Arts & Music
Each spring and fall, Carbondale Community Arts sponsors a series of noon concerts on the town square. As the weather heats up in early summer, noon concerts are replaced by a weekly Sunset Concert Series. Genres range from blues to rock, jazz, reggae, folk and more. Also, during the three weeks leading into Independence Day, the Southern Illinois Music Festival hosts classical, jazz, and arts events at venues throughout the region.
During the school year, Southern Illinois University’s historic Shryock Auditorium hosts a number of performing artists, including music, dance and theatre. Larger touring acts are scheduled at the SIU Arena. The University’s theatre department also hosts student productions year-round at McLeod Theatre.
In addition to all of this, there is a vibrant local music and arts scene at private venues in Carbondale and surrounding area. Schedules are printed weekly in the local newspaper.
Sports & Recreation
1. Spectator Sports:
It doesn’t take long for newcomers to the region to don Saluki maroon and become avid Southern Illinois University sports fans. What’s a Saluki, you ask? It’s an Egyptian hunting dog, and the mascot of SIU.
The Saluki football team reigns as conference champions for the last three consecutive seasons, and were contenders in the national playoffs. The SIU men’s basketball team has been invited to the NCAA tournament, and they were Missouri Valley Conference champions in 2006. One preseason ranking put them in 10th place for the 2006-07 season.
Nearby Marion, Illinois is the home of the Southern Illinois Miners baseball team.
2. Outdoor Recreation:
Golf is very popular in Southern Illinois. There are dozens of courses throughout the region, and eight right in the Carbondale/Marion area.
Boating, fishing, and water sports are very popular year-round in Southern Illinois. Hotspots include Crab Orchard Lake in Crab Orchard National Wildlife Refuge, Kincaid Lake, located west of Murphysboro, and Cedar Lake, south of Carbondale.
Hiking, camping and rock-climbing are available in any of the area parks, such as Giant City State Park, Fern Clyffe State Park, Garden of the Gods, the Shawnee National Forest, and Cache River State Natural Area. Bicycling is sweet on the Tunnel Hill Trail, a converted rail-bed. Horseback riding is also popular on some trails, where allowed.
The running community trains all winter for the River to River Relay, which is held each April. This race requires teams of eight runners who ramble across 80 miles of daunting hills from the Mississippi River to the Ohio River.
Most schools in the area offer athletic programs that begin participating in inter-school competition by the middle school grades. High schools offer competitive sports in football, basketball, baseball, cross country, soccer, cheerleading and more.
Competitive swimming, gymnastics, and dance are a few of the many private athletic activities available to children in the Southern Illinois area. Soccer is especially popular, and there are city sponsored leagues and competitive traveling teams.
Vineyards, Orchards & Agriculture
Southern Illinois Wine Trail website
The fastest growing sector of Illinois tourism is travel to Southern Illinois wineries. Vintners here have resurrected a long-forgotten French grape to produce award-winning Chambourcin, a dry red wine. Vignoles also grow well here, producing a light, slightly sweet white wine of respectable quality and taste.
Part of the allure of Southern Illinois vineyards is the chance to leave work behind on a weekend afternoon and drive the area’s scenic roads on your way to one of its many wineries. These small family-run businesses often host festivals, weddings, and other special events. The Shawnee Hills Wine Trail and other wineries are located within a short drive of Carbondale.
Agriculture has long been part of the Southern Illinois economy and tradition. Corn and soybeans are grown here, and Carbondale hosts a Farmer’s Market each Saturday morning from April 1 – November 1. Locals flock to the event for fresh berries, peppers, eggplant, squash, herbs, flowers and more. Some organic options are available. If you’re an exotic mushroom lover, the hardwood forests of the Shawnee Hills serve as backdrop to the Mid-American Morel Festival held each year in mid-April.
Apples and Peaches are seasonal favorites. In July, many families make it a tradition to visit orchards to pick up a ½ bushel of peaches and enjoy fresh peach cobbler and ice cream. The community of Cobden hosts a Peach Festival in mid-August. September and October bring fresh apples to the market, and many orchards arrange elaborate autumn displays for kids to enjoy with fun activities like hayrides and you-pick pumpkin patches. Murphysboro holds its traditional Apple Festival each year in mid-September.
