Holiday 2019 Tourism Times Newsletter

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Holiday • FREE


TIMES Happy Holidays It’s the most wonderful time of the year, and our Tourism Times is the best way to prepare for Holiday Cheer! Read about Anniversary Light Displays and so much more starting on Page 1!

3 • Vol. XII, Issue III, Holiday 2019


TIMES Celebrate Decades of

Holiday Light Shows

by Pat White

When the switch is thrown at your favorite light display, it’s definitely Holiday time! That first drive or walk through the lights kicks off the season and puts a smile on everyone’s face. These displays have been doing that for decades!

It’s the Golden Anniversary of the Way of Lights!

For 50 years, millions of visitors have been enthralled by the story of the Birth of Christ at the National Shrine of Our Lady of the Snows Way of Lights. The Christmas story is told in a stunning drive featuring more than a million lights, electro art displays and life-size sculptures ending at the Nativity in the Grotto. But that wasn’t always the case.

In 1969, the idea of decorating for Christmas had a twofold purpose: it was a way to keep the groundskeepers busy through the winter, and a holiday display would attract more visitors to the Shrine. Pete Koopman was head groundskeeper when the first Way of Lights opened in 1970. He said, “That first year, we put up about 50,000 lights. All the trees and bushes were really small, so we didn’t even need ladders to string the lights.” The Nativity scene was in the Grotto and the drive through was pretty short. More lights and sculptures including the three Kings on camels, were added over the next several years. Pete kept copies of

the Shrine newsletters that chronicled many of the changes. A 1982 newsletter noted that “over 100,000 twinkling lights” were used on a mile and a half road. The Visitors Center was open every night and a slide program, puppet show and live animal corral had been added to the attractions. In 1985, 80,648 visitors were counted and 15 choirs had entertained guests. By the 20th Anniversary, the lights count was up to 150,000, electro-art sculptures had been added and there was an indoor Christmas Tree Display along with the Puppet Show. The Shrine expected to top the previous year’s counts of almost 56,000 cars and 350,000 visitors. Busloads of peo-

ple on holiday vacations came through, many staying overnight at the Shrine Hotel. Over the years, the Way of Lights has become a tradition not only in the metro-east, but for people who live all over the country. At this 50th Anniversary, Family Tradition is the theme. More than a million lights are used on the tunnel, on bushes, and in the trees (lots of ladders needed now!). Live animals include camel rides, as well as sheep, cows and a donkey. Visitors can drive, walk or take a horse-drawn carriage to experience the story from the Angel Gabriel telling Mary she was to be the mother of God, to Mary and Joseph’s arrival in Bethlehem, to the manger where the Baby was born. continued on page 3

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4387 N. Illinois St., Suite 200 Swansea, Illinois 62226 618-257-1488 Toll free: 800-442-1488

BOARD OF DIRECTORS BOND COUNTY Adam Boudourais Dennis Potthast, Treasurer CLARK COUNTY Norma Calvert Bailey Maulding CLAY COUNTY Clint Green Chris Thompson CLINTON COUNTY Jim Sullivan Sandy Timmermann CRAWFORD COUNTY Lisa Shaeffer Tom Compton CUMBERLAND COUNTY Billie Chambers Tania Craig EDWARDS COUNTY Debbie Fearn Dennis Turpin

Hello From Dan... I wonder if Thomas Edison had any idea when he created that first light bulb some 140+ years ago, the impact it would have on the holiday season? I can’t imagine what this time of year would be like without strands of colored lights draped around our homes, perfectly placed on our trees…and don’t forget, those tangled ones just sitting in a box!

Way of Lights and the 20th Anniversary of the Du Quoin Holiday Lights Fair. On page 12, our Calendar of Events has more holiday activities and light displays throughout our region, so be sure to start planning your weekends and enjoy all the season has to offer.

Not only has light played an integral part in our world, but so have our Veterans! As we celebrate them (Page 4), let’s Yes, it’s that time of year again! The remember the sacrifices they endured, alholiday season is in full swing here lowing us to enjoy this time of year. in ILLINOISouth and what better way to enjoy the season than to cel- I wish you and yours, peace during this ebrate with “lights”! We’ve got some season and all the best in 2020! show-stopping displays that you and Cheers… your family will certainly enjoy. Our main story on Page 1 celebrates the DAN KRANKEOLA 50th Anniversary of The NationPresident/CEO al Shrine of Our Lady of the Snows

FAYETTE COUNTY Mayor Ricky Gottman HAMILTON COUNTY Jerry Prince Monica Tucker JASPER COUNTY Jane Casey Diane Scott LAWRENCE COUNTY Jim Gardner Tom Robinson MADISON COUNTY Rosemarie Brown MARION COUNTY Sonya Germann, Vice Chairman Ben Stratemeyer MONROE COUNTY Clyde Heller Jim Hill PERRY COUNTY Judy Smid Carrie Gilliam RANDOLPH COUNTY Emily Lyons Ronnie White RICHLAND COUNTY Belinda Henton, Secretary Karen Bell ST. CLAIR COUNTY Cathleen Lindauer John West WABASH COUNTY Jim Pfeister Rod Rodriguez WASHINGTON COUNTY Marvin Steinkamp, Chairman Doris Povolish


WAYNE COUNTY Gary Sloan Royce Carter

ILLINOISouth would like to welcome three new recent additions to our team. Elaine Byrd is our new Office Manager, coming into the tourism industry after a long career in the medical field. Elaine is a life-long resident of Freeburg, and loves to spend time with her husband, daughters and grandson. She is an avid traveler, so stepping into this field is a warm welcome – and she looks forward to all the new adventures ahead.

WHITE COUNTY Cindy Conley Kathy Sands


Lexi Bateman uses her creative energy, passion for writing, and detail-oriented eye to develop ILLINOISouth’s website as our new Web Content Specialist. She is a recent graduate of Duke University, where she obtained her Bachelor of Arts in Graphic Design & Animation. Currently, she is working to update ILLINOISouth’s website to reflect the fun and interesting events, restaurants, and attractions that the region has to offer. When she’s not at work, Lexi enjoys going to concerts at local venues, hiking some of ILLINOISouth’s beautiful trails, writing creative fiction, and crocheting at home with her dogs.

