Store
One-day coupon to receive $10 off your purchase of $50 or more
Find it Here: http://www.eckerts.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/10-off-50-purchase-or-more-coupon.jpg

Fall Art & Craft Fair
Belle-Clair Expo Center, 200 S. Belt E., Belleville, IL
There will be over 400 exhibitors featuring crafts, holiday items, gifts, jewelry, decorations and much more.

Piece by Peace
132 W Main St, Belleville, IL
30% off of Harveys Handbags when you bring in canned goods to be donated to our local food bank.

TOCO (Tapestry of Community Offerings)
825 West Main, Belleville
Will be running 1/2 off all Holiday Merchandise

Businesses in Carmi will offer deals to go along with the White County Christmas Celebration. Click here to find out more on their Facebook page.


Biegert Jewelers
113 West Main St., Collinsville, IL
20% Off on all Charles Albert Jewelry
20 % Off on all Frederic Duclos Jewelry
20% Off on all Estate & Antique Jewelry
25% Off all Bulova Watches

11th Annual Native American Holiday Market
Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site, 30 Ramey St., Collinsville, IL
Purchase holiday gift items made by Native American artists and crafters; jewelry, paintings, baskets, pottery, weaving, herbals, bronze work and more.


Several businesses in Greenville will be offering deals as part of a city-wide effort.


Get out and shop and enter for a chance to win $100 Chamber Gift Certificate! Shop Local & Love it!

Click Here to grab the flyer on the Highland Chamber Facebook page and take it to participating businesses.


Several Mascoutah Businesses will offer discounts. The Chamber of Commerce is also running a promotion throughout the Holiday Season. Visit MascoutahChamber.com for more information.

Mt. Carmel

The Wabash County Retail Merchants Committee is again doing “Win What You Spend” for Small Business Saturday. The promotion is very easy–simply make a purchase at any RMC store on Friday, November 28th, and/or Saturday, November 29th.  Sign the back of your receipt and drop it into a registration box that several stores will have.  The receipts will then be collected and winners will be drawn on Tuesday, December 2nd. You can enter receipts separately or staple several together. If your receipt/receipts are drawn, you will win that amount in RMC gift checks up to $250.

For a list of participating businesses, call the Chamber office (262-5116) or Sharon Harris at WSJD (263-4300).

Other offers include:
Hot Tees and Cool Vinyl
431 North Walnut St.
10% off hats

The Corner Apparel
335 North Market St.
10% – 30% off

Aly Mae Images
420 North Market St
Pictures with Santa

Tastee Freez
805 West 3rd St
Homemade chili, grilled cheese, and a 22 oz drink for $4.99
Buy any slushee at regular price, get same size free. Our flavors are green apple, blue raspberry, strawberry banana, grape, cherry, and lemonade. 2 for $5 sandwich special on fish sandwich, bbq ribblet, and the breaded tenderloin.


The City of Waterloo will be giving away $750 in Gift Certificates. Contest cards will be available at all participating merchants 1 week prior to deadline of entry, December 1, 2014. Enjoy the extra time to shop, browse and have your card stamped early. Rules for the drawing are: Contest Card must be stamped by each participating merchant, and you must be 18 years or older to enter. Completed cards can be dropped off at any of the participating merchants prior to deadline of December 1, 2014.

Participating Merchants:

A World of Difference
127 North Main St.

Bountiful Blossoms Floral & Gifts
121 South Main St.

The Clothes Line Boutique
123 West Mill St.

Diehl’s Floral & Gifts
726 Rogers St.

Helping Hands Thrift Store
695 North Moore St.

Merle Norman Cosmetics & Boutique
742 North Market St.

Mill Street Treasures
125 West Mill St.

Nice Twice Resale Shop
518 Park St.

Peterstown Heritage Society
275 North Main St.

Reiniger Jewelers
911 North Illinois Rt. 3

For more information contact Sarah Deutch: 618.939.8600 ext. 211

These are just the deals our partners let us know about. If you know of any other offers or promotions, tell us about it on Facebook, Twitter or in the comments below!

Don’t forget to pass this information along to your friends and family!

