Make your trip to Williamson County an annual affair! Our annual events are so spectacular, they will keep you coming back, year after year. We invite you to participate in a community tradition at one of our entertainment venues.
Polar Bear Ride January 1, 2020
Ring in the New Year and join The Polar Bear Ride! Arrive at 10:30 am, then kickstands are up and departure is at 11:30 am. However, the ride route and length will be determined by the weather. Black Diamond Harley-Davidson hosts this event.
Ever After Bridal Show January 5, 2020
Buy a dress, pick out flowers, and find a photographer all at one amazing event. The Bridal Show is presented by River Radio and is held at The Pavilion in Marion.
Hospice Gala January 25, 2020
Benefit gala for Hospice of Southern Illinois. Dress in your themed attire and enjoy a night to remember! Held at The Pavilion in Marion.
Bald Eagle Tours January 25-26, February 1-2, 2020
Three guided tours daily into the closed portion of the Crab Orchard National Wildlife Refuge to view active bald eagles and their nests. Reservations required.
Southern Illinois Boat & Fishing Show February 7-9, 2020
Boat and tackle dealers from all over the Midwest show off their merchandise. Daily fishing seminars, live entertainment, door prizes and more family-friendly fun. Parking and admission are free at The Pavilion in Marion.
Fly with the Eagles Half Marathon February 8, 2020
It’s not often you get to feel like you’re flying. This flat, fast course winds through the stunning Crab Orchard National Wildlife Refuge, including areas typically reserved for eagles alone. The course features pavement sections and trips down back roads.
Kegan Johns Memorial 5K & 10K Run/Walk March 1, 2020
Benefiting Williamson County Traffic Safety Days. Education and communication are key. Talk to your young people about the dangers of drinking, impaired and distracted driving. We can all make a difference. Keep yourself and others safe!
Shamrock Hot Chocolate 5K March 15, 2020
Kick off St. Patrick’s Day weekend with a 5K and help support the American Cancer Society and Relay for Life. There will be multiple flavors of hot chocolate as well as other chocolate treats post race!
Leaps and Bounds Kidsignment March 19-21, 2020
This semi-annual seasonal sales event offers great clothing for the whole family. Buy and sell gently worn children’s clothing, toys, baby beds, maternity clothes, shoes, boots, children’s furniture, games, and much more. This event is held at The Pavilion in Marion.
Southern Illinois Wellness Expo March 23, 2019 (2020 TBD)
Held at John A. Logan College, this Expo teaches visitors about the health issues that affect day-to-day life and hopes to encourage happier and healthier lifestyles. Tickets are $10 for adults, and children 17 and under are free. There are a variety of health screenings, exhibits, and breakout sessions.
5K Run As One April 6, 2019 (2020 TBD)
Suicide prevention is VA’s top clinical priority. As such, Marion VA is partnering with Team Red, White and Blue (RWB) to bring awareness to suicide prevention as well as connect our community with helpful resources. The 5K Run/Walk will take place on the campus of the VA Medical Center.
Illinois State Checker Tournament April 6-7, 2019 (2020 TBD)
Entry is $10 and can be paid at Registration. Entrants will be divided into Class A (expert), Class B (minor), Class C (beginners). Please bring your own board and checkers to Mackie’s Pizza in Marion.
Gem & Mineral Show April 4-5, 2020
Southern Illinois Earth Science Club hosts the annual show to include several types of exhibits featuring minerals, fossils, Indian artifacts, gemstones, jewelry, shells and lapidary work. Along with exhibits, there will be silent auctions and door prizes. This event is held at The Pavilion in Marion.
River-to-River Relay April 18, 2020
This popular, 80-mile relay race hosts 240 teams from around the country compete. The 8 members of each team run three cycles of 3.3 miles. The course starts near the Mississippi River by Wolf Lake and continues over 80 hilly and curvy miles of 2-lane highways to Golconda on the banks of the Ohio River.
Whirlwind Soccer Tournament May 1-3, 2020
Recreational league tournament with over 100 teams competing. There are games for children of all ages, face painting, concessions, and many more activities so to keep everyone busy and having fun. This event is held at the Marion Soccer Complex.
Paddle Fest May 16, 2020
Bring your kayak, canoe, paddle board or pedal boat and enjoy a day of water sports with friends and family on beautiful Lake of Egypt. Over $800 in prizes have been given away to participants. Register at Pyramid Acres Marina.
VA2K Walk & Roll May 16, 2019 (2020 TBD)
Each May, VA employees, Veterans, and community members at various locations across the country come together to help support homeless Veterans and active lifestyles. VA2K is a 1.2-mile walk as well as a food and clothing drive for Veterans in need. Open to individuals of all fitness levels and can be done over a lunch break.
