Swing Around ILLINOISouth – 52 Great Golf Courses

Alex Matthews
Attractions, Outdoors, Recreation, Sports, Tourism Times

Our 19 county region features 52 golf courses, great for players of all skill levels. The Fall Season is a great time of year for getting out and playing some holes. Many challenges await players all over the territory, as our course designs feature everything from 18-hole championship layouts of 7,000+ yards to par 3, executive style courses. So grab your clubs, make a tee time and hit the links in ILLINOISouth!

Arlington Greens

Arlington Greens in Granite City is owned and operated by the Collinsville Area Recreation District. This 18-hole course is a par 72, and reaches almost 7,000 yards from the back tees. This facility also has a driving range.

Bent Oak Golf Course

Bent Oak Golf Course in Breese is a great little 9-hole track, and this year, it is celebrating 20 years in operation. This par 36 layout is almost 3,300 yards and features 4 sets of tees.

Mt. Carmel Golf Course is a superb par 71, 18-hole design and is wappred around the city park. This 6,100+ yard layout hosts numerous tournaments, is always in great shape and was opened in the 1940s

Stonewolf Golf Club


Nashville Golf Course is owned and operated by the City of Nashville in Washington County. This 9-hole Muni is par 36 and is 3,200 yards long. This course is located on the edge of the city’s park with a large number of mature trees lining the fairways.

Stonewolf Golf Club in Fairview Heights, a Jack Nicklaus design, is one of the top rated courses on either side of the river year after year. This challenging par 72 layout is spread over 6,943 yards, with multiple sets of tees for all members of your group to enjoy. Be sure to check out Jack’s on the Green restaurant, located in the clubhouse.

This information originally appeared in the Tourism Times Seasonal Guide. Click Here to download and read the issue, or Click Here and sign up to receive three issues every year at no cost!

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BOO! Haunted Happenings in ILLINOISouth

Alex Matthews
Events, Fall, Halloween, Holidays, What's Happening

Don’t look behind you…

We told you not to look!

It’s a frightfully fun time here in ILLINOISouth. Ghosts, Goblins and Ghouls lurk around every turn. Haunted hikes and spooky spectacles are the norm for many communities throughout October leading right up to the big day…Halloween.

Head out to one of the many Halloween parades to see all of the classic creepers like mummies, vampires, Frankenstein, witches…even zombies. Watch out for the zombies though – Walking Dead comes back on this weekend, and it has me convinced you can never be too careful.

Show off your costumes and, most importantly, let the kiddos collect candy at trunk-or-treats and Halloween parties. For the ladies, Lebanon and Columbia host “Witches Nights Out”. (They said it, not us.)

However your family likes to celebrate Halloween – we want you to stay safe and have fun. Here’s a list of Haunted Happenings in ILLINOISouth:

October 10-11, 17-18, 24-15
Haunted Hayrides
Eckert’s Farm, Millstadt
There’s lots of ghoulish fun for young and old during this hayride through Eckert’s haunted orchard.

October 9
Ghouls (Witches) Night Out
Dress the part – witches costume, hat and broom contest, and enjoy a fabulous night of shopping and prizes.

October 10 – 11, 17 – 18 & 24 – 25
Historical Museum Haunted House
Historical Museum, Centralia

October 10 – 12 & 17-19
Little Shop of Horrors
Avon Theater, Breese
Clinton County Showcase presents this rock musical, comedy, horror hit at the historic Avon Theater.

October 17 – 18
Haunted Trail
McDonald’s Restaurant, Carlyle
Climb aboard a hay wagon in the McDonald’s parking lot and take a hay ride down to a trail where ghosts and ghouls hide.

October 17 – 18
Haunted Hike
Silver Lake Park, Highland
Go for a haunted hike into the darkness and see what lurks at night in the Park!! The hike on the 18th is for families with younger children. On the 19th, prepare to be scared!

October 24
Belleville Trick or Treat
Main Street Belleville
Trick or treat on the Nation’s longest main street, and stock up on candy and goodies!

October 24
Halloween Party
Caseyville Community Building, Caseyville
Lots of games, costume contest, Halloween pictures, food, and more.

