ILLINOISouth's Best and Brightest of 2019
It's the start of a new year, which means it's the perfect time to reflect on all the fun we've had in 2019! In the past year, ILLINOISouth has seen new businesses and attractions, fun events and exciting initiatives in each of our 22 counties. Before we take a look at what's to come in 2020, let's pay homage to our favorite ILLINOISouth things of 2019.
Here's what we loved this past year at ILLINOISouth:
This year, ILLINOISouth team members Christine and Andy set out to find the region's best, and most overlooked, hidden treasures. They searched far and wide for the sweetest pies, the juiciest burgers, the creamiest ice cream and the friendliest farm animals. And— they found them! In communities like Pocahontas, Du Quoin and Newton, Christine and Andy uncovered a world of good eats and big laughs.
Watch the best of Christine and Andy's Hidden Gems adventures here, and check out the full series on ILLINIOSouth's YouTube channel.
In between his Hidden Gems adventures, Andy also spent time traveling the region for yet another video series. In his Community Spotlight series, Andy highlighted unique events, attractions and shops in ILLINOISouth's great cities. He toured Fairfield, browsed Nashville and shopped Robinson before heading on to other cities across our 22 counties.
Learn more about ILLINOISouth's territory by checking out the Community Spotlight videos on YouTube.
In 2019, the Taylor, Boyette and Shoemaker families updated and reopened a 1895 Victorian home in Fairfield, IL. Now dubbed The Victorian on Main, this bed and breakfast welcomes travelers from ILLINOISouth and beyond to stay in historic charm.
The restored home features a parlor, turret, pocket doors and custom woodwork. Inside the home, you'll also find three original fireplaces and a unique keyhole stained glass window. The building now also includes a whole-house water filtration system and a wrap-around porch for enjoying those quiet summer nights.
The Victorian on Main offers 6 total rooms. Each of them are outfitted with luxury sheets, toiletries, complementary snacks, flat screen TVs and free Wifi. The families even serve breakfast on mornings in the grand dining room!
Visit The Victorian on Main Bed & Breakfast's website to learn more about the home's history and book your stay!
Granite City gained a brewery in 2019! Owned by the Callis family and operated alongside the Lascelles Restaurant, Clancy's Brewery opened on Neidringhaus Avenue in June. The brewery brings small batch and locally crafted beers to communities in and around Granite City, IL.
Stop by Clancy's for delicious brews, cocktail specials and rich wines. Their selection is sure to please everyone in your group! Clancy's also offers space for parties and other gatherings. The knowledgeable staff is here to help you select the perfect beverage, served with a side of warm hospitality.
Vandalia, IL turned 200 in 2019! The City of Vandalia celebrated its bicentennial on June 13-16 with a plethora of activities for the whole family! Visitors to the celebration enjoyed free public movies, a parade, a pageant, historic displays, walking tours, art shows, local vendors, live performances and more. And, local businesses participated in the fun with sidewalk sales, decorated storefronts and handmade floats!
Vandalia is known for being the State of Illinois' second capital after Kaskaskia was deemed unsuitable due to flood risks.
2019 saw another anniversary celebration, this time in Fairview Heights. On October 5, Fairview Heights celebrated its 50th birthday with a ball at Four Points by Sheraton. The ball included a cocktail hour, music and dining. All around the community, nearly 50 independent businesses and organizations cut their own anniversary cakes in celebration.
For 50 years, Fairview Heights has been one of ILLINOISouth's shopping hubs, hosting small and independent businesses alongside the only mall in our 22 counties — St. Clair Square Mall.
Did you have fun in ILLINOISouth during 2019? Did you discover a new shop, restaurant or entertainment venue? We'd love to hear what made your year a happy one in ILLINOISouth! Let us know what your favorite 2019 event was in the comments below.