If you’re a current subscriber, log in below. If you would like to subscribe, please click the subscribe tab above.
Username and Password Help
Please enter your email and we will send your username and password to you.
By Deese “Dee” Ursery
Glen Carbon celebrated its 131st homecoming with two-nights of fun, entertainment and food over Father’s Day weekend.
The June 16-17 event had about 26 vendors offering everything from food to information on a variety of resources. It also featured a parade, live music, carnival rides and a variety of different foods. Throughout the event thousands of people of all ages were in attendance.
Dray Wimberly, a volunteer from the Community Events Committee said the event and others like it help to give the village its small-town character. Wimberly said she suggested the theme, “There’s No Place Like Home” to the committee and they voted for it.
“I put it out there and they liked it,” Wimberly said. “I was super proud when they voted it in.”
The homecoming featured games and rides, both for small children and teenagers. There were about 10 food trucks offering everything from Mexican to Mediterranean. On the last night of the festivities, the homecoming finished off with a fireworks show.
Live bands entertained throughout the event as attendees danced in the street. Dirty Muggs played on Friday while Johnny and the Wild Hungarians played Saturday evening.
Mayor Bob Marcus said the events like these are important because they bring the residents and the business community together. He said the event was put together by the Community Events Committee and the village staff.
“We try and celebrate the local businesses,” Marcus said. “And so we try to bring all our local businesses together and create opportunities for vendors who might not have been here before.”
Marcus said that the food trucks have a huge following and their fans travel, so that brings more visitors to the homecoming.
“We think Glen Carbon is a great place to live, work and raise a family,” Marcus said. “We put this homecoming on for not only Glen Carbon, but for the entire community to come out and see the village and experience it. We support everybody and every community.”
Ben Maliszewski, former mayor and current trustee, gave a brief history of what is now called the Glen Carbon Homecoming.
Maliszewski said the homecoming started out as a picnic. He said after gaining popularity, a survey was polled to see what the people wanted to call it and they decided on GlenFest. He said after the purchase of Miner Park in the 60s or 70s, GlenFest was moved into the park and a bandstand was later built. GlenFest was moved to Main Street around 2007.
“It’s back to where it originally started,” Maliszewski said. “The difference is Main Street is a little busier now than it was back in the early 60s, but it’s working out.”
The second day of the event started with the Covered Bridge 5K Run/Fun Run at 8 a.m. and then the evening festivities kicked off at 5 p.m. with a parade on Main Street. Grand marshal of the parade was Debra Pitts, a longtime volunteer.
“I know the committee, in the past, had a tough time trying to figure out who was going to be the grand marshal,” Maliszewski said. “This year the grand marshal was voted on by the residents and the criteria was that they wanted somebody who volunteers.”
Maliszewski said it looks like there were more vendors out this year and he believes that is due, in part to the persistence of the committee staying in contact with vendors and the talent to make sure everything ran as smooth as possible.
“What we’re doing here is we’re bringing the whole community together,” Maliszewski said. “This gives an opportunity for those new residents or those residents who aren’t familiar with the original Glen Carbon to come down and see what it looks like.”