October 25
Halloween Parade, Fall Festival & Craft Fair
Centralia Recreation Complex, Centralia
This parade is older than the Macy’s parade and features floats, marching unites, horses, old fire trucks, costumed characters, school bands and more. The Fall Festival is held during the day with a children’s parade, chili cook-off, mini train rides, haunted house, craft fair, games for the kids, food and car show.

October 25
Halloween Hi-Jinks
Main Street Columbia
Main Street merchants have stocked up on treats for the little princesses, ghosts and all.

October 25
Halloween Parade

October 25
Pumpkin Patch & Children’s Bike Parade
Downtown O’Fallon
Children are invited to join the bike parade and trick or treat at downtown merchants.

October 26
Witches Night Out
Sharpen the point on your hat, oil the broom and fluff up the cat, leave the little goblins where they’re at and com to Lebanon’s scariest shopping event. Restaurants and shops will be open. A fortune teller will be strolling the street. The spooky music and historic buildings provide a haunted backdrop for some wicked good fun. It’s a “ghoul’s night out.” Costumes are encouraged; it’s quite a sight to see.

October 26
Halloween Parade
Leu Civic Center, Mascoutah
It’s a party with food, costume contests and children’s games, plus a parade!

October 31
Scare Square & Pumpkin Glow
City Hall Fountain Park, Columbia
Loads of Halloween fun, trunk-or-treating for the kids and pumpkin carving contest for all ages.

October 31
EdGlen Chamber of Commerce Halloween Parade
Over 100 floats, marching bands, school groups and entertainers take to the streets of Edwardsville to experience this 90+ year tradition called the biggest Halloween celebration in the Metro-East.

October 31
Trunk or Treat
Waterloo Courthouse Square
Organizations provide a safe trick or treating environment for the kids. Event features a Candy Check Point sponsored by the Waterloo Fire Department and Monroe County EMS.

For more Fall fun, read about great Fall Festivals and Chili Cook-offs on our blog.

Click Here for a complete list of ILLINOISouth events.

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TURN UP THE HEAT – Chili cook-offs in ILLINOISouth

Alex Matthews
Events, Fall, Food, What's Happening

Communities all over ILLINOISouth come together this time of year to celebrate the best part of Fall…STEAMING POTS OF CHILI!!!

Individuals, businesses and community groups bring their A-games to festive events every year, with one goal – to make the best chili in town. Searching far and wide, they find the best meats, the hottest peppers, the right blend of beans, and secret ingredients that they simmer to perfection.

While you’re chowing down on chili peruse a variety of vendors, entertainment, art exhibits, children’s crafts and more – you can even carve a pumpkin in some cases.

Not a chili fan? Most events offer several great food and beverage options making for a well-rounded menu.

October 3 – 4
Chili Cook-Off
Downtown Belleville
Belleville’s Chili Cook-off features the culinary creations of individuals, local organizations & area businesses, as well as children’s area and entertainment throughout the weekend!

October 4
Du Quoin Fall Festival
Keyes Park, Du Quoin
There will be craft vendors, chili cook-off, live D.J. and open mic, Elvis impersonator and whistle pigs.

October 11
Chili Cookoff
Make a day of it at the chili and salsa contests, washer tournament, bike show, white lightening run, music, truck pulls, children’s activities, craft show and fireworks.

October 11
Chili Cook-Off
It’s chili tasting for all, and prizes for the best chili, people’s choice and best decorated booth. Kids activities, wine tasting, additional food items, beer, soda and other beverages are also available.

October 18
Fall Festival, Chili Cook-Off, Craft Fair
Dupo Community Park, Dupo
The whole family will have fun tasting the chili, browsing the arts & craft and food vendors and enjoying live music and games.

October 18
Fall Fest & Chili Cook-Off
This annual event has something for the entire family. There’s a Chili Cook-off, Car Show, craft & product vendors, children’s area, food and entertainment. In the Chili Cook-off you can sample over 20 kinds of chili. The Car Show offers a variety of makes and models. The wide variety of Craft and product vendors that line Main Street is just the place to start your Christmas shopping. The free children’s activity area has crafts, bounce houses and the highlight is the story time featuring the Mascoutah Library Players, who bring a season story to life. From 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. 618-566-2244

October 25
Chili & Soup Cookoff
New Baden Village Park, New Baden
There’s a Tasters’ Choice competition for both chili and soup with prizes awarded in both categories. Families will find a craft fair, touch-a-truck equipment display, bounce houses and more.

