It’s mid-September, which means it’s time start the Oktoberfests and other food-and-beverage festivals in Illinois. Soon we’ll be seeing more craft fairs, and then it’ll be the dark months of winter. Eat, drink and be merry while we may with these five ideas for weekend frivolity.
Eat and drink
Italian Fest and Oktoberfest organizers have carefully crafted more to do at their respective events than just eat and drink, but the eating and drinking options are oh so good...
▪ Belleville Oktoberfest opened Friday and continues from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Saturday at the Public Square. There’s a beer tent a few hundred feet long. Food options skew toward German fare, of course, with bratwurst and strudel and potato pancakes; but you’ll also find gyros and nachos among the food vendors. There is also live entertainment, with the USAF Band of Mid-America performing on the East Main Street Community Stage from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday. Also Saturday is a car show, wiener dog race and a corn hole tournament.
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▪ Edwardsville Oktoberfest Festival is from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday at the City Park near the Edwardsville Public Library at 101 S. Buchanan. It’s free to listen to live music; there will be more than 20 beers, food, and a 50/50 raffle.
▪ Collinsville’s Italian Fest opened Friday and continues Saturday, starting off bright and early with a 5K Run/Walk registration at 6:30 a.m., and kicks off the Bocce Ball Tournament at 10 a.m. For the rest of the day enjoy live music and food — mostly Italian in nature, like stuffed pasta shells and cannoli, but also wings and kettle corn.
Count to 8
The Monroe County Fairgrounds in Waterloo again hosts a Championship Bull Riding event, this one at 7:30 p.m. Saturday. See the flier at the Optimist Club homepage at www.waterlooiloptimist.org for more information. You can learn more about CBR at www.cbrbull.com, where you can check out a photo of reining 2016 CBR Horizon Series Tour Champion Koby Radley — who needs help holding the giant prize check because his left arm is in a sling.
Food and drink will be available at the fairgrounds, and music by Next Best Thing. Tickets are $20 at the gate (children 10 and under are free with an adult) and proceeds benefit the Waterloo Illinois Optimist Club.
If you missed the Pere Marquette Rendezvous last weekend, you can still get to Frontier Days in Caseyville from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m Saturday and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday at the Caseyville Park, 40 W. Reynolds St. The re-enactor encampment is modeled after a pre-1840s meet-up of trappers, where they would exchange goods and socialize. Events include throwing tomahawks and frying pans, and playing games popular at the time and place. Food and other goods are available for purchase; admission is free.
Tractors and rides
The Okawville Fair and Wheat Festival at the town’s Community Park, 511 S. Hanover, continues starting at 11 a.m. Saturday with carnival rides, food and entertainment. The antique tractor pull is at 2 p.m.; music starts at 8 p.m. On Sunday, concessions start at 11 a.m. and the parade is at 2 p.m.
The three Rs
Amid all the music and general mayhem of the weekend, an opportunity to exercise the three Rs — Reduce, Reuse and Recycle — arrives as well. From 9 a.m. to noon on Saturday, bring your electronic equipment and metal items to St. Paul United Church of Christ’s parking lot off C Street in Belleville between First and Second streets. They’ll take appliances, furniture, decorations, car batteries, rechargeable batters, flat screen LCD monitors and televisions. You know, all the stuff that’s typically hard to recycle. They’ll also have paper shredding.