CHRISTINE ORR Sales & Marketing Manager

ANDY WATERMAN Communications Manager

DARLENE CHAPMAN Finance Director

TAMBER WADE Graphic Designer/Social Media Specialist

ELAINE BYRD Office Manager/Executive Assistant

LEXI BATEMAN Web Content Specialist


JEREMY DRAKE Distribution Representative


To submit an event for Tourism Times, visit

Casey Has Done it Again Just this fall, the City of Casey officially added another six of the World’s Largest things to their already ENORMOUS collection! The newest attractions are – a twizzle spoon, a working teeter-totter, a functioning barber’s pole, a golf club, a truck key, and a gavel. The gavel currently sits at the Clark County Courthouse in Marshall, but all of the other BIG things will be found throughout Casey – so make sure to visit!

We also welcome intern Allie Ryan to the mix this fall. Allie was born and raised in Granite City, and is currently a senior at McKendree University, majoring in Sports Management & Marketing. She is the president of her sorority Kappa Sigma Tau, and a member of the McKendree Women’s Soccer Team. She has traveled the country playing soccer and played in the Youth World Cup in Sweden! In her off time, Allie is a crafter and has her own business: Allie’s Craft Corner.

Vol. XII, Issue III, Holiday 2019 • 5


from page 1

Inside the Visitors Center choirs perform nightly, beautiful wreaths line the hallway (they are for sale), and wonderfully decorated Christmas trees stimulate everyone’s imagination. The Gift Shop is stocked with a variety of items including the Fontanini Nativity figures, and the Shrine Restaurant offers delectable dishes from appetizers to desserts. The Lego® Bricks Display, which includes a life-size Nativity scene made with Legos®, is located in the Guild Center. The Way of Lights runs November 22 – December 31, 2019 from 5pm – 9pm daily, except Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Outdoor lights stay open. The Lego® Bricks Display is $5/ person, camel rides are $6/person. Military Mondays and Family Night Tuesdays offer discounts for the Lego® Display and Camel Rides (these nights are usually not as crowded). There is a fee for Carriage Rides (for reservations: 314-621-3334). There is no charge for the Way of Lights, but donations are greatly appreciated. A plush animal is given for each $15 donation at the exit. Thanks to Mary Agnes Schlather and Pete for their contribution to this story. Facebook;; 442 S. DeMazenod Dr., Belleville, 618-397-6700

Du Quoin Celebrates 20 Years of Holiday Lights Fair!

The Christmas light display in Du Quoin was the brainchild of the Mayor’s wife, Wanda Rittenaur, in the 1990s. She had seen one in Salt Lake City, Utah, and thought it would be great to do at home. Originally, the display was done in conjunction with the Christmas

Stroll on Main Street downtown. Merchants offered specials and decorated trees were available for sale. The Stroll ended at Francie’s Bed & Breakfast with music and refreshments. The Du Quoin Tourism Commission made the project its own and developed it over the years. In 2000, they wanted a larger space, so they partnered with the Carbondale Tourism Bureau to move the event to the Du Quoin State Fairgrounds. The Bureau had access to resources the Commission needed to put together the lighted displays and other features on a larger scale. When cars drove through that first year, there were lights decorating bushes and trees and five displays: Ferris Wheel, Merry-go-round, Sulkies, farm animals and fair food. Inside the Expo Hall, chili and dessert was available and decorated Christmas trees were sold. By 2004, visits with Santa and a train that children ride around an oval track were added in the Expo Hall, both of which are still big attractions. Hundreds more lights were strung outside and 3,500 cars were counted for an attendance of nearly 9,000 people.

This 20th year, Dan Sidemore will lead the crew to install millions of lights and 30 – 40 displays along a 3-mile drive. Talk about devotion, he has done this nearly every year! Most of the lighted standing displays are two-dimensional and include Christmas trees, gingerbread houses and old-fashioned carolers. Others, however, are three-dimensional and lighted by spotlights. The road takes you around the lakes where many of them are reflected in the water doubling the effect. The Holiday Light Fair is open every night from Thanksgiving – December 30 from 5:30 – 9:30pm. Admission is $10/car or $1/person for commercial carriers and buses. The Expo Center activities take place the first three weekends in December from 6:00 – 9:00pm. In addition to Santa and the train ride, the 20,000 square feet of space is filled with lights, food vendors, artisans, crafters, live entertainment and much more. Plan to enjoy the lights and come in and stay awhile! Du Quoin State Fairgrounds, 655 Executive Dr. Tourism Commission, 618-542-8338; Facebook;

6 • Vol. XII, Issue III, Holiday 2019

Veterans Thank You for Your Service!

by Pat White

Nearly every city and village in ILLINOISouth has a memorial honoring those who have served our country in the military. Often, it’s located at a park as in Germantown, O’Fallon, Vandalia, Olney and Steeleville, and sometimes in a central location like the courthouse or public square. No matter the location, it’s an important reminder that our freedom comes at a price.

Jasper County Flags Fly for Veterans On Nove m b e r 1 1 , n o m a t t e r t h e w e a t h e r, t h e grounds of the Jasper County Courthouse will be covered with more than 500 American flags. All the flags are displayed on individual flagpoles and honor veterans who have a connection to Jasper County. Each one is marked with the name of a member of the Armed Forces and the war in which they fought (from the War of 1812 – present), or honor a POW, a veteran killed or missing in action, or someone on active duty now. Many of the flags were originally draped over a coffin, but new ones are purchased each year to recognize a veteran living or dead. There is even a special group of flags for nurses who served. This year, two married couples have flags dedicated to them (a first!).

The American Legion Post #20 has been collecting and putting up the flags on Veterans Day for the past 20+ years. They also take them down and store them for the next Veterans Day. In addition to the flag display, there is a program beginning at 10:30am featuring a local school band, a guest speaker and a group photo of all the veterans present. Following that is a ham & bean lunch. Even if you don’t know anyone in Jasper County, the display will make your heart sing!