October 25
88th Annual Halloween Parade & Fall Festival & Craft Fair
Centralia Recreation Complex & Downtown, Centralia
This parade is older than the Macy’s parade and features floats, marching unites, horses, old fire trucks, costumed characters, school bands and more. The Fall Festival is held during the day with a children’s parade, chili cook-off, mini train rides, haunted house, craft fair, games for the kids, food and car show.

October 25
Fall Festival
Downtown Collinsville
The day is packed with fun family festivities that include Trick or Treating, a Chili Cook-Off from 10am to 3pm, a Children’s Costume Contest at noon, and a Pet Parade that steps off from the Dog Park at 2pm.

November 22
Santa’s Holiday Avenue Parade & Chili Cook-Off
2000 Edison Ave., Granite City
Large holiday parade with over 100 entries followed by Chili Cook-Off and vendor festival. There will be St. Louis food trucks and local vendors as well as arts, crafts, jewelry and much more. Free stuff for the kids, face painting, pony rides, giant blow-up slide, bouncy house and train rides. 

November 22
Holiday Happenings
Red Bud
A full day of fun is on the menu with a chili cook-off and deer sausage competition, trolley rides, home tour and taste of Red Bud and make sure you don’t miss Santa’s arrival to town at noon!

Love Fall events? Click here to check out our recent post about Fall Festivals in the region!

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Vandalia Second Annual Armed Forces Tribute

Alex Matthews
Events, Vandalia

Don’t miss this fun-filled weekend!

The entire family will enjoy military vehicle displays, living history encampments, WWII & Vietnam battle re‐enactments, weapons & equipment demonstrations. Plus, there will be Swap Meet Vendors, Military Collectibles, Food Vendors and much more!


Saturday, October 11
1st battle 1:0 p.m. (Vietnam)
2nd Battle 3:00 p.m. (WWII).

Sunday, October 12
1st Battle 1:00 p.m. (Vietnam)
2nd Battle 2:00 p.m. (WWII)

Plus a Swap Meet, Living History & Vehicle Displays open all day.


Event Sponsored by: Wildlands Outdoor Equipment.

For more information: Matt Hannabarger ‐ 217‐690‐9239

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Fall Bounty Abounds: Orchards in ILLINOISouth

Bill Beggs
Fall, Farms, Orchards, Tourism Times

They say money doesn’t grow on trees. Well, when there’s a bumper crop, orchard owners would beg to differ.

The 19 counties of ILLINOISouth are dotted with successful orchards where apples ripen throughout the summer and are ready for market, juicing… or for visitors to pick themselves… come mid summer or early fall.

Alas, the time for peaches and pears has passed. The last strawberry was picked months ago. And first frost will have put the kibosh on the main produce to be had throughout the summer at John Brown Melons, in Carmi.

But meanwhile, great pumpkins are everywhere to be had—it’s fall, after all. So, let’s visit three orchards and that melon patch: Eckert’s, whose main location is in Belleville; Schwartz Orchards, in Centralia; and Grissom’s “Lost Creek” Orchard, in Greenup.


It’s now the sixth and seventh generation of Eckerts working the rolling prairie just southeast of Belleville, where the family orchard has been since the 1800s. There’s also the “fun farm” in nearby Millstadt, and an open-air style market up north along the Big Muddy at Grafton, where empty-nesters can savor a day, or two.

Apples are the main attraction, of course, and Eckert’s has long been a destination for visitors from far and wide for its ever-popular “you pick” operation. (The ferocious winter meant peaches were not to be for public picking this season, but apples are a hardy crop.) Meanwhile, folks minding their vegetables can pick tomatoes and cukes, in season… or even a peck of peppers for pickling.

There’s much for the family to enjoy in Millstadt, what with live music, carnival rides and even such grand foolishness as pig races and “punkin’ chunkin’”… experts in this enterprise load the orange spheroids into a special cannon for blasting a country mile.

Back in Belleville is the big red barn, where since 2010 the country store has resided. And a fine one it is, indeed, what with artisan cheeses, pies baked on site, 200 labels of wine… open all year. Plus, the restaurant is a destination in itself.


