Metro-East Living

2016 will arrive in Belleville with bells on

You don’t need a big or costly bell to help Belleville ring in 2016. Grab whatever bells you have — dinner bells, cow bells, jingle bells, you get the idea — and be at the Public Square downtown at noon Friday.

“We just want people to show up and help celebrate,” said Sharon Strausbaugh, who works for the city and has helped organize what is now the fourth such event in the history of Belleville. The first was in 1914 when the city celebrated its 100th anniversary with a bell-ringing ceremony on the square. The event was taken up in 2014 for Belleville’s 200th birthday celebration and continued in 2015 to start a new tradition.

One New Year’s Day, 2015, 35 residents — and two dogs — showed up for the bell ringing.

“It’s just a good way for the people to get together to celebrate all the good things that happened in the city over the last year,” Mayor Mark Eckert said after he rang a silver bell the size of a basketball for two minutes. “And it’s a good time to think about the good things we want to see happen in 2015.”

So be there, on the Square, or more specifically, on the northeast quadrant under Curt’s Clock on and be ready to ring some bells at noon Friday to say welcome 2016.

New Year Poker Run

The American Legions in Albers, Beckemeyer, Breese, Germantown and New Baden will present the third annual Veterans Tribute New Year’s Day Poker Run on Friday.

It’s a shotgun start from any of the legions at 11 a.m. The ride will end at the Breese American Legion at 5 p.m. Cash prizes and attendance prizes will be awarded. Open to all vehicles; one for $10, 3 for $25. Proceeds will benefit the Veterans Tribute at Kaskaskia College.

Information: Bob Netemeyer, 618-248-5602, or Eileen Huelsmann, 618-526-7629.

Country music and fireworks

Confederate Railroad will headline a country music and fireworks show, which begins at 5 p.m. Saturday at Belle-Clair Fairgrounds.

The five-member band, which has had 18 charted hits, including its No. 1 song, “Trashy Women,” will perform many of its hits, some David Allan Coe and Johnny Paycheck tribute tunes, and a few brand new songs.

Here’s the lineup:

Miranda Hagan, Boulderdash & Fiddle Players, 5-7:30 p.m.

Confederate Railroad, 7:30-9 p.m.

Frierdich Fireworks Show, 9:15-9:30 p.m. (on the parking lot east of the race track)

Razed on Radio, 9:30-midnight

General admission is $20 in advance or $30 at the door. Limited VIP tickets are $55 in advance or $65 at the door. Includes full dinner and drinks, served by Roy-el Catering, from 5 to 7 p.m. plus VIP table seating and photos with Confederate Railroad.

Advance tickets: Call 866-925-9999 or online at

The dinner menu includes Roy-el house salad, sliced beef with raspberry sauce, chicken florentine, penne pommodora, apple wood roasted red potatoes, Tuscan vegetarian medley, dinner rolls. There also will be four cash bars and concessions.