Regional road trips are all the rage right now. Many folks feel most comfortable hopping in the car with their loved ones and exploring sights that are off the beaten path. Some of those sights may even be in your own backyard! For plenty of regional travel ideas, check-in every Wednesday for a Downstate Illinois Road Trip Roundup on themed topics showcasing several destinations across the southern portion of the state. Since the weather is warming up and some events are moving forward, this week’s blog promotes a slew of unique events that are taking place within the next few weeks!
Springtime in Effingham brings with it the return of one of our favorite annual events, Moccasin Creek Music Festival. Over the years, this outdoor, four-day music festival has become a larger-than-life celebration of the arts. Experience handcrafted food and beverages, arts and crafts vendors, children’s activities, camping and cabin rentals, a plethora of water activities and, of course, incredible live music. Held at the beautiful and serene Lake Sara, this local festival focuses on several genres of “Americana” music: folk, bluegrass, alternative country, roots rock and blues. Bill Passalacqua, Effingham native and founder of Moccasin Creek Festival, has built his life around writing, performing and promoting music with his family – who have a rich musical history. His love and passion for the performing arts shines bright this time, each year. The 2021 line-up includes the following artists: Bruce Robison & Kelly Willis, John Fullbright, Old Salt Union, Chicago Farmer & the Fieldnotes, Chain Station, Greg Klyma Trio, Brennen Leigh, Jaimee Harris Band, Charlie Roth Band, Anne McCue, The Burney Sisters, The Kay Brothers, Mary Battiata & Little Pink, Taylor Steele & the Love Preachers, Steve Clark, Mat Kuhlig and other talented regional musicians.To purchase tickets to the event, held June 17 – 20, visit
moccasincreekfestival.com. Advanced weekend tickets are available for a discounted rate. You can also visit the website to learn more about COVID-19 protocol, accommodations, more information on this year’s acts, a schedule of events and contact information.
One of the best things about ILLINOISouth is the number of unique events that each county and community hosts. While many of these fan-favorite festivities have been postponed or cancelled due to the pandemic over the last year – several of them are planning on making a comeback soon!
We’ll start in our Eastern Region, where the Fit Foodie Triathlon & 5K in Marshall is well-worth a road trip. Start the day at 8 AM by competing in a triathlon, or simply run the 5K at 8:30. After the competition is over, there will be 9 different food trucks as well as axe throwing and more on the courthouse square until 2 PM!
If water activities are more your speed, definitely check out ‘Try Sailing Day’ on Saturday, May 15th at Carlyle Lake. Located in our Central Region, the Carlyle Sailing Association is hosting the FREE event from 10 AM to 3 PM. You will find friendly sailors who can answer your questions and talk about boats. Weather permitting, some skippers will offer boat rides!
In our Western Region, classic car enthusiasts will love the Mother Road Rendezvous at World Wide Technology Raceway in Madison on May 7th and 8th. Located just five minutes from downtown St. Louis, WWT Raceway will offer up a rockin’ good time with a mix of rockabilly bands, thrilling nostalgia drag racing, a traditional pre-’66 hot rod ‘n’ custom car show, pin-up girl contest, Tin Can Alley vintage camper corral, nostalgia vendors, pinstripers on the fabulous midway and a swap meet for old cars and parts.
For more information on other events in ILLINOISouth this spring and summer, make sure to visit illinoisouth.org!
Spring and Summer always bring big things to Metropolis! After having nothing in 2020, events and fun are back in 2021! The first event to return to Metropolis is one of the largest outdoor championships in Southern Illinois; The ASA Mathews Pro/Am Championship held at Mermet Lake Fish and Wildlife area June 24th – 27th, 2021. Members of the Archery Shooters Association, will come to the Metropolis area to compete for the cash prizes and the top title in their categories. This event has brought over 5,000 shooters and spectators to Mermet on an annual basis for over 20 years. New this year will be the Super Team Shoot held on Wednesday June 23rd! For more information or to register for this event please visit: asaarchery.com. The date may be different but the theme is the same!