HerrinFesta Italiana May 17-25, 2020
Voted Illinois’ Best Event or Festival in 2014, this week-long celebration of Italian heritage includes a grape stomp, “Bigga Nose” contest, a carnival, and concerts by many world-famous recording artists. Downtown Herrin is home to this event.
Miss Illinois Scholarship Pageant June 17-20, 2020
This pageant is a part of the Miss America organization. During this scholarship pageant, women from all over Illinois will compete for a scholarship and a chance to enter the Miss America pageant. Marion Cultural and Civic Center and The Pavilion host this event.
Highbanks Hustle June 18-20, 2020
Now in its 8th season and becoming the highest paying micro sprint race of the year, this year’s edition will pay out a whopping $10,000 to the #HBH20 champion! The winner will walk away with his fair share and the top eight finishers will score at least $1,000. Southern Illinois Raceway is home to this event.
Terry Sprague Memorial Race July 23-25, 2020
The biggest non-wing outlaw micro sprint race of the year will take place on the high banks of Southern Illinois Raceway! The event will kick off with an open practice on Thursday. On Friday, the preliminary night will take place. The top 6 from Friday night will lock into the dash and A-Main on Saturday night.
Williamson County Fair August 4-10, 2019 (2020 TBD)
Thrill the young and old alike with a trip to the Demo Derby! Local residents bring their arts and crafts for cash prizes and of course, bragging rights with the ribbons. Horsemen have enjoyed harness races on the same track for over a hundred years. Western, Gaited, and Speed horse shows, for instance, bring in lots of people. Williamson County Fairgrounds is home to this event.
Genealogy Society of Southern Illinois Family History Conference August 10, 2019 (2020 TBD)
This book fair/vendor event hosts multiple keynote speakers and breakout sessions on genealogy and new technologies to help find your family history. This event is held at John A. Logan College.
Carterville Free Fair September 11-13, 2020
This annual event presented by the Carterville Lions/Lioness Club is held the first weekend following Labor Day and includes a Twilight 5K Glow Run/Walk and Run to Remember, parade, carnival, games, free entertainment, food and much more! Come see the Ping-Pong Avalanche and the big wheel races. This event is held at Cannon Park in Carterville.
Crab Orchard Fall Market September 12, 2020
Crab Orchard Fall Market is a gathering of talented vendors who create unique items, collecting, repurposing and selling their products from furniture, clothing, jewelry, food and more!
Veterans on Parade September 12, 2020
Annual parade held on the weekend of Patriots Day to honor the service and sacrifice of all veterans, past, and present. Military family members can carry a photograph of a loved one who would have marched. This event begins at the Marion Junior High and ends at Washington School.
Heartland Pet Fest September 12, 2020
An event for all pet lovers and their pets that promote education, innovations, and information about pets and pet products. Proceeds will benefit Wilderwood Service Dogs, a 501c3 organization that trains service dogs for children with special needs. This event is held at the Pavilion in Marion.
More September Events
Wonder Water Reunion September 24-27, 2020
The annual celebration of the springs; which are said to certainly have healing powers, brings people from all over the region to this great city. This festival includes a pageant, live entertainment, carnival, parade and much more. Dippy Motsinger Park is the carnival location.
Magpie Market Days Fall Vintage Market September 25-27, 2020
Come shop this annual event featuring over 80 booths from all over the country. This event showcases the best in vintage items, architectural salvage, handmade and mobile boutiques. A portion of ALL ticket sales go to a local animal rescue. Find this event at Magpie Market House.
Southern Illinois Hunting & Fishing Days September 26-27, 2020
Held on the fourth weekend of September, this two-day show has bass fishing seminars, the Buckskinners Village, High School Bass Classic, Dock Dogs, goose calling contests, kids shooting and archery, kids fishing hole, the Outdoor Art and Heritage Show, retriever shows and much more. This event is held at John A. Logan College.
Marion Main Street HubFest September 26, 2020
The annual celebration of the “Hub of the Universe” – Marion, Illinois. People from all over the area come to Tower Square for a festival that has live bands, food booths, hot dog eating contest, dunk tanks, bounce houses, corn-hole, car show, and much more. Downtown Marion is the event location.
Bandy’s Pumpkin Patch October 1-30, 2019
Walk the corn maze, ride the hayride, slide down the slides in addition to playing in the corn in the play barn. If you thin you’re a sure shot, take aim with the corn cannon or just sit back by the fire and drink a hot chocolate. Don’t forget to choose a Southern Illinois grown pumpkin on your way out!