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Lighting up the Night – Holiday Lights in ILLINOISouth

Alex Matthews
Events, Holidays, What's Happening

Picture this…you and the family are in your perfectly toasty car, hot chocolate in hand. You drive into a winter wonderland. Through the window you find scene after delightful scene of favorite Christmas Characters – Santa Claus, Frosty, eight tiny reindeer…nine if ol’ Rudolph is around – all adorned with bright, twinkling lights. Swirls of reds, greens and cool blues cover trees, bushes and fields…this is just a little bit of what you’ll experience at one of ILLINOISouth’s many BEAUTIFUL holiday light displays.

People come from all over the place to see the lights, but there is so much more to do! Many of the displays feature events, live entertainment, children’s activities and much more. Take time out this holiday season to make memories, and even start new family traditions at one of these fine attractions!

Fantasy of Lights
November 21, 2014 – December 31, 2014
Foundation Park, Centralia, IL
From Dusk to 11:00 p.m.
Admission: Free Admission

Lebanon’s Winter Wonderland
November 21, 2014 – January 1, 2015
Horner Park, Lebanon, IL
This annual event is a step back in time. It is a trip to a much simpler time with scenes depicting several of the area’s attractions, wonderful childhood memories, and fantastic ideas. A trip through Lebanon’s Winter Wonderland is truly different from other attractions in the area. We don’t pretend to be the biggest, brightest, nor most technically advanced. LWW is a view of the holiday that everyone remembers! See all the hand painted scenes and wonderful reminders of a much simpler time. Colorful lights and displays of all types are ready for your enjoyment. LWW includes a wide variety of illuminated venues and a life-size Nativity Scene.
Admission: Free







Way of Lights
November 21, 2014 – January 2, 2015
National Shrine of Our Lady of the Snows, Belleville, IL
45th Annual Way of Lights – This unique celebration of Christmas features a drive-thru light display, tree & wreath displays, an interactive children’s village, camel rides and an indoor laser show. With over one million lights, this event celebrates the true meaning of Christmas…the birth of Jesus.
Admission: Free

City of Olney Christmas Light Display
November 27, 2014 – December 28, 2014
Olney City Park, Olney, IL
Drive through the Olney City Park to see thousands of Christmas lights and displays. Santa will be in the Community Building each Friday and Saturday beginning December 5.
Visit Our Website

Holiday Lights Fair
November 27, 2014 – December 30, 2014
Du Quoin State Fairgrounds, Du Quoin, IL
Three mile drive through Christmas lights display is open every night. Weekends in December, the beautifully decorated winter wonderland in Expo Hall, will have vendors with items for sale, food, kids’ corner and music entertainment.
Admission: $10.00 a car load

Christmas Lights Wonderland
November 28, 2014 – December 31, 2014
American Farm Heritage Museum, Greenville, IL
Tour the animated Christmas boxes and lights, then visit the Lil Red Barn Museum for free cookies, hot chocolate, coffee or tea. Visit with Santa every Friday and Saturday, ride the Polar Express on Friday, Saturday and Sunday and enjoy 1800s Christmas at Hill’s Fort.
Admission: Free Admission

Christmas Lights in the Park
November 28, 2014 – January 4, 2015
City Park, Carlyle, IL
Get into the spirit of the season as you view thousands of Christmas lights strung throughout the City Park.

Coulterville Holiday Light Display
November 29, 2014 – December 31, 2014
Coulterville City Park, Coulterville, IL
1/2 mile walk thru display features a million lights and 400 Christmas figurines! Don’t miss the walk through version of the “Candyland” game with favorites such as Lolli Pop Lane. Fridays and Saturdays evenings, there’s food, crafts and Santa.
Admission: Free Admission

Festival of Lights
December 5, 2014 – January 1, 2015
Leo French Park, Fairfield, IL
Come see the beautiful lights and holiday decorations.

Lights in the Park
December 7, 2014
Freeburg, IL
The beautiful light display will be turned on for the holiday season. To help celebrate, Santa will be on hand to visit as well as Christmas carols being sung.

Admission: Free

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Yuletide Gems – Holiday Theatrical Offerings Are NOT To Be Missed

Bill Beggs
Events, Holiday Guide, Holidays, Tourism Times

What to do once the kids or grandkids, nieces and nephews are finished performing in the school holiday show or church Christmas pageant? Cue up Miracle on 34th Street (or Christmas Vacation…), again, and settle in for a long winter’s nap?

You don’t get out much, do you? But you should. There are plenty of theatre and musical offerings all season long throughout ILLINOISouth.

Belleville and Edwardsville have a full slate of holiday offerings, and smaller towns hither and yon have special holiday performances scheduled. Here’s just a sampling of events confirmed for the season. (In many cases, holiday shows had not been finalized by the time we went to press.)