Crosses Honor Fallen Veterans

Da y t o h o n o r Crawford County’s fallen soldiers. Members of the American Legion make the crosses some have photos, all have names. This year, 320+ crosses will be placed on display on November 11. At 11:00 a.m., there will be a Veterans Observance Color Guard and all the names will be read. What a beautiful and moving tribute!

Every national cemetery has rows and rows of white crosses or headstones marking the graves of fallen heroes. Even if no one there is known to you, the sight is a stark reminder of those who made the ultimate sacrifice for all of us. In 1998, the owner of Pulliam Funeral Home in Oblong decided to erect white crosses on the grounds Facebook; 302 E. Main, Oblong; of his business on Veterans 618-592-4221 Pulliam Funeral Home

, Oblong

Jasper County Courthouse, 100 W Jourdan St # 1, Newton American Legion Post #20, 618-783-2622

Courthouse Display,


Vol. XII, Issue III, Holiday 2019 • 7


President Franklin D. Roosevelt signing G.I. Bill, Salem

75 Years of the G.I. Bill On a day in early November, 1943, eight WWI veterans met for dinner at the American Legion Post 128 in Salem, IL. After the meal, they discussed their ideas of what the country should be doing to help the troops who came home after fighting in WWII. They each grabbed napkins and made notes. Since they knew firsthand the challenges for post-war vets, they knew they would need healthcare, educational opportunities, help financing a home, job training, and more.

committee, and proudly watched a year later when President Franklin Roosevelt signed into law the legislation that came to be known as the G.I. Bill of Rights.

In June, 1958, Salem was officially named the Birthplace of the G. I. Bill of Rights. June 22, 2019, was the 75th Anniversary of the actual signing of the Bill; however, the anniversary celebrations began November 4, 2018, to honor that dinner where eight dedicated men began the process to get benefits for their fellow veterans. And that One of table where it the men at the all began now table was former hangs on the wall Illinois Governor John of the American Legion Stelle from McLeansboro. Post 128 in Salem. He g a t h e re d u p a l l t h e napkins and took them to American Legion, 1001 E. Main Washington, D.C. to show St., 618-548-0128; Facebook to American Legion members there. They put together a committee to present their proposal to Congress for a bill that would encompass all their suggestions. Governor Stelle was Chairman of the

8 • Vol. XII, Issue III, Holiday 2019

Since that initial year, Olney’s Christmas Light Display has taken off with great success. People drive for miles to enjoy the sights and sounds of the holiday season. Santa & Mrs. Claus visit the City Park’s Community Building on weekends in December, as well as a live Nativity. Christmas Lights Di

splay, Olney

OLNEY LIGHTS UP CITY PARK! The City of Olney hosted its first annual Christmas Light Display in 1986. What started out as a “thought” quickly became a “reality” when the Public Works Director’s idea of lighting the City Park as “something for the kids” was put into action. The display became a community effort when all the area businesses put collections in their stores so the patrons could donate money for expenses. Many businesses donated lights, extension cords, etc. for the decorations. Everyone was unified in their effort to make Olney a special place during the holiday season. In a period of 10 days, City crews and volunteers strung over 6,000 feet of lights throughout 15 acres on trees, bushes, shelters, pole barns, fences, playground equipment, and water fountains! Children especially enjoyed the displays made and donated by various citizens. Disney Characters, a snowman family of four, Santa and his reindeer, Charlie Brown characters, a gingerbread man and gingerbread house, and a horse and sleigh were set up around various areas of the park. Two favorites promoted Olney’s famous white squirrels. One featured two white squirrels pulling Santa in his sleigh while another large white squirrel, adorned in a hat and scarf, welcomed visitors. It was estimated that over 60,000 people toured the light display from December 10, 1986 until January 5, 1987. The registers showed people visiting from Minnesota, Indiana, Florida, Missouri, Mexico, Georgia, Oregon, Kentucky, Tennessee, and Michigan. Some of the thoughts expressed by the visitors were “beautiful…fantastic…terrific!”

The display is free to the public, but donations are accepted at the exit to help keep the lights running and build an even better display. In 2018, generous donors provided just shy of $29,000 with 18,678 vehicles passing through. For those that did make the several mile trek to Olney for the Christmas Lights and do not feel like driving back home, make sure to check out the newly built Best Western Plus. Complete with 60 pet-friendly rooms and suites, the new hotel offers free internet, a complimentary full breakfast, and a large outdoor patio area complete with a firepit. Thanks to Kelsie Sterchi, Olney City Clerk for this information.

WHAT CAN WE DO NOW? The presents are unwrapped, everyone is stuffed with turkey or ham and all the fixings, and no one can even look at another piece of pie! So, what do you do to entertain family and friends who are still around for the holidays? How about an adventure where success depends on communication and collaboration by all ages? ILLINOISouth has three escape rooms that will have everyone working together to get out. Escape 618 in Belleville is creating a Krampus-themed room during the holidays. This one is best for adults and older kids as Krampus is a mythological character that is part demon, who punishes children who have misbehaved. The cool family option is the room that puts everyone in Detention (just in time for the kids to go back to school!). Each person is chained to a desk, either the teacher’s or students’, and has to figure out how to free themselves. One

and s e t No person is in a closet with bars on the door (oh, yeah!) and gives clues. Facebook;; 102 E. Main St., 618-416-7300

A t C o d e Ru l e r s E s c a p e Room in O’Fallon, groups have a choice to be a crew member in Titanic Time charged with saving the passengers and yourselves or searching for a million dollars in Storage Wars. In both scenarios, children under 16 must be accompanied by an adult and no infants or toddlers are allowed. Facebook; coderulers. com for prices and group information; 7 Eagle Center, 618207-2565

