By Emily Klein, Reporter
Crafts, shopping, pageants, car shows, and of course… horseradish, the 32 annual International Horseradish Festival (IHRF) is gearing up for its second year in the city streets of Collinsville, June 7-8.
The IHRF introduces new activities for visitors and reminds horseradish-lovers there’s still time to sign up to volunteer at the fest.
Three blocks of uptown Collinsville will be full of festival activities including over 18 different food vendors with a variety of dishes, live entertainment, craft booths and a family fun area. The Horseradish Festival will span from Hwy 159 to Seminary Street. This year, the Collinsville Chamber of Commerce expects crowds of up to 25,000 people. In 2018, the festival was moved from Woodland Park to the uptown area of Collinsville. The reason, chairman of the festival Dianne Riley said, was because the area of Woodland Park wasn’t allowing the festival to grow. When making the move, the organizers of the festival were nervous, but the switch in location went over well with attendees and the city.
“The city really enjoyed having us up there, because they’re looking to do more and more street festivals, and the people liked it too,” Riley said. “We were at a part where we couldn’t grow at the park anymore. It was a win win for us.”
The festival will bring back the 5K race, which took a hiatus last year, but will return to Woodland Park. The Collinsville Maryville Troy YMCA is hosting the timed run early Saturday morning. The festival will also host its first car show, sponsored by Gateway Classic Cars on Saturday, June 8 at
Woodland Park. The Show and Shine Car Show will have prizes for the first 100 entries including a dash plaque, goody bag, and a chance to win up to $250. Registration before the event is $15, and day-of is $20.
Amongst the slew of activities, one of the more popular ones is the bloody mary contest. The contest hosted by Collinsville Chief of Police Steve Evans is a huge hit every year. Evans is now working to get the uptown bars to participate to have a traveling trophy — to stir up some competition. The chairpeople for the IHRF bloody mary tent make their own bloody mary mix from scratch.
“They ran out of the mix last year — all 52 gallons of it. People were asking for the recipe and they wouldn’t give it out,” Riley said. Apparently, the homemade bloody mary mix is top secret, and only the chairpeople know the recipe.
Little Miss and Mister Horseradish Pageant will be returning this year, and is sponsored by Champagne and Lace Bridal. The pageant will be held on the main stage in uptown Collinsville on June 8 at 10 a.m. Each participant will receive a swag bag, and to participate can sign up on the IHRF website.
The IHRF, with all its popularity, is still actively searching for volunteers. There’s no sign-up deadline, and the festival will take volunteers all the way to the day of the event. There are a number of tents people can volunteer at, from token booths to bloody mary bars.
“It’s always a struggle,” Riley said. We’re always looking for people to work the beer tent, souvenir tent, or any chamber-ran tent. We’ll take help anywhere.”
To find out more information about the International Horseradish Festival, visit www.internationalhorseradishfestival.com and to volunteer, visit https://signup.com/go/qfcfSFN.