Metropolis will celebrate all things super at the annual Metropolis Superman Celebration July 30th – August 1st. For over 40 years, the Metropolis Chamber of Commerce, The City of Metropolis and the GMCVB have welcomed countless Superman Fans from around the world to this event. What started as a 1 day event for the local community, has grown over the years to a 3 day event that has attracted the attention of media and people from around the world. This event serves as the primary fundraiser for the Metropolis Chamber of Commerce who coordinates and plans the event. Each year they bring in Superman Celebrities from film, and tv for fans to have the opportunity to meet. Comic Artists famous for their work, come to take part in the Artist Alley attraction where fans can meet and purchase work from their favorite artists. The celebrities and artist both take part in panel discussions open to attendees. There is also the fun of games and entertainment including a carnival and costume contest throughout the weekend. Not only does the Superman Celebration raise money for the Chamber of Commerce there are also several other events held during this time that are fundraisers for other local organizations. The Rotary Club hosts its annual car show and Kiwanis Club holds a Super Bike Trek to raise money for local student scholarships. The United Way hosts a road race to raise money for their organization during the Celebration as well. Many other organizations also hold events that serve as fundraisers to give back to the Metropolis community throughout the year. Plans are still being made for this year’s event. For more information please visit supermancelebration.net or follow the event on Facebook. One thing is for sure: It’s More than a Convention, Better than a Festival, It’s a CELEBRATION!
Spring is here and summer is on its way! Join Mt. Vernon Festivals, Inc. for Market Days 2021 presented by Continental Tire the Americas with additional sponsorship from Byrd Watson Downtown at Veterans Memorial Park in Mt. Vernon, Illinois. Every second Saturday in May, June, July, August & September from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. the community park is transformed into a one-of-a-kind indoor-outdoor flea market & vendor fair spread out for distancing with a paved path that is great for strollers, walkers or wheelchairs. Creative finds abound with great food, flowers, produce, antiques, jewelry, crafts, and more. While you are there, enjoy relaxing at the scenic park lake or let the kids or grandkids burn off some energy at the playground.
The day after the June Market Days Sunday, June 13th, is the fun filled celebration of pets, PawFest! PawFest includes vendor booths, concessions and more. This festival is second to none for a delightful family day that includes your favorite pet! Start the day off with a Great Dane demonstration, then meet the adoptables and stick around for the Blessing of the Pets and pet contests which are sure to bring a smile to your face. Fun contests like longest and shortest ears, best trick, youngest pet, oldest pet, are just a few that will take place on the stage. Check the event listing for more information on the offerings of the day. The Creative Grooming Competition also returns this year so make sure you come and cast your vote for the People’s Choice Award!
Looking to summer, the Aquatic Zoo is opening Memorial Day weekend! Enjoy the lazy river, water slides, diving boards and more in this zoo themed water park! Season passes available starting May 4th at the Mt. Vernon Parks office, 800 South 27th Street in Mt. Vernon (South end of the Rolland Lewis Community Building).
We are so excited about all the spring and summer events planned in Williamson County! We are already off to a great start as we have enjoyed several vendor markets and other spring-themed events over the past few weeks. In the coming weeks there are a number of fun things happening in our area!
The 9th Annual Spring Spectacular held by Blue’s Junk & Primitives is a beloved Southern Illinois event. With over 70 vendors offering antiques, primitives, crafts, and salvaged items, you never know what you may find!
In May, we will see the return of one of Williamson County’s favorite events, HerrinFesta Italiana. While this year’s event is set to look a little different than past festivals, you’ll still be able to enjoy the rich history of Herrin, IL and take part in activities like the annual poker run and bocce tournaments!
Paddlefest hosted by Pyramid Acres Marina is a large event that draws crowds from all over the region! Whether you like to canoe, kayak, paddle board, or peddle boat, Paddlefest is the perfect time for you to enjoy a day on the water at the beautiful Lake of Egypt.
The Magpie Market House Spring Vintage Market is a huge semi-annual event with over 80 vendors, live music, and food trucks! Each year, these markets bring in shoppers from all over Southern Illinois! We are incredibly excited to welcome back two huge events to our area.
The Miss Illinois Scholarship Pageant will be held at the Marion Cultural & Civic Center in June with special events at the Marion Pavilion. Each year we feel so honored to host so many outstanding women from all over Illinois.
The Colt World Series will also be returning to Rent One Park this August. In the past, this tournament has brought teams, families, and spectators from all over the world, so we cannot wait to see what (or who) this year’s brings.
We have a number of other exciting events like Southern Illinois Miners and Canadian Wild games, races at the S.I. Raceway, and more that can be found on our website calendar!