Roaming Riddle in O’Fallon will bring the games to your location. With three escape room options and 20, 30 or 60-minute timeframes, it’s possible to get everyone involved without leaving home. In the Heroes Below, you are a sailor on the USS Escape, “the finest submarine in the United States Fleet,” which is housed in the Escape Room Trailer. You must avoid enemies and guide the sub to safety. Mystery of the Lost Cave involves searching for the Philosopher’s Stone before water fills the cave. The third puzzle is The Psychic Clue Mystery: The Hunt for The Tarot Man where you’ll search through a psychic detective’s paranormal research to catch the Tarot Man. These last two are set up indoors or out and are 20 or 30-minute games. Facebook;; 618-613-4044

NEW CUMBERLAND ROAD GUESTHOUSE IN GREENUP If you’re traveling along Interstate 70 and need a place to spend the night – there is a new, unique experience in Greenup. The Cumberland Road Guesthouse

is a vintage 1930 LINCO Filling Station, which has been completely renovated and nicely decorated with a touch of Urban Industrial, including memorabilia. The Guesthouse can accommodate up to 6 people, and includes WiFi, a Smart TV, two sofas and four recliners. Room rates are extremely reasonable as well – just $80 a night during the week, and $100 a night on the weekends. For more information or to book the Cumberland Road Guesthouse, you can find it on

URBAN AIR OPENS IN FARIVIEW HEIGHTS When you’re out shopping this Holiday season and need a place to take the kiddos to burn off some steam – look no further than Urban Air Adventure Park, opening this fall in Fairview Heights. There are so many things to experience, from virtual reality games to an Adventure Hub that is complete with a Sky Rider Coaster. There’s also climbing walls, a Warrior Course, a Battle Beam, a Tubes Playground, trampolines, dodgeball, and a Slam Dunk Zone. For those who have little ones, there is also an area for children under seven. If you get hungry, not to worry – there is a café on site that offers an array of different foods and beverages. For more information you can visit locations/illinois/ fairview-heights

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Just when you think you can’t afford advertising, ILLINOISouth Tourism steps in with a marketing opportunity that works and fits your budget! Not only will we help plan, design and place advertising or promotions, we’ll help you pay for it too! With the Bureau’s buying power and professional help, every member can benefit from marketing their business or community. How’s that for a deal?

Fairview Heig hts 50 th Anniver sary T h e re’s n o q u e s t i o n t h a t 2019 has been one for the history books in Fairview Heights. The city opened The Rec, a brand new $21 million recreation and fitness facility that boasts countless amenities in the 57,000 square foot complex. On top of that, Fairview Heights celebrated their 50th Anniversary with a number of events planned to celebrate the occasion throughout the year. In order to get the word out about their anniversary, Fairview Heights leaders took full advantage of their partnership with ILLINOISouth. “ W h e n the City of Fair view Heights kicked off celebration of its fiftieth a n n i v e r s a r y, we turned to ILLINOISouth Tourism as a marketing partner,” explained Paul Ellis, Director of Economic Development for the City of Fairview Heights. “It can be daunting to launch one-time community events like a ball or a ‘party in the park’ and strong partners are required to support success.” The City of Fairview Heights spread the word of their 50th Anniversary throughout several different forms of media, but arguably the most impressive example of return on investment came from their social media campaign – which totaled over 2.4 million impressions! That number promises to rise as Fairview Heights wraps up their Anniversary this Holiday season. “ILLINOISouth has the techniques, talent and broad reach to effectively take our message to regional visitors and locals alike. As we close out our fiftieth anniversary, we’ve got another

great run to add to the community’s history of successes,” Ellis added. For more information on the 50th Anniversary of the City of Fairview Heights, visit www.cofh. org/470/50th-Celebration

Vandalia Bicentennial One of the most momentous o c c a s i o n s i n I L L I N O I So u t h this year was the Bicentennial of Vandalia! The City of Vandalia celebrated its 200th Anniversary with a big event June 13th – 16th, whereby they opened up their community to all who wanted to come join in the festivities. In order to get the word out, leaders in Vandalia teamed up with ILLINOISouth to saturate the media market – placing ads in four TV markets, newspapers in three different markets, and a digital media presence as well. “We had not done marketing on this scale before,” explains LaTisha Paslay, Vandalia’s City Administrator. “Working with ILLINOISouth made this largescale advertising package a breeze. I don’t believe there is any way we could have pulled this off on our own.” ILLINOISouth also helped orchestrate ‘Vandalia Night’ at a Gateway Grizzlies baseball game. The turnout was great, the Abe Lincoln bobblehead giveaway was a huge success, and Vandalia Mayor Ricky Gottman even threw out a first pitch. “I believe the efforts turned out wonderfully,” Paslay added. “Everyone who thinks of doing any type of advertising big or small in the area of ILLINOISouth will never be disappointed.”

Fillmore Ramsey 51

Vandalia Lake








Mississippi River

Lambert International Airport

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St. Louis

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3 270




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New Minden


Kaskaskia River

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Silver Creek





Lenzburg 3


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Foster Pond 156


Shiloh St. Louis Airport 64 158 Mascoutah 177


Kaskaskia River



Scott Air Force Base






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70 Smithboro



Fairview Heights Swansea





Mulberry Grove


Highland Silver Lake




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55 140


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111 270



Wood River

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13 127

Galain Creek

Du Quoin 152

AMTRAK LINE Kaskaskia Island


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12 • Vol. XII, Issue III, Holiday 2019

Shop R TAripDpin’

