Celebrate Centralia Festival
By Leigh Williams
Food, wine and music will soon fill downtown Centralia for the first of what organizers say they hope to be many festivals to Celebrate Centralia.
The downtown celebration was created through shared ideas from the Centralia Cultural Society, city of Centralia and Centralia Foundation to showcase the park areas in the downtown and put the spotlight on local artisans, crafters and wineries.
During the festival a wine tasting will be held featuring local wineries and craft brewers which include:
• Roundhouse Wine Company, located at 1938 Dogwood Lane in Centralia, is listed as one of the featured wineries for Celebrate Centralia. The local winery lists its mission as “to showcase the best that southern Illinois has to offer by treating visitors to premium handcrafted wines made predominately from locally grown grapes and other fruits.”
Of the many wine varieties offered by Roundhouse Wine Company, the winery lists three specialities on its website including Chambourcin, described as a dry red with intense color, dark fruit flavors and a vanilla finish; Golden Spike, semi-sweet apple with a touch of cinnamon; Little Caboose Red, a fruit forward semi-sweet blend of Chambourcin and Norton grapes.
• Pheasant Hollow Winery, located near the eastern shore of Rend Lake, is celebrating its 13th year in business and features both fruit and table wines. Pheasant Hollow Winery combines its award winning wines with a variety of events each year including murder mystery dinner theater, live music and grape stomping events.
• Vahling Vineyards, located in Stewardson, is a family owned winery offering more than 30 varieties of wines in the categories of champagne, dry wines, fortified wines (port), fruit wines, non-alcoholic, semi-dry, semi-sweet and sweet
• Makraft Brewing Co., located in Centralia, is the creation of Michael Kuhn, who received a degree from the BrewLab School in Sunderland, England. He began his business in 2012 with 14 craft beer recipes and will feature a variety of those at the Celebrate Centralia event.
Admission to the festival is free of charge but those interested can participate in a wine tasting for $10. Participants will receive a “tasting tote” that includes a commemorative 2 oz. tasting glass and 10 tasting tickets. Wines will also be available for purchase by the glass and bottles may be purchased but are not allowed to be opened on festival grounds. In addition, a variety of craft beers will be available for tasting and some beers will be available for purchase on tap.
There will also be a special wine booth where basic information on wines will be provided. The “Wine 101” booth is hosted by a local wine aficionado.
“Centralia Cultural Society and Artists from around the community will display paintings, photography, sculpture and other beautifully crafted wares,” according to information from the city.
Artists and vendors scheduled to attend include:
• Steve Gramlick – Wood Carver
• Wilson’s Gourds
• The Painting Group
• Centralia Humane Society with various artwork
• On the Front Porch
• Light and Lens Group from the Cultural Society
• Palette and Brush Group from the Cultural Society
• Greenball Freight
• Sheils Studio
• Indulgence Allowed
• Glass on Fire
• Bauble Babes
Musicians scheduled to appear include:
• Gospel Performances
• Carlo Van Ulft – Carillon
• Tom Baker’s Mardi Gras Brass Band
• Bronze Expression Handbell Ensemble
• Little Egypt Brass Band
• Centralia Cultural Society Little Theatre Performers – Hairspray
• Stacey Kelley, Kevin Gamblin, & Jamie Nattier
The event will be located on Broadway between the streets of North Poplar and North Elm and surrounding the area of the Carillon. Parking attendants will be available to assist with parking and area businesses have agreed to make their spaces available.