Included in the first planting here, in 1963, were both apple and peach trees. The fuzzy fellows are typically available third week of July, with the harvest coming to a close by early September… just in time for the main crop of apples to be picked.

By and large, customers here drive up to get their fruit, pumpkins and other goods, including gourds and mums for fall decorating. Kids, once their enthusiasm for produce has worn thin, will have plenty else to keep them occupied. There’s a maze to negotiate and a petting zoo. And the whole gang can enjoy a crisp fall hike along one of several trails throughout the expansive property (70 acres are under cultivation).

Grissom’s stays open from mid-July, when the first apples ripen, until January.


Chances are that fine sip of cider was pressed at Schwartz, not far southeast of the airport in Centralia. Tom Schwartz calls it “schweet” juice, and how schweet it is… whether the luscious golden-bronze variety or mixed with strawberry (strapple cider; mmm, yum) or blackberry (blapple cider; ooh, tart). Sixty percent of the fruit harvested here is prized for its juice.  In fact, Tom recently accepted two “First Place” awards this past January in Springfield, IL at the Fresh Cider Contest sponsored by the Illinois State Horticulture Society and the Illinois Specialty Crops Conference:  National Cider 2014 and ILLINOIS Cider 2014.

Sample some the weekend of Oct. 11 at Applefest, where you can also dig into cobbler, enjoy down-home music and watch the kids light up as their faces get painted.

Tom obviously loves his work: “My bucket list is coming right along.”

John Brown

Not far from the Little Wabash River is a fruit stand unlike many others these days. It may not be occupied, as Richard Brown has work to do in the field. Painted on an inside support: “We Trust You—Put Money In Box.”

As it happens, in a year Brown does more pumpkin than melon business. And the little ones are a hit. Many buyers stack them in small towers, a spectrum of colors and countless shapes—some nearly flat, others shaped like Cinderella’s coach.

Of course, all summer long it was melon time. Watermelons grow for a little longer than cantaloupes, which seem to all ripen over just a few days.

“Watermelon are like draft horses,” says Brown. “Cantaloupe are like racehorses. Anything planted after summer solstice ripens really fast.”

It’s a race to the finish, he points out: “The plant’s sole purpose on this earth is to produce seed.”

Of course, not all the good stuff at many orchards grows on trees, ripening mostly in the fourth quarter. As is the case at Schwartz, much of it gets only knee-high to a grasshopper: Strawberries.

And, although Grissom’s is only open July to January, and Eckert’s is open year-round, from farm to farm daily open and close times vary, as do dates of operation.

Before the goodies ripen in Carmi, John Brown Melons may truck in produce from Florida to tide themselves over.

Another word to the wise: It wouldn’t hurt to call a produce purveyor before visiting. Some may have more than expected, such as blackberries or other sweet surprises. Some may have less; one or another variety may have had a bad season for any number of reasons… remember, it’s all up to Mother Nature.

Click here for information on ILLINOISouth’s 23 amazing orchards!

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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Olney's White Squirrels

Bill Beggs
Attractions, Events, Fall, Olney, Tourism Times, What's Happening

People in Olney are nuts about squirrels—snow-white squirrels, specifically. (To be precise, these are albino squirrels, as retired college instructor John Stencel will remind you.)

Two adorn the city welcome signs. One is on police officers’ uniform patches. A bright-eyed and bushy-tailed couple is depicted on a panel outside the Holiday Motel and Restaurant, their tails curling above to form a heart. And the real thing is practically everywhere you look. You just have to know where, and when.

Coming face to whiskers with one of these critters is like meeting a Shetland pony… the ordinary becomes extraordinary! Imagine your typical grey squirrel in white mink, with translucent pink ears and even pink claws. And, those eyes…

Matt Smith can testify. He lives in Naperville, near Chicago. “Pretty much everywhere you’ll see a squirrel. But these are like you’d only see in a zoo,” says Matt, who with mom Deann has journeyed to the Richland County seat the last four Octobers. To help count.

Counting squirrels? No, this isn’t like herding cats. (More on cats later.)