‘til You Drop Old Highway 50 Shopping

While there’s no beating House, or the perfect accessory the convenience of online for any wardrobe at Minerva g i f t s h o p p i n g f o r t h e Boutique. If you’re on the Holidays, nothing hunt for vintage pieces gets you in the – Rocking R Christmas Thrift Store is m o o d a must visit as m o r e well. Other t h a n places worth hopping checking out in the a r e Ca l i c o car and M o o n , shopping Luckenbooth, at a store a n d R o b i n’s to find Nest Antiques. something Ju s t a f e w Minerva Boutique, Lebanon especially miles east from Lebanon is unique for your loved ones. Trenton, which is home to I f y o u h a v e a f r e e Warehouse 300. This vintage Saturday, some of the best marketplace is bound to have shopping experiences in something that catches your ILLINOISouth will come eye. Warehouse 300 features along Route 50, which vintage, rustic, farmhouse and runs through six counties shabby chic home décor. All in our territory. We’ll start the merchandise is provided by our road trip in Lebanon several local artisans who take where there’s a plethora pride in repurposing the past! of awesome shopping By this point, you might e x p e r i e n c e s . Yo u c a n be getting hungry – and one bounce around from shop of the best places to stop for a to shop on Brickstreet bite to eat in Clinton County (West St. Louis Street), all is Breese. Coincidentally, two within walking distance of of the most popular places to one another if the weather eat in Breese are literally right is nice. Pick up a unique piece of art at Tiadaghton

e, Lebanon

Tiadaghton Hous

by Andy Waterman across the street from one another. Wally’s and Dairy King both offer up some of the best hamburgers in ILLINOISouth, of course there are other tasty options to choose from as well. But one thing is for sure, no matter what you’re eating – you should get a Ski Soda to wash it down! Po s s i b l y t h e m o s t interesting stop on this Saturday road trip comes in Odin, about 35 minutes east of Breese. J & S Wholesale will definitely catch your attention as you pull up – there are several large, painted animals sitting in front of the building, everything from dinosaurs to a giraffe. Inside J & S Wholesale there is a vast array of items which constantly change – everything from home goods, to outdoor supplies. Even if you just want to stop and take a picture next to a multi-colored dinosaur, J & S is definitely worthy of a visit. The Rusty Nail,


Vol. XII, Issue III, Holiday 2019 • 13



& Pup Sugar N’ Spice ey Dog Tails, Oln

Not far down the road, you’ll come into Salem which is home to The Rusty Nail; a very popular shop that offers unique antiques, handmade crafts, seasonal décor and primitive items. The folks at the Rusty Nail are also frequently having some type of sale or open house, so you’re sure to find a great deal on a gift that any friend or family member is sure to love.

Wildwoods G

allery, Olney

Squirrels is also home to some great shopping. Stores like Sugar N’ Spice & Puppy Dog Tails and Wildwoods Gallery offer several one-ofa-kind gifts, including White Squirrel memorabilia. If you’re shopping for someone who likes superheroes, comics, video games, board games and more – a stop at Galactic Games and Things is a must. By now, your shopping should With all of the shopping be finished – and the day is you’ve done, now is a good likely done! For contact info, time to take a little break to check visit Santa. A thirty-minute drive down Route 50 from Salem lies Flora, which hosts Christmas in the Park every holiday season. If you brought the kiddos along for your shopping trip, make sure to take them to Charley Brown Park, where you’ll find Santa in the house on the park grounds – and you can also take a train ride on Little Toot Railroad. Make sure to check Flora’s Facebook page for times and dates if you plan on making the stop! If you’re up for another round of shopping after the visit with Santa, pack back up in the car and head east for Olney! The Home of the White

14 • Vol. XII, Issue III, Holiday 2019

Calendar of Events Central

To Submit an event: An event form must be completed and submitted for each event. Visit Event submission deadlines for our printed publications are: Spring/Summer: January 15th, Fall: May 1st, Holiday: August 1st. Event information received after this date may be listed on the website, but is subject to exclusion from the printed publications.

Please keep in mind your events should be “Visitor Friendly” and bring people in from outside your area. Priority is given to events that produce overnight stays.


Because of space limitations, we cannot include local fund-raisers, weekly/monthly activities (Bingo, Bunko, etc.), church picnics or fish frys/weekly dinners. We reserve the right to edit submissions.


November 3 & December 8 John Crouch Giant Flea Market Du Quoin State Fairgrounds 618-542-1515

November 1 Friday Night Wine Down Lasata Wines, Lawrenceville 618-884-1200

November 3, 17, 22; December 8 Belleville Flea Market Belle-Clair Fairgrounds & Expo Center, Belleville 618-235-0666

November 2 Art & Wine Walk Belleville Main Street, Belleville 618-233-2015

November 7 Gifts from the Heart Belle-Clair Fairgrounds & Expo Center, Belleville 618-235-0666

Holiday Craft & Flea Market Wayne County Fairgrounds, Fairfield 618-516-2189 Horse-A-Fair Bethalto 618-623-9574 November 1-3 Illinois Ranch Horse Association Show Du Quoin State Fairgrounds 618-542-1515 November 2-3 39th Annual O’Fallon Panther Band Boosters Art & Craft Fair O’Fallon Township High School, O’Fallon 618-632-3507 Autumn Harvest Festival at Eckert’s Eckert’s Belleville Country Store & Farms, Belleville 618-233-0513

November 8-10, 16-17 LTP Presents “Pinocchio” Centralia Cultural Society, Centralia 618-532-2951 November 9 Antique Brewery Bottle & Jar Show Belle-Clair Fairgrounds & Expo Center, Belleville 618-233-0052 Breese Santa Run Downtown Breese 618-526-4495 District 12 Annual Fall Craft & Vendor Fair Breese 618-526-7128 Holiday Craft/Vendor Expo Grand Manor, Swansea 618-257-1400


November 15-17 Light and Lens Fall Photography Competition and Exhibit Centralia Cultural Society, Centralia 618-532-2951 November 16 WNOI Holiday Bazaar Floyd Henson Jr. High School, Flora 618-662-5646 5K / 1 Mile Turkey Trot Drost Park, Maryville 618-345-7028 November 17 Darmstadt to Gold Fields: One German’s Epic Success in America Monroe County History Museum’s Allscheid-Metzger Gallery, Waterloo 618-939-5008 November 16-17; December 21-22 Flea Market Belle-Clair Fairgrounds & Expo Center, Belleville 618-233-0052 Gingerbread Creation Preview Nichols Community Center, Belleville 618-233-1416 November 20-January 1, 2020 Gingerbread Walk Display Downtown Belleville 618-233-1416 November 21 Mistletoe Merchants The Weingarten, Belleville 618-257-9463

