Fall Family Time in Southern Illinois

By Misti Sandefur

Do you find yourself spending less time with the ones you love? Take a break and enjoy the company of your family, because you never know what tomorrow might bring.

By now you may be saying, “You’re right, we should have more ‘family time’, but how? Where do we go, what can we do?” I’ll answer that question for you, and from time-to-time I’ll be your guide to events around the United States. In addition, I may also mention activities for indoor & outdoor fun, craft ideas, and anything else that I think will bring fun for your whole family.

I’ll start the first “family time” article off with the fall events around the Southern Illinois area. Furthermore, this first article will list some fun activities you can enjoy with your family too. Let the fun and festivities begin!

Red, yellow and gold. The fall colors here in Southern Illinois have begun, and they can be as spectacular as any in the country are. With your family, get pleasure from the beauty nature brings our way. Together, take a walk in the woods and talk about all the colors around you. Pick up some leaves along the way, bring them home with you, and place them in a scrapbook or family album to cherish the memory you have just made together.

Scavenger hunts make for great indoor and outdoor fun; search fests for the entire family. Have everyone write down some items that can be found outside (or inside if the weather is bad). Put the name of each item into a hat. Shake the hat, and afterwards have everyone draw a piece of paper out of the hat. Make sure there is an even number in the hat so everyone has the same amount. For example, if there are four players, there should be twenty pieces of paper in the hat, thus leaving each player with five pieces of paper.

Once the hat is empty, give everyone a watch, set a time to meet back at the spot you’re standing in, and have everyone search for the items written on their paper. Be sure they keep an eye on the time, because once the time is up, they must return to the meeting spot with the items they found. It will be a race to see who can collect the most items before time runs out.

The winner will be the person who found the most items. If more than one has the same number of items, break the tie by having someone name another item, and at that moment have those who tied go find the item. Whoever finds the item and returns to the meeting spot first will be the winner.

For many, fall is also a time to enjoy the festivals and events around the area. I’ve scoured the Internet, local papers and flyers of Southern Illinois and compiled a list of all the fun you can have on this vibrant fall season. If I missed something, it’s not because I didn’t look!

Do you and your family enjoy arcade games? Mark your calendars for the second annual Pinball and Arcade Supershow starting on September 29 (3:00 p.m.) and ending on September 30 (starts at 11:00 a.m.). With an entry fee of only $10, you can play all the pinball and/or video arcade machines you want. In addition, if you’re really good at pinball you can participate in the pinball tournament.

The Pinball and Arcade Supershow takes place at the Herrin Civic Center. For more information phone 618-751-8458.

Carnival rides and games, hickory-smoked barbeque, a pet parade, games for the kids, karoke, food of all kinds, vendors, a motorcycle show and rides on the Shawnee Queen River Taxi are just a few of the many activities your family can enjoy at the annual Hardin County Fluorspar Festival!

The annual Fluorspar Festival is held on the first weekend in October every year. Just drive into Rosiclare Illinois and the festival is all up and down Main Street. I can assure you there’s something for every member of your family to enjoy, and every year a parade brings the event to an end.

Grab the family and enjoy three days of Johnson County’s Fall Festival! If you or a member of your family can sing well, you have to enter the karaoke contest. In addition to the karaoke contest, there will also be a parade, Mr. and Miss Pageant, carnival rides and much more.

The festival will be held in the Vienna City Park, and it begins on October 6 and ends October 8. For more information phone 618-658-2063.

If you love chili, wrestling, haunted hayrides, pancakes, cake walks, live bands, flea markets, petting zoos and exhibits, you should make a drive to Carrier Mills beginning October 6 for their Catskins Day celebration. The fun and entertainment will last for three days, and believe me when I say, “you’ll have a BLAST!”

To obtain more information and a schedule of each day’s events, pick up the phone and call 618-658-2063. You won’t want to miss this event!

On Saturday, October 7, from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m., your family can take part in Anna’s Leaf, Bark and Seed Hikes. On this hike, you and your family will discover the reason leaves change color, and you’ll also learn how to identify trees as the leaves on them disappear. The hike through nature will take place at the Giant City State Park. This one can be educational for the children.