In 1977, Stencel started estimating squirrel numbers by enlisting resident volunteers and his Olney Central College students. For one thing, it demonstrated concepts like genetic drift and the impact of recessive genes in a population said to have been discovered here in 1902.

But for people carrying a clipboard, map and legend about 7 a.m. on October’s first three Saturdays, it’s just plain fun.

“It’s at an hour I don’t normally move on Saturday,” says Jean Weber, who for 10 years with husband Tom has surveyed a route of a few blocks in an hour or so, marking down grey and white squirrels, plus predators. Foxes are on the list, but cats are the real problem.

 “They’re supposed to be kept inside,” says volunteer Barb Roberts, with frustration. Yes, people here are seriously nuts about squirrels: There’s a stiff fine for running one over. BB gun-toting kids should shoot cans, or else.

Belinda Henton, a retired Olney city clerk, rehabs injured and abandoned squirrels for release into the woods. Volunteers say she does a fantastic job reminding them, producing maps and averaging the counts. New recruits are always welcome.

“You know it’s going to be a good day when you’re on your way to work and see a white squirrel,” Henton says.

Why not put this trip on your bucket list? The White Squirrel count happens every year over the first three Saturdays of October, and f course, albino squirrels aren’t Olney’s only attraction: CLICK HERE to see for yourself, or call 618-395-7302 x3 to sign up!

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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Heartland Rivers Wine Trail

Alex Matthews
Attractions, Food, Tourism Times, Wine, Wineries

Wine down in ILLINOISouth along The Heartland Rivers Wine Trail…

The Wine Trail is an endless adventure through ILLINOISouth. Visitors can enjoy the extraordinary flavors – from their sophisticated dry reds to the popular sweet country wines . . . each winery offers a unique and often surprising experience.

The trail’s twelve wineries produce over 100 different wines, following a tradition of fine winemaking established by early settlers of Illinois who brought their wine-making expertise from Europe. Each winery is different. Small to medium in size, all proud of their well-crafted red and white wines that range from bone dry to dessert sweet.

Heartland Rivers Wineries:
Bretz Wildlife Lodge & Winery (Carlyle)
15469 State Rte. 127 | Carlyle, IL 62231 | 618-594-8830

Crooked Creek Winery (Centralia)
24585 W. 10th Street Rd. | Centralia, IL 62801 | 618-495-2161

Forsee Vineyards & Winery (Coffeen)
18165 N. 4th Ave. | Coffeen, IL 62017 | 217-534-6347

GenKota Winery (Mount Vernon)
301 N. 44th St. | Mount Vernon, IL 62864 | 618-246-9463

Hidden Lake Winery (Aviston)
10580 Wellen Rd. | Aviston, IL 62216 | 618-228-9111

Mary Michelle Winery & Vineyard (Grafton)
Pere Marquette State Park Lodge | Grafton, IL 62037 | 618-786-2331

Orchard View Winery (Alma)
307 2nd St. | Alma, IL 62807 | 618-547-9911

Plainview Vineyard (Plainview)
10456 2nd Rd. | Plainview, IL 62685 | 618-836-5514

Roundhouse Wine Co. (Centralia)
1938 Dogwood Ln. | Centralia, IL 62801 | 618-532-1600

Schorr Lake Vineyards (Waterloo)
1032 S. Library St. | Waterloo, IL 62298 | 618-939-3174

Springers Creek Winery (Edwardsville)
817 N. Rt. 157 | Edwardsville, IL 62025 | 618-307-5110

The Winery At Shale Lake (Williamson)
1499 Washington Ave. | Williamson, IL 62088 | 618-637-2470

Click Here to find out more about these and other great
ILLINOISouth Wineries!

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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Fall Festivals in ILLINOISouth

Alex Matthews
Events, Fall, What's Happening

As the temperatures cool through ILLINOISouth, we’re just around the corner from a plethora of Fall Festivals. With 29 unique festivals, people of all ages will certainly be able to join in their favorite ways to welcome Autumn!

Maybe you like to turn up the heat with a bowl of homemade chili, or enjoy in a fine seasonal beer or cider. Arts and crafts abound with playful portrayals of witches, scarecrows, pumpkins and so much more. Local bands will be serving up everything from bluegrass jams to rock, blues and country standards. Maybe you’ll be one of the sweatshirt-clad candy catchers at your hometown parade, or the guy screaming at the top of his lungs on a carnival ride.