Toast of Marissa Downtown Marissa 866-326-4256 Youth Pheasant Hunt Eldon Hazlet State Park, Carlyle 618-594-2484

November 21-24 Zion UCC Festival of Trees St. George Catholic Church, New Baden 618-588-4135

Woodcarvers Show Belle-Clair Fairgrounds & Expo Center, Belleville 618-235-0666

November 10 Auto Swap Meet Belle-Clair Fairgrounds & Expo Center, Belleville 618-233-0052

November 21 & December 19 Divas’ Night Out Downtown Belleville 618-233-2015

November 2-3; December 7-8 Flea Market St. Clair County Event Center, Belleville 618-830-7552

November 11 Veterans Day Ceremony Belleville Main Street 618-233-6769

November 22 Festival of Trees Old Shimer Printing Building, Robinson 618-546-1557

November 3 A Quilt Turning Monroe County History Museum’s AllscheidMetzger Gallery, Waterloo 618-939-5008

Veterans Day Program on the Square Newton Square, Newton 618-783-2622

Frauenabend/Ladies Night Out Village of Maeystown 618-580-5875

VFW Post #590 Veterans Memorial Flag Display Edwards County Courthouse, Albion 618-445-2303

November 22-23 Victorian Holiday Downtown Lebanon 618-537-8420

Holiday Bazaar Olney City Park Community Building, Olney 618-395-7302 MCHS Dining in History John Wildi Masonic Temple, Highland 618-216-2768 Lohrberg-Mueth Sixth Generation of Quilt Makers will do a Bed Turning Monroe County History Museum’s AllscheidMetzger Gallery, Waterloo 618-939-5008 Turkey Shoot & Meat Raffle Waterloo Sportsman’s Club, Waterloo 618-458-9927

November 14 Cracklin’ Christmas Downtown Pinckneyville 618-357-3243 November 15-16 Olde Tyme Christmas Downtown Vandalia 618-283-2728 November 15-16, 23, 30; December 14 & 21 Santa’s Cottage Downtown Vandalia 618-283-2728


Fort de Chartres Winter Rendezvous & Woodswalk Fort de Chartres, Prairie Du Rocher 618-284-7230


l u f k n a h



Crawford County Retailer’s Holiday Open Houses Downtown Robinson 618-546-1557 November 22-December 31 50th Way of Lights Christmas Display National Shrine of Our Lady of the Snows, Belleville 618-397-6700 November 22-24 Christmas Display Lighting, Christmas Magic Weekend, and Ice Skating Rink Downtown Robinson 618-546-1557 November 22-December 31 Lebanon’s Winter Wonderland Horner Park, Lebanon 618-537-4511 November 23 10th Annual Girls Day Out National Shrine of Our Lady of the Snows, Belleville 618-397-6700 Breakfast with Santa Hardee’s, Robinson 618-546-1557 Holiday Hunt Historic Main Street, Columbia 618-281-4672 Lighted Christmas Parade Downtown Robinson 618-546-1557 Palestine Preservation Projects Society Cookie Walk Fife Opera House, Palestine 618-586-2427 Santa’s Holiday Avenue Parade and Chili Cook-Off Downtown Granite City 618-452-6200 Sip & Shop Bretz Wildlife Lodge & Winery, Carlyle 618-594-8830 Tolka Bros. Christmas Auction Toledo American Legion, Toledo 217-849-3364 November 23-24 Craft Show at the Holiday The Holiday Motel & Restaurant, Olney 618-292-5664

Vol. XII, Issue III, Holiday 2019 • 15






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12 13 14 15 16

17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30

Santa Parade Belleville Optimist, Belleville 618-233-6769

Small Business Saturday November 29; December 13, 20, 23 Breakfast with Santa at Dinnertime Downtown Highland Eckert’s Belleville Country Store & Farms, Belleville 618-654-3721 618-310-1962 Small Business Saturday: Christmas Kick-Off November 29-30 Downtown Breese Basketball Capital Classic 618-526-7868 Lawrenceville High School, Lawrenceville 618-445-2303 Steve Nace Racing Du Quoin State Fairgrounds, Du Quoin 618-542-1515

Gentleman’s Collectibles & Antique Show St. Clair County Event Center, Belleville 618-830-7552

November 29-30; December 1, 8-9, 15-16 Art on the Square Unique Boutique Downtown Belleville 618-233-6769

November 23-24, 30; December 1, 7-8, 14-15, 21-22 Breakfast with Santa Eckert’s Belleville Country Store & Farms, Belleville 618-310-1962

November 29-December 1 39th Annual Art and Craft Fall Fair Belle-Clair Fairgrounds & Expo Center, Belleville 618-233-0949

November 23-25 Nutcracker Ballet with the Belleville School of Ballet Scottish Rite Cathedral, Belleville 618-277-1373 November 24 Glory Pro Wrestling Belle-Clair Fairgrounds & Expo Center, Belleville 618-235-0666 Holiday Open House City of Fairfield 618-842-6116 Mrs. Claus Visits the Chamber Greater Fairfield Area Chamber of Commerce 618-842-6116 November 25 Illinois Trekkers Way of Lights Walk National Shrine of Our Lady of the Snows, Belleville 618-233-6769 November 27 Thanksgiving Eve Dueling Pianos The Weingarten, Belleville 618-257-9463 November 27-December 31 Fantasy of Lights Centralia Foundation Park, Centralia 618-532-3214 November 28 Annual Turkey Trot 5K Run/Walk Edwards County High School, Albion 618-445-2303

November 29-December 22 (Weekends Only) Horse-Drawn Trolley Rides Downtown Belleville 618-233-6769 November 29-December 23 Belleville Christkindlmarkt (German Christmas Market) Downtown Belleville 618-233-6769 November 29-December 24 Santa on the Square Downtown Belleville 618-233-6769 November 29-December 31 Christmas Lights Wonderland American Farm Heritage Museum, Greenville 618-292-4376 November 29-January 1, 2020 Christmas Lights in the Park Carlyle City Park, Carlyle 618-594-5205 November 30 Small Business Saturday Vendor Fair Edwards County Fairgrounds, Albion 618-445-2303 Breakfast with Santa Bretz Wildlife Lodge & Winery, Carlyle 618-594-8830 Come Home for Christmas Downtown Greenville 618-664-1644