The Belleville Philharmonic Society is an orchestra of volunteers who comprise the second-oldest continuously performing symphony in the country. (The first concert was held in 1866, a year after the Civil War ended.) This season, listeners will be blessed with several classics, from Vivaldi’s Gloria to the Nutcracker suite and ballet.

Besides the aforementioned baroque offering from the society’s chorale and chamber orchestra, the “Christmas Wonders” concert will feature Rutter’s Magnificat. Tchaikovsky’s opus Nutcracker will include several professional soloists joining the dancers of the Belleville School of Ballet.

In Edwardsville there will be about as many offerings as there are visions of sugar plums dancing in children’s heads. Not too many these days? Well, the lovingly restored Wildey Theatre is a sugar plum in its own right, and has plenty on the slate to keep children and adults entertained. Along with a production of Nutcracker, there’ll be a showing of the beloved Bing Crosby movie White Christmas.

Kids can enjoy the Elves’ Workshop at the Wildey, where participants can work on nine separate craft projects for wrapping and giving as gifts to family and friends.

If you haven’t seen the Wildey, last refurbished in 2011, you must check out this fine 325-seat theatre that has featured the likes of Dave Mason, Judy Collins and Leo Kottke. “Everyone leaves here an ambassador,” says Rich Walker, who heads up Friends of the Wildey, the group that promotes the theatre.

In Lebanon, they’ll give you the Dickens. Looking Glass Playhouse will perform the Charles Dickens classic A Christmas Carol, which might scare the you-know-what out of some kids under 12… and even some adults who have been living more like a Scrooge than a Crachit of late. Some people are scared they’ve been too bad for Santa. Others fear being visited by three ghosts on the night before Christmas.

Two events are scheduled in Mt. Carmel at Wabash Valley College. “Mind & Spirit of Christmas” features the college’s chorale backing Gina Moore, Red Wick and friends for a medley of holiday classics. Also on the performing arts calendar, at Brubeck Arts Center, is “New Odyssey Christmas,” which spotlights the group New Odyssey – 3 Guys, 30 Instruments. Intrigued? Jerry Bayne, performing arts director at WVCC, is a true believer in this act. He says, “These guys have been hitting home runs for years.”

And in Olney, the city’s art council is showcasing the Olney Central College choir for a holiday concert at John Stull Performing Arts Center; the orchestra and chorus will be joined by several professional soloists.

So bundle up, get out, and let it snow!

CLICK HERE to find information on these performacnes and other great holiday events on our online claendar!

This information originally appeared in the Tourism Times Holiday Guide. Click here and sign up to receive our annual Visitors Guide at no cost!

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Paying Tribute to Veterans in ILLINOISouth

Alex Matthews
Attractions, Events, Fall, Holiday Guide, Tourism Times, What's Happening

We at the Tourism Bureau are incredibly thankful for the brave men and women in ILLINOISouth who have fought, and continue to fight for our freedom. We encourage you to visit three new sites built in three different communities in honor of service people past and present.

Constructed on the main campus of Kaskaskia College, a community college located just outside of Centralia, The Veterans Tribute is a unique, heartfelt monument that honors the men and women who have served, are currently serving, and those who will serve our Country in the future.

Kaskaskia Veteran's Tribute

Historically, memorials are designated for those who have left us, whereas the Tribute honors all veterans, both living and deceased. The Tribute allows students, family members and visitors a connecting link to veterans by providing a broader spectrum, appreciation, and understanding of the magnitude, of all the veterans have done in preserving democracy and in keeping the dream of freedom alive.

Planned for three phases, the Tribute currently consists of a warrior’s court featuring the seals of the five branches of service and a bronze American Eagle with a ten foot wing span. The Tribute also has two walls which contain granite panels that accommodate more than 25,000 names of veterans. The Tribute itself is ringed with American flags and cherry trees. Future phases include installing three additional walls to contain up to 38,000 names, and an education building.

St. Libory Veteran’s Memorial

Over in St. Libory, visitors can honor area heroes at the Veterans Memorial in Wenneman Park. After ten years in the making, the site has plaques for the Navy, Air Force, Army, Marines and Coast Guard. Local veterans are honored with their names in bricks on the top level of the memorial. Freeburg has also recently added a new Military Flag Memorial and Honorary at the Village Park. Residents will gather on Veteran’s Day this year for the site’s first Flag Raising Ceremony.

