Collinsville’s World’s Largest Catsup Bottle Festival will be held in a new location this year.
“The moving was prompted by the ongoing construction on 159 out in front of the (American) Legion,” said self-described “Big Tomato” Mike Gassmann, who leads the catsup bottle’s fan club.
Woodland Park will be the festival’s new home when it takes place from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on July 12. It will feature the car, truck and motorcycle show, food, drinks and art vendors, games, a ketchup tasting, tater tot and hot dog eating contests — both foods will be smothered in ketchup, of course — and the Little Princess Tomato Pageant.
Gassman said organizers will miss “the visibility right there on 159,” but the new location offers slightly more room for all of the festivities.
Last year when volunteers were gearing up for the festival, Larry Eckert of Bethel-Eckert Enterprises Inc. announced that the warehouse property on Illinois 159 is for sale, including the world’s largest catsup bottle.
Eckert said he is working with someone regarding the sale of the warehouse property, but not the bottle-shaped tower.
“Nobody wants the responsibility of the catsup bottle,” Eckert said.
Gassman said he is not aware of any serious interest in purchasing the roadside attraction.
“I don’t know of anything right now,” he said.
The 170-foot former water tower is on the National Register of Historic Places. It was commissioned and built in the late 1940s as a water supply for the Brooks Catsup Co., which closed its Collinsville plant in the early 1960s. The catsup bottle was restored in 1995 with a grassroots funding effort.