Gobble Hobble Fun Run Glik Park, Highland 618-651-1386

Cookie Crumb Trail Downtown Highland 618-654-3721

RCRC Thanksgiving Day Turkey Trot 5K Run/Walk Musgrove Park, Olney 618-395-4880

Festival of Trees and Craft Fair Washington Middle School, Carmi 618-839-6003

November 28-December 30 Holiday Lights Fair Du Quoin State Fairgrounds 618-542-1515 November 28-December 31 Christmas Light Display Olney City Park, Olney 618-395-7302 November 29 Annual Lighted Christmas Parade Downtown Highland 618-654-3721

Fun Hot Cocoa 5K Colyer Coffeehouse, Albion 618-445-2800 GLOW Lighted Holiday Parade Downtown Waterloo 618-939-8600 Hometown Harmony Christmas Concert Hope Christian Church, Columbia 618-939-9089 La Petite Lumiere - Toy Parade Prairie du Rocher 618-284-7308

Christmas Parade and Fireworks Carlyle City Park, Carlyle 618-594-2468

Lighted Christmas Parade Downtown Breese 618-526-7868

Community Lighting of the Fountain Belleville Main Street, Belleville 618-233-6769

Olney Christmas Parade Downtown Olney 618 395-6088

Cut Your Own Christmas Tree Opens at Eckerts in Belleville and Millstadt Eckert’s Belleville Country Store & Farms, Belleville 618-233-0513

Santa at the L & N Train Depot L & N Train Depot, Nashville 618-327-3700

Holiday Lighting Festival Leaverton Park, Palestine 618-586-2222

Small Business Saturday Historic Main Street, Columbia 618-281-4672

Shop Small Saturday Belleville Main Street, Belleville 618-233-2015

White County Christmas Downtown Carmi 618-382-7606 November 30—December 1 Walking in a Winter Waterloo Downtown Waterloo 618-939-8600 November 30; December 1, 7-8, 14-15, 21-22 Gingerbread House Workshop Eckert’s Belleville Country Store & Farms, Belleville 618-233-0513 Christmas in the Barn Rainbow Ranch, Nashville 618-424-7979 November 30; December 7, 13, 22 Live Reindeer on the Public Square Downtown Belleville 618-233-6769 November 30;-December 23 Santa on the Square Downtown Highland 618-654-3721 November 30-December 24 Santa House Uptown Mt. Carmel 618-262-5116 November 30-December 29 Christmas in the Park Charley Brown Park, Flora 618-662-5646 For detailed information on events, please visit our website at

16 • Vol. XII, Issue III, Holiday 2019

November 30-December 31 Festival of Lights Clark County Fairgrounds, Marshall 217-826-8084 Holiday Lights in the Park Northside Park, Breese 618-526-7731

December December 1 La Fete de Noel Prairie du Rocher 618-317-4487 Old Fashioned German Christmas Downtown Maeystown 618-580-5875 Meet Emanuele Fontanini National Shrine of Our Lady of the Snows, Belleville 618-394-6230 Tree of Life The Weingarten, Belleville 618-235-1703

December 5 4th Annual Community Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony Downtown Waterloo 618-939-5300 December 5-6 Master’s Voice Choir Annual Christmas Concert Presbyterian Church, Granite City 618-876-6400 December 5-8 The GCHS Annual Production of “A Christmas Carol” GCHS Theater and Performing Arts, Granite City 618-876-6400 December 5-24 Christmas Trees on Parade Heritage Woods of Flora 618-662-5646 December 6 Lighted Christmas Parade Downtown Mascoutah 618-566-7355

December 1-14 Hometown Christmas Cumberland County 217-849-2000

Bright Night Christmas Parade Historic Main Street, Columbia 618-281-4672 Bronze Expressions Holiday Handbells Concert Centralia Cultural Society, Centralia 618-532-2951 Candy Canes on Main Downtown Casey 217-932-5851 Delta Theta Tau’s Christmas Bazaar Pinckneyville Jr. High School, Pinckneyville Community Christmas Tree Lighting and Santa Comes to Town Village of Neoga 217-849-2000 Cookie Walk & Craft Fair Immanuel Lutheran Church, Waterloo 618-939-6480 Gingerbread 5K Run/Walk Belleville Main Street, Belleville 618-233-1416 Holiday Home Tour Downtown Highland 618-654-3721

December 1-24 Christmas Tree Walk Sumpter Township Library, Toledo 217-849-2000

Hometown Christmas Downtown Lebanon 618-537-8420

December 1-30 Holiday Light Display Coulterville 618-758-2813

Lighted Christmas Parade City of Fairfield 618-842-6116

December 1-30 Christmas in the Park Fariveiw Park, Casey 217-932-2700 December 3 The Wee Heavies Concert The Hettenhausen Center for the Arts at McKendree University, Lebanon 618-537-6863

December 7 2nd Annual Elf Walk Downtown Granite City 618-876-6400

Lunch with Santa Centralia Recreation Complex, Centralia 618-532-3214 Candy Canes on Main Parade Downtown Casey 217-932-2700 Christmas Uptown Festival Uptown Mt. Carmel 618-262-5116 Designer Bag Bingo Turner Hall, Columbia 618-281-4672

Mt. Carmel Christmas Parade Uptown Mt. Carmel 618-262-5116 Old Belleville Historical Luminary Walk Downtown Belleville 618-234-0600 Santa Comes to Town Sumpter Township Library, Toledo 217-849-2000

Christmas Stroll Downtown Centralia 618-532-7623

Soroptimist Club - Breakfast with Santa St. James Lutheran Church, Vandalia 618-283-2728