The Southern Illinois and Mississippi River regions bear rich history. From Native American burial grounds at Cahokia Mounds to French colonial settlements along the big river to the Underground Railroad, you can find it all here. This history is commemorated at special events throughout the year.
The tiny town of Kaskaski Island each year holds a Independence Day Celebration that features a respectable community orchestra, U.S military veterans and color guard, French colonial military re-enactors, and a picnic lunch complete with homemade chocolate chip cookies. But perhaps most fascinating is the historic Catholic Church that was established over 400 years ago, and a large, well-preserved brass bell that was given to the United States of America by France’s King Louis XIV several years before we received Philadelphia’s famous Liberty Bell. Who knew?
Throughout the year, Fort Massac State Park in Metropolis hosts Living History Weekends. The same park holds a re-enactment of the French & Indian War, featuring life during 1750-1765.
Single-family new house construction building permits:
- 2005: 74 buildings, average cost: $103,900
- 2006: 38 buildings, average cost: $116,140
- 2007: 28 buildings, average cost: $142,900
- 2008: 17 buildings, average cost: $111,750
- 2009: 84 buildings, average cost: $95,600
- 2010: 10 buildings, average cost: $132,300
- 2011: 12 buildings, average cost: $222,450
Leave the traffic and stress behind, and move to beautiful Southern Illinois. Unlike the rest of the state’s rolling prairie, much of Southern Illinois is hilly, rocky, and forested. Similar to the Ozarks, the Shawnee Hills are home to breathtaking scenic roads, forests, wildlife refuges, natural areas, lakes, and parks. Nestled in the rich alluvial plains between the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers, several climate zones converge to create an astonishing array of flora and fauna found only in this unique triangle known as the Land Between the Rivers. Vineyards, orchards, cornfields, and barns dot the countryside. In spring, native dogwoods, redbuds, and wildflowers bloom under the forest canopy. In fall sugar maples put on a colorful autumn show. Relax and enjoy the view.
From the obscure to the sublime, you can find just about any outdoor activity imaginable in Southern Illinois. Many of our doctors and their spouses seek renewal by perfecting the art of gardening, biking, hiking, camping, horseback riding, hunting, fishing, boating, and more. The Tunnel Hill Trail is a 25-mile refurbished railroad bed that hikers, bicyclists, and runners can enjoy year-round. One of Southern Illinois’ signature events, the River-2-River Relay, requires teams of eight to run across 80 miles of Shawnee Hills. This area also features over a dozen wineries that offer regular tastings and wine trail events.
Areas of Interest:
Local School Websites and Phone Numbers
State-of-the-art Carbondale Community High School, completed in 2002, sits at the apex of the “Super-block,” a massive complex in which lies a new middle school, an updated elementary school, and extensive recreational fields. Elementary and high schools in south Carbondale, Carterville, and Herrin claim high statewide ratings and a diverse student base. Contact information for schools are listed below.
Brehm Preparatory School
- Private School: Learning Disabilities Grades 6-12
- (618) 457-0371
Carbondale Community High School District #165
Carbondale Elementary School District #95
Carbondale New School
Convenant Christian School
- Private School: Grades K-12
- (618) 529-3733
Giant City Consolidated School District #130
- Public School: Grades K-8
- (618) 457-5391
Unity Point Community Consolidated School District #140
Carterville Community Unit School District #5
Victory Christian Academy
- Private School
- (618) 985-6912
Our Lady of Mt. Carmel
- Private School
Herrin CUSD 4 Elementary School
Herrin Jr. High School
- Public School
Herrin High School
Marion Unit School District #2
- Private school: Grades K-1
- (618) 997-7870
Murphysboro Community School District #186
Immanuel Evangelical Luthern School
- Private school
- (618) 687-3917
Murphysboro Christian Academy
St. Andrews Catholic School