Ale Fest | Held every spring
Hosted by the Greater Belleville Chamber of Commerce, Ale Fest showcases a large variety of local, regional and national craft beers. Ale Fest is one of the most popular sampling events in Belleville.
Art on the Square | Held the third weekend in May | Downtown Belleville
Art on the Square is the No. 1 Fine Art Show in the Nation (ranked by Art Fair Source Book). Art on the Square fosters the appreciation of the visual arts to a diverse public by presenting an exhibit and sale of fine art, providing educational and enjoyable workshops for children and promoting the importance of the creative process.
Oktoberfest | Held the third Friday and Saturday in September | Downtown Belleville
Oktoberfest celebrates the German Heritage of the City of Belleville. Just as they do in Germany, the Belleville Oktoberfest opens with the traditional tapping of the “Golden Keg” on Friday. The festival is packed full of entertainment, food and fun for the whole family. Belleville Oktoberfest is a committee formed by local organizations, The Belleville Exchange Club, Sister Cities, The Belleville Shrine Club and many volunteers from local businesses. The money raised from the festival enables them to complete projects within the Belleville community.
Chili Cook-off | Held the first Friday and Saturday in October | Downtown Belleville
Hosted by the Greater Belleville Chamber of Commerce, the annual Chili Cook-off has featured the culinary creations of individuals, local organizations, and area businesses for more than 30 years. What started with just a few vendors on one block of East Main Street in downtown Belleville has now grown to more than 60 vendors and is one of the largest festivals in Belleville.
Be it a flea market you’re looking for, a dog show, carnival or demolition derby, Belle-Clair Fairgrounds has it all! They offer shows and events year-round for your enjoyment at Belle Clair Fairgrounds Park and Exposition Center.
The Cathedral of St. Peter
St. Peter’s Roman Catholic Cathedral is the largest cathedral in Illinois. It’s modeled in the English Gothic style after the Cathedral of Exeter, one of the smaller but more beautiful cathedrals in England. St. Peter’s Cathedral is an excellent place to view an example of Gothic architecture in the St. Louis area. Brochures for self-guided tours can be found at the front entrance.
Eckert’s Country Store and Farms
Eckert’s, the largest family-owned Pick-Your-Own orchard in the U.S., started as a simple roadside stand in 1910. Today, the sixth and seventh generations of the Eckert family oversee the daily operations. Festivals and special events are held throughout the year.
The first laser tag center in the area and the world’s largest! Laser Rock is part of The EDGE Entertainment Center, where you will also find d.s. vespers Sports Pub & Eatery and a large video arcade with 45 flat-screen TVs, two video arcades and five movie theaters.
Opened on Oct. 6, 1921, with four acts of vaudeville and a silent movie, the Lincoln Theatre soon became the premier theatre in all of southern Illinois. Today the theater can be seen much like it was in the 1920s, complete with a pipe organ which an organist still plays before movies on Friday and Saturday nights.
National Shrine of Our Lady of the Snows
Founded in 1958 by Fr. Edwin J. Guild, OMI, the National Shrine of Our Lady of the Snows is one of the largest outdoor shrines in North America. The shrine features many places for visitors to walk along beautifully landscaped pathways with memorials and sculptures or sit and reflect in quite solitude surrounded by dense groves of evergreens and pines. The Lourdes Grotto is a favorite devotional site for visiting pilgrims. The complex includes an apartment community, gift shop, Shrine Restaurant and comfortable accommodations at the Shrine Motel. The annual Way of Lights Christmas display features nearly one million lights creating a scenic fantasy with electro-art sculptures, life-size figures, and displays depicting the Christmas story. The event includes a Christmas tree display and horse-drawn carriage rides.
September 11 Memorial Walkway
(618) 233-6518, Ext. 1245
The September 11 Memorial Walkway of Southern Illinois is dedicated to the many victims and brave respondents of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks against the United States. The Memorial features an actual beam from the Twin Towers and honors victims of the attacks and those who risked their lives to save others. It recognizes the thousands who survived and the remarkable compassion displayed in the aftermath.
The Skyview Drive-In opened on July 8, 1949. It features two screens and each shows a double-feature per evening. The sound has been converted to a broadcast system which the listener may now tune in on his or her own car stereo. Many people have also found it quite convenient to bring a portable stereo and sit out in their lawn chairs in front of their cars.
William & Florence Schmidt Art Center and Sculpture Garden
(800) 222-5131, Ext. 5278
The William and Florence Schmidt Art Center exhibits visual images that inspire, inform, and connect college and community. Exhibits of art and cultural artifacts that meet the highest contemporary aesthetic standards and related cultural programs will expand visual literacy among the Southwestern Illinois College community and the adults and children of Southwestern Illinois.
(618) 257-WINE (9463)
The premier destination setting in the metro area, The Weingarten offers a relaxing, rustic setting located on acres of beautiful countryside. Conveniently located off Illinois Route 15 in Belleville, The Weingarten is a perfect place to gather with friends, enjoy a glass of premium wine or beer and listen to live musical entertainment from the area’s best bands.
For more information, including area history, see page 10-12
To learn more about the history of Belleville, make sure to stop by one of the city’s four museums: The Labor and Industry Museum, Victorian Home Museum, Emma Kunz House Museum and the Gustave Koerner House Museum
Belleville Philharmonic Society
The Belleville Philharmonic Society is the nation’s second oldest symphony orchestra in continuous operation. The orchestra is comprised of talented volunteer musicians.
Masterworks Chorale & Children’s Choruses
The Masterworks Chorale is an ensemble of auditioned singers who enrich the cultural environment of the metro-east with outstanding performances of significant choral literature.
The Chorale sponsors the Masterworks Children’s Chorus which shares the same musical objectives of a disciplined and professional approach to the understanding and appreciation of music through musicianship, quality literature and performance.
Along Main Street is the perfect spot to enjoy one of the many parades throughout the year. Parade season kicks off in March with the Annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade. Other parades include the Memorial Day Parade in May, the Ainad Shriners Circus Parade in June and the Santa Parade held the Friday after Thanksgiving.
For more information on Belleville’s events, attractions or parades, call Belleville Tourism at (800) 677-9255 or visit the Belleville Tourism page at www.bellevillechamber.org.