Friday Night Wine Down Lasata Wines, Lawrenceville 618-884-1200

Christmas Social Turner Hall, Columbia 618-281-5393

Santa Comes to Town Village of Greenup 217-923-3401

West Salem Development Association’s “Breakfast with Santa” West Salem Community Center, West Salem 618-456-3167

Vandalia Statehouse Gala Vandalia Statehouse State Historic Site 618-283-2728 December 6-8 Christmas on the River Chester 618-826-1430 December 6, 13, 20 Holly Jolly Christmas Newton Square, Newton 618-783-7188 Merchant’s Shop Local, Keep Local Downtown Newton 217-246-3878 December 6-8; 13-14 Alfresco Productions presents “Frozen” Alfresco Arts Center, Granite City 618-876-6400 December 6-8; 13-15 Away in the Basement: A Church Basement Ladies Christmas Avon Theater, Breese 618-526-2866

December 7-8 36th Annual Country Christmas Stroll Downtown Okawville 618-243-5694 Dog Show Belle-Clair Fairgrounds & Expo Center, Belleville 618-233-0052

Vol. XII, Issue III, Holiday 2019 • 17


December 7-9 The U.S. Air Force Band of MidAmerica Holiday Concert The Hettenhausen Center for the Arts at McKendree University, Lebanon 618-537-6863 December 7-21 Christmas Classic Movies Granite City Cinema, Granite City 618-876-6400 December 8 A Masterworks Holiday Concert: Christmas Ancient and New Saint Clare Catholic Church, O’Fallon 618-304-9094 Breakfast with Santa and Kids Christmas Party New Baden American Legion Post 321 618-588-3813 Candlelight House Tour Belleville Main Street, Belleville 618-234-0600 Holiday Tour of Homes Downtown Olney 618 395-6088 Millstadt Weihnachtsfest (German Christmas Festival) St. James Parish Center, Millstadt 618-476-1812 December 8-9 The Glory of Christmas St. Matthew United Methodist Church, Belleville 618-397-5994 December 8, 15, 22 Visit with Santa Miller-Fiege House, Columbia 618-241-7144 December 11-12 Las Mananitas National Shrine of Our Lady of the Snows, Belleville 618-397-6700 December 12 “Holiday at the Hoops” Night Edwards County High School, Albion 618-445-2303 Warm & Fizzies Downtown Waterloo 618-939-8600 December 12-15 A Christmas Carol Looking Glass Playhouse, Lebanon 618-537-4962 December 13-14 The Hett and State Street Dance Company co-present: The Nutcracker The Hettenhausen Center for the Arts at McKendree University, Lebanon 618-537-6863

Getting in The Christmas Mood First Baptist Church, O’Fallon 618-632-6223 December 13-15 A Forever Vintage Christmas Market Belle-Clair Fairgrounds & Expo Center, Belleville 618-233-0052 Mistletoe Market St. Clair County Event Center, Belleville 618-830-7552 December 14 Country Christmas Lighted Parade Downtown Albion 618-445-2303 Breakfast with Santa Albion Fire Department, Albion 618-445-3214 Breakfast with Santa Life Center of Cumberland County, Toledo 217-849-2000 Butch’s Polka Monroe County History Museum’s Allscheid-Metzger Gallery, Waterloo 618-939-5008 Christmas Shopping Expo Community Center, Martinsville 217-382-3100 Christmas Spectacular Four Points by Sheraton, Fairview Heights 618-489-2040 Fun-Filled Family Day Downtown Newton 618-783-3399 Gingerbread Cookie Day Belleville Main Street, Belleville 618-233-2015 Hometown Christmas Downtown Martinsville 713-865-0022 Mouse House Toledo Christian Church, Toledo 217-849-2000 Newton Junior Woman’s Club Breakfast with Santa St. Thomas Parish Center, Newton 618-783-2706 Parade of Lights Downtown Martinsville 217-512-9641 Santa Comes to Town Jewett Community Church 217-849-3220 Christmas Open House and Candlelight Tours Vandalia Statehouse State Historic Site, Vandalia 618-283-1161 Winter Wonderland Health & Resource Fair Granite City 618-876-6400 December 14-23 Santa Float Waterloo 618-939-5300 December 14-January 3, 2020 Train Showcase Oliver C. Joseph, Inc, Belleville 618-233-8140

For detailed information on events, please visit our website at

December 15 Christmas Wonders Concert St. Luke’s Church, Belleville 618-235-5600









Cloverton Christmas Tour Martinsville High School, Martinsville 217-232-3232









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Holiday Festival of the Arts Community Arts Center, Centralia 618-532-2951


19 20 21 15 16 17 18 26 27 28 22 23 24 25

Metro East Community Chorale Concert St Paul United Church of Christ, Belleville 618-920-7181

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29 30 31

December 17 Holiday Lighting Contest Village of Maryville 618-345-7028 December 20 National Sangria Holiday Day The Weingarten, Belleville 618-257-9463 December 21 Men on a Mission Fairfield Retail Merchants, Fairfield 618-842-6116 December 26-28 Annual Holiday High School Basketball Tournament Centralia High School, Centralia 618-532-7391 Duster Thomas Hoops Classic Basketball Tournament Historic Thomas Gymnasium, Pinckneyville 618-357-3243 December 26-28, 30 Mater Dei Holiday Tournament Mater Dei Catholic High School, Breese 618-256-7731 December 28 Indoor Movie in the Park - “The Star” Maryville Community Center, Maryville 618-345-7028, ext 2329

December 28-29 Steve Nace Racing Du Quoin State Fairgrounds, Du Quoin 618-542-1515 December 31 La Guiannee at Fort de Chartres Fort de Chartres, Prairie du Rocher 618-284-7230

January January 1, 2020 Annual Polar Bear Plunge East Fork Lake, Olney 618-392-7977 Ringing of the Bells Belleville Public Square 618-233-6769 January 4 Way of Lights Run National Shrine of Our Lady of the Snows, Belleville 618-397-6700 For detailed information on events, please visit our website at


4387 N. Illinois St., Suite 200 Swansea, Illinois 62226

10/19, 50M