With so many options, and festivals dedicated to everything from apples to navy beans, we hope you’ll enjoy some of these great annual events.

Click here for more information on the 29 festivals listed below and other great Fall events in ILLINOISouth!

Fall Festival • Newton: September 12 – 13

Wheat Fair & Festival • Okawville: September 12 – 14

Lawrence County Fall Festival • Lawrenceville: September 17 – 20

Salem Apple Fest • Salem: September 20

Appleknocker Festival • Flora: September 27

Fall Festival • Olney: September 27

Bean Days • Wayne City: September 27

FestiFall • Columbia: September 28

Fall Festival • Greenup: October 2 – 5

Chestnut Festival • St. Francisville: October 3 – 4

St. Bernard’s Fall Fest • Albers: October 4

Willoughby Farm Fall Farm Day • Collinsville: October 4

Fall Festival • Coulterville: October 4

Fall Festival • Lebanon: October 4

Harvest Thyme Festival • Carlyle: October 4 – 5

Du Bois Center Fall Festival • Du Bois: October 5

Corn Days • Carmi: October 10 – 11

Octoberfest • Steelville: October 10 – 11

Celebrate Centralia • Centralia: October 11

PumpkinFest • Waterloo: October 11

Schwartz Farm Apple Fest • Centralia: October 11

Fall Festival • Breese: October 11

Fall Festival and Hill’s Fort Living History Event • Greenville: October 11 – 12

Oktoberfest • Maeystown: October 12

American Thresherman Fall Festival • Pinckneyville: October 17 – 19

Halloween Parade, Fall Festival & Craft Fair • Centralia: October 25

Fall Festival • Collinsville: October 25

Fall Festival • Louisville: October 25

Mardi Gras • Pinckneyville: October 25

Wabash Valley Youth in Action Fall Festival • Mt. Carmel: October 26

Click here for more information on the festivals and other great Fall events in ILLINOISouth!

What’s your favorite Fall festival/event in ILLINOISouth? Tell us in the comments or on Facebook and Twitter!

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9 September Events

Alex Matthews
Events, Fall, What's Happening

Summer is over. The kids are back at school, your favorite shows are on TV again, the Pumpkin Spice Latte has made it’s triumphant return to Starbucks…don’t act like you don’t love it. We’re well on our way to chili cook-offs, chowders, apple picking, art-walks, wine events and so many wonderful fall festivities in ILLINOISouth – but we’re not there yet.

As you await the crisp weather and changing colors that come with the Fall, chill out with these nine unique events in the ninth month…

september events blog graphic

Touch the Trucks
September 6
National Shrine of Our Lady of the Snows • Belleville, IL
From 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. Bring the family for a fun day where kids can see and touch a fire truck, backhoe, dump truck, concrete truck and many more. There will also be wagon rides, pony rides, and you can meet Fredbird!
Admission: $5 per person or $20 per car

Clinton County Showcase Presents: The Miracle Worker
September 11 – September 14
Breese Northside Park • Breese, IL
This classic tells the story of Annie Sullivan and her student, Helen Keller. Trapped in a secret, silent world, unable to communicate, Helen is violent, spoiled, almost sub-human and treated by her family as such. Only Annie realizes that there is a mind and spirit waiting to be rescued from the dark, tortured silence. With scenes of intense physical and emotional dynamism, Annie’s success with Helen finally comes with the utterance of a single, glorious word: “water”.

Dawg Days of Summer
September 12
Courthouse Square • Waterloo, IL
Bring your pooch and join us in downtown Waterloo at the Courthouse Square! Special shopping opportunities all afternoon and evening as well – you lucky dawg!

Wheat Fair & Festival
September 12 – September 14
511 S. Hanover • Okawville, IL
This three day event has a queen pageant on Friday evening at 7, carnival rides, food and drinks, games, antique tractor pull and a washers tournament Saturday. Exhibits include farm and home making, 4-H, and school projects. Don’t miss the large decorated float parade Sunday at 2:00 p.m.