Leaps and Bounds Kidsignment October 1-3, 2020
This semi-annual seasonal sales event offers great clothing for the whole family. Buy and sell gently worn children’s clothing, toys, baby beds, maternity clothes, shoes, boots, children’s furniture, games, and certainly much more. The Pavilion in Marion is home to this event.
Honker Hill Winery Chili Cook-off October 5, 2019 (2020 TBD)
Fall is right around the corner and so is the annual Honker Hill Winery Chili Cook-off! This is a FREE event with awesome entertainment throughout the day. Prizes for 1st, 2nd and 3rd place chilis. Get your recipe ready and we’ll see you at the winery!
Pumpkin Plunge October 19, 2019 (2020 TBD)
Join us at Logan Fitness for the annual Pumpkin Plunge! Open to all ages and features a floating pumpkin patch, pick-your-pumpkin, pumpkin painting, haunted 5K trail run, costume contest and hot cocoa!
More October Events
Marion Pumpkin Glow and Stroll October 25, 2019 (10/23-24/2020)
This pre-Halloween display of 500 carved and illuminated pumpkins will line the walking path around the pond behind Heartland Regional Medical Center. Halloween inflatables, tasty Fall foods, warm beverages and Free admission!
MPD Halloween Spooktacular October 26, 2019 (2020 TBD)
Rent One Park and Marion Police Department help to bring the community a Free, fun-filled evening of trunks, treats, candy, eats, an upstairs SpookHouse- even a DJ to play Monster beats!
Carterville Pumpkin Path October 31, 2019 (2020 TBD)
Hundreds of trick or treaters pass through the doors of local businesses in search of candy at this popular event. The downtown streets are blocked off in the evening to allow children a safe path. Many shops decorate as a specific theme creating a spooky environment for parents and children to enjoy!
Rocky Horror Show LIVE October 31 – November 2, 2019 (10/30-31/2020)
A loving homage to the classic B sci-fi film and horror genres with an irresistible rock’n’roll score, The Rocky Horror Show is a hilarious, wild ride that no audience will soon forget. For Mature Audiences Only at the Marion Cultural and Civic Center.
Southern Illinois Chili Cook-off November 2, 2019 (11/7/2020)
Does your chili recipe have what it takes to win a cook off? This fun event hosted by the Marion Elk’s Club and sponsored by local businesses to raise funds for local charities is one you don’t want to miss! Enjoy $5 chili, Bloody Mary’s, bags tournaments and so much more!
AutumnFest November 9-10, 2019 (11/14-15/2020)
At this pre-holiday shopping event, over 130 exhibitors will showcase original, handcrafted arts, crafts, gifts, home decor, and specialty foods. Admission and parking are free at John A. Logan College.
WOD for Warriors November 11, 2019 (11/11/2020)
Join The HUB and Team RWB as they unite and complete the scaled version of the WOD for Warriors challenge alongside hundreds of gyms across the nation! Veterans with proof of service and their immediate family are invited to join. Team RWB will also be rucking the block around The HUB Recreation Center at 12am until 11am on Veterans Day. Sign-up to carry the flag and ruck for those who put their lives on the line for our country.
Johnston City Hometown Christmas November 30, 2019 (11/28/2020)
On the Saturday after Thanksgiving, community comes together to ring-in the holiday cheer. Hometown Christmas features pictures with Santa and Mrs. Claus, the Grinch comes down to enjoy cookie decorating, coloring contest, treats and warm drinks. There’ll be a bell choir, JC school dancers, vendor booths and memory angel tree. At 5pm, we light the tree to close the event.
Christmas In Carterville December 6, 2019 (12/4/2020)
This annual Christmas celebration fills the entire Downtown area with a buzz of excitement. Enjoy visits with Santa, carriage rides, a Christmas Market and more. Warm treats will be available for purchase as you take-in the season with carolers, Christmas trees, and holiday decorations.
Christmas Stroll December 8, 2019 (12/6/2020)
Join costumed villagers for a Yuletide walk through Southern Illinois in the 1800s. Festive music, sweet treats, heirloom seed packets from the village gardens, local farmers displaying their wares, children’s crafts, and a visit from Saint Nicholas complete this journey through history. The Stroll is free and open to the public.
Frozen 12K of Christmas December 14, 2019 (12/12/2020)
Welcome to one of our most popular races of the year! We close out each year’s race calendar with the Frozen 12K of Christmas benefiting the Southern Illinois Honor Flight. The course goes through the beautiful Crab Orchard National Wildlife Refuge. Along with a custom finisher’s medal, each participant who finishes the race receives a Christmas gift!