For more information, call 618-457-4836. One other thing, if you can’t make it on October 7 another hike will take place on October 14 — same time, same place.

Gather up the family on November 11 and head to Anna to honor our veterans. At 2:00 p.m. Anna will host their Veteran’s Day Parade. The parade will start from the city park entrance on Davie Street, and from there it will follow through Main Street to Jefferson Street, and back to the park. For more information, call 618-833-5182. Don’t forget to grab sacks for the kids; they’ll need them to catch any candy thrown toward them during the parade.

Also on Saturday, November 11, round up the gang and get an early start on your Christmas shopping! You and the family will enjoy shopping, as the Merchants’ Christmas Open House gets underway. There will be Christmas music and decorations, baked goodies for everyone, and a whole lot of shopping in the stores of downtown Golconda.

Since the Merchants’ Christmas Open House lasts all day, you can enjoy the Veteran’s Day celebration in Anna and then head to Golconda after the parade.

Beginning Thursday, November 16, loads of fun will be waiting for you under the big tent! No, it’s not the circus, it’s much better! Yes, that’s right, Golconda’s annual Deer Festival; I can smell the barbeque and funnel cakes already!

All the fun and celebrations will begin with a community service on the evening (7:00 p.m.) of November 16. The community service brings gospel music sung by the community’s choir.

On the second day, November 17, beginning at 6:30 p.m., you can enjoy the Baby Photo contest followed by the Little Mister and Miss Pope County Deer Festival Pageant. After the Little Mister and Miss Pageant, the Junior Mister and Miss Pageant will begin.

If you don’t get your fill of pageants on November 17, return to the big tent on the 18th (7:00 p.m.) to see which young woman from Pope County High School is crowned Deer Queen.

Ending the festival will be the annual Deer Festival Street Parade. The parade will begin at 2:00 p.m., and afterward you can buy a pound or two of the best barbaque in town! Yum, yum, I’m hungry just thinking about it.

Honest, you just can’t pass through Main Street in Golconda without stopping-in at the Annual Deer Festival. Lots of fun for the whole family! Load up, head for the “big tent,” and enjoy barbeque, funnel cakes, corn dogs, entertainment, pageants, and a whole lot more!

Get into the holiday spirit and take the young ‘ins to see Santa Clause and get candy on December 2. On this date, Metropolis will host their Christmas Parade. The parade will feature floats, bands, and yes, Santa Clause too.

If you would like to find out more about the Christmas Parade in Metropolis, phone 1-800-949-5740, or send an e-mail to deneal@verizon.net.

From 1:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. on December 9 Golconda will start their annual Christmas House Tour. Participants will depart from the museum for a candlelight walk and Christmas caroling to the courtyard. At the courtyard, everyone will enjoy hot chocolate to warm their bones, cookies to satisfy their need for sweets, and a visit from good ole’ Saint Nick. There will also be a bonfire to keep you warm. Call 618-683-9702 if you’d like additional information.

Would you and your family like to discover how the plants and animals living in the Shawnee National Forest adapt to the winter atmosphere? If, on December 9, you pay a visit to the Giant City State Park Visitor Center in Anna you will discover the facts as you take part in the Wonders of Winter Walk. The walk will take place at 1:00 p.m., and will last until 2:30 p.m.

Not only will you find out how the plants and animals adjust to the winter atmosphere, but you and your crew will also enjoy the scenic views of the Shawnee National Forest. Dress warm and have fun!

That concludes the fall festivities in the Southern Illinois area. Tomorrow I’ll have even more fall fun you and your family can enjoy, and the events listed then will be in Western Kentucky.

If there’s an area you would like me to cover — an area I’ve not done yet — let me know the area by posting your comment and I’ll cover it for you. If you’d rather not mention an area or event in the comment area, then you can send your request or event information to me via fax. My toll-free fax number is 866-653-9818.

Don’t forget, mark your calendars, and make your plans for the entire family. Until tomorrow, may God bless you and yours!

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