Each Veteran’s Day, several of our communities hold events and services in honor of our veterans. Visit our online calendar for the latest information on events all over ILLINOISouth.

This information originally appeared in the Tourism Times Seasonal Guide. Click here and sign up to receive three issues every year at no cost!

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Eleven Notable November Events

Alex Matthews
Events, Fall

Don’t get too caught up in the holiday buzz just yet…wait until we start writing about it on the blog next week.

For now check out these 11 super-unique (and mostly non-holiday related) events happening in ILLINOISouth this month. From cool history lectures to fantastic shopping events and days just for the ladies, there’s something happening this month that everyone can enjoy.

CLICK HERE to find more information about these and other great events on our online calendar!

1) Mascoutah in the Civil War: Stories You Haven’t Heard Before
Now through November 16, 2014
Mascoutah Heritage Museum, Mascoutah, IL
To commemorate the sesquicentennial of the Civil War, the Mascoutah Historical Society has created an exhibit to highlight how the city’s citizens responded to the national crisis of the Civil War. Visitors to the Heritage Museum can explore the complexities of Mascoutah’s involvement through artifacts, images and documents.

2) Solid Gold Cadillac
November 7, 2014 – November 9, 2014
208 Kaskaskia St., New Athens, IL
Open House Theatre presents the three act comedy about a small stockholder versus a big corporation.

3) Toast of Marissa
November 8, 2014
200 N. Main St., Marissa, IL
This exciting event will feature wine tasting, live music, food, vendors, a 5K Run, a 1 Mile Fun Run, 50/50 raffle and a grape stomp.

4) “Expect Delays” Red Carpet Premiere and Film Screening
November 13, 2014
The Lincoln Theater, Belleville, IL
Join us for some extra holiday fun at the Lincoln Theatre for the Red Carpet Premiere of Expect Delays, an independent feature film from the creators of Belleville shot right here in Southern Illinois. Arrive at 6:30 for the Pre-Show and Red Carpet for your chance to meet the cast and crew, and stay for the 7:30 screening. Did we mention this is a Christmas movie?

5) Monroe County Welcome Center Scavenger Hunt
November 15, 2014
Monroe County Welcome Center, Columbia, IL
Don’t miss this fun-filled hunt through the magical towns of Monroe County. The event is not a race, but a joyful journey. Many prizes and giveaways!

6) Speaker Bill Nunes Presentation
November 15, 2014
Glen Carbon Historic Museum, Glen Carbon, IL
In this fascinating presentation, Bill Nunes will speak about about local prohibition bootlegger Buster Wortman as well as World War II.

7) Saint Louis Symphony Mondays
November 17, 2014
The Hett, Lebanon, IL
An exquisite concert experience features smaller chamber ensembles of Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra musicians.

8) Frauenabend
November 21, 2014
Maeystown, IL
Enjoy an evening just for the ladies! Frauenabend, or Ladies Night Out, will feature unique dining, shopping and pampering for the holidays. Vici’s Front Porch and Tea Garden will be open for dinner during the event, with dining from 4:30-8:30 p.m. The Maeystown General Store will offer private label food samplings, the Village Kaffeehaus will feature its Smooth Brew and teas, the Sweet Shoppe will offer discounts on teapots, Georgia Mae’s Antiques will offer discounts on select items and the Preservation Society Museum will be open for visitors.

9) Girls Day Out
November 22, 2014
National Shrine of Our Lady of the Snows, Belleville, IL
Jump start your Christmas shopping and enjoy lots of fun at the Shrine’s Girls Day Out! With a multitude of vendors, and so much more, this exciting event has something for girls of all ages!

10) Fall Indian Market Days
November 28, 2014 – November 30, 2014
Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site,  Collinsville, IL
Purchase holiday gift items made by Native American artists and crafters; jewelry, paintings, baskets, pottery, weaving, herbals, bronze work and more.

11) The Great American Train Show
November 29, 2014 – November 30, 2014
Gateway Center, Collinsville, IL
This show features operating model railroads, train dealers, collectors, hands-on exhibits, demonstrations, workshops and much more! There is a train for kids to ride on as well. It’s a great way to spend the day whether you are an avid modeler or just looking for fun and an interesting day out with the family.

What November events are you most looking forward to? Tell us in the comments below or on Facebook and Twitter.

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