6th Annual Blues Festival
September 13
Richland County Fairgrounds • Olney, IL
The Richland County Recreational Council is pleased to welcome The Jeremiah Johnson Band, The Sad Sam Blues Jam, Reverend Robert, and Dicky James and the Headcutters to their 6th Annual Blues Festival. Food and Drinks will be available for purchase. Admission is $10 – All ages are welcome until 8 p.m., 21 & Over only after 8p.m.

Lawrence County Fall Festival
September 17 – September 20
Downtown • Lawrenceville, IL
This is the 52nd year for the Lawrence County Chamber of Commerce Annual Fall Festival! Amusement rides for all ages as well as dozens of food vendors serving up tasty carnival treats. Don’t miss Lawrence County’s biggest, most popular 4 day event!

Bicentennial Oktoberfest Celebration
September 19 – September 21
Public Square • Belleville, IL
This year Oktoberfest will be celebrating the 200th anniversary of the City of Belleville with entertainment by The Beach Boys, Craig Morgan, Roots & Boots Tour, Confederate Railroad and more. Food, drinks, craft demonstrations, rides, children’s entertainment, citizen’s naturalization are scheduled for this weekend! Admission and entertainment are free!

September 19 – September 21
Downtown • Collinsville, IL
Since 1983, Collinsville IL has been celebrating the Italian culture and heritage that built Collinsville. The two day event includes a bocce ball tournament, 5K, kids fun run, diaper dash, grape stomp, pageant, three stages of entertainment, and authentic Italian food from over 40 vendors. The Fest is a family friendly event and there really is something for everyone!

Pumpkin Pickin’ at Rainbow Ranch
September 26 – Nov. 1
Rainbow Ranch Petting Zoo & Exotic Farm • Nashville, IL
Come to the farm to meet the animals, walk through the corn fields and find a special pumpkin for your jack-o-lantern.

What ILLINOISouth events are you looking forward to in September? Tell us on Facebook, Twitter, or in the comments bellow.

Click here for more information on these and other events on our online calendar.

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Fall Art Fairs in ILLINOISouth

Alex Matthews
Events, Fall, What's Happening

Every year, thousands of people make there way to ILLINOISouth to celebrate art at a phenomenal line up of fall art fairs.

Spanning several mediums, each event is unique, showing off the diversity of the art community right here in our back yard and beyond. Whether you’re looking for a painting to hang over the fireplace, photos for the office, cute drawings for the nursery or just a unique gift (did anyone say jewelry?) you can certainly find it. A wide array of activities and entertainment can be found at most of the events, along with a choice selection of food and beverages.

Each fair is different, so be sure to visit all of them! Pair your trip with a visit to a local winery or orchard to enjoy the best our region offers in the fall season.

Midwest Salute to the Arts
4th weekend in August
Moody Park •  Fairview Heights
This premiere juried art show features more than 100 artists
displaying and selling their work in eleven different mediums. The park creates a beautiful, family-friendly environment for this ILLINOISouth treasure, now in it’s 26th year. Children’s activities, music, food and a fun are all a part of this fun festival atmosphere.

Highland Street Art Fest
3rd Saturday in September
Downtown Square • Highland
Artists transform the streets around the historic downtown square into an outdoor art museum as they create fabulous street paintings in chalk. Visitors can enjoy a variety of food and drinks while they make their way through the streets watching the artists work. Their is also a local artist’s expo and live music.

Strange Folk Festival

Last Weekend of September
Community Park • O’Fallon
Strange Folk is well-known for its eclectic showcase of talented indie crafters and designers from all over the country. This festival is a Riverfront Times “Best of St. Louis” and St. Louis Magazine “A-List” award winner for Best Festival in St. Louis. Featuring 150 indie vendors selling affordable handmade, up-cycled, and vintage wares, Strange Folk offers something for everyone. Live bands, DIY activities for kids and adults, food, and a 5k on Sunday morning provide entertainment for guests of all ages.

Art in the Park
2nd Weekend in October
Lindendale Park •  Highland
The vibrant colors of autumn provide the perfect canvas to paint a relaxing weekend filled with fine art, mouthwatering food and superb entertainment. Nearly 70 professional artists display and sell their works of fine art in twelve categories. Children can shop for just $5.00 at a special art gallery of work donated by the artists.

What’s your favorite art event/location in the area? Let us know in the comments below or on Facebook and Twitter.


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