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Southwest Illinois News is a weekly news publication spotlighting attractions, events, entertainment, tourism, jobs and business developments in Southwestern Illinois
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Casino Queen's Inaugural HalloweenFest Benefiting United Way
EAST ST. LOUIS, IL (SWI-News.com), October 7, 2018 - Casino Queen welcomes area residents and lovers of beer and German food to Halloweenfest 2018, which will be held Saturday, October 27th, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on the Casino Queen parking lot.

Attendees can expect to participate in classic fall activities, including a pumpkin pie-eating contest, while also getting to see and vote on the various entries participating in a Classic Car Show benefiting the United Way of Greater St. Louis.

Classic car owners from across the area are invited to have their cars featured in the Classic Car Show, starting at 11 A.M. There is an entry fee of $20 per car, and attendees will be able to cast their votes for their favorite car by placing $1 in the vehicle of their choice. All proceeds from the entry fee and voting will go to the United Way of Greater St. Louis, which serves over a million people annually (1 in 3) throughout 16 counties in Illinois and Missouri.

The car owner garnering the most votes will take home the top prize of $500, with the 2nd place winner getting $200 and the 3rd place winner enjoying dinner for two at Prime, the Casino Queen's exceptional steakhouse. Those who would like to have their classic automobile included in the car show can sign up by e-mail to Chef Alex Eusebio, aeusebio@casinoqueen.com The pumpkin pie-eating contest will begin at 4 p.m. Each contestant will receive one Pumpkin-Pie to eat, hands free! The first person to completely eat their pie without using their hands will win the grand prize of $300. Second-place winners will receive a dinner for two at Prime, and third-place winners will receive dinner for two at Sevens, the Casino Queen's popular sports bar. Prospective pumpkin pie-eaters must be 18 (21 in order to enter casino cage to claim prize) or older and can sign up for free the day of the contest. All the pumpkin pies will be provided by Belleville-based 4204 Brewing, which is co-sponsoring the event.


Gateway Go Card Program Extended Thru October 31
EAST ST. LOUIS, IL (SWI-News.com), September 30, 2018 - Young people in the bi-state region will continue to save money as they purchase 50 percent reduced Metro Transit fares on their Gateway Go Cards through the end of October.

The Gateway Go Card pilot program allows youth between the ages of 13 and 25 to purchase fares at half price on MetroLink and MetroBus so they can more easily reach education, career opportunities and other important destinations throughout the region. The special program which launched in June was originally extended through September, and will now be available through October 31, 2018.

"We are very pleased that we are able to extend the benefits of the Gateway Go Card to our young riders for another month," said Jessica Mefford-Miller, Executive Director of Metro Transit. "We are still working with our partners to identify a long-term funding solution. This is necessary to establish it as a permanent fare option, which is a tremendous benefit for young people in our region."

The Gateway Go Card was developed in partnership with the City of St. Louis, St. Clair County, the St. Clair County Transit District, St. Louis County, St. Louis Economic Development Partnership, Metro Transit and Bi-State Development. It is a special version of the Metro Transit Gateway Card smart card, and young people are able to get a discount on one-ride tickets, two-hour passes and monthly passes by putting them directly onto their Gateway Go Cards.


'Seed to Table' Concept Restaurant Opens in Godfrey
GODFREY, IL (SWI-News.com) - The long-awaited new venture for partners Rex Hale and Kelsi Baker Walden is open at 7120 Montclaire Avenue in Godfrey, Illinois.

Hale describes the restaurant concept for Bakers & Hale as "seed to table," where all of the food is grown either onsite or is sourced from local producers. In fact, the hallmarks of the space are the small farm next to the patio and the substantial herb garden on the other side of the property. Both have been growing since late spring and been producing a bounty of fresh produce for recipe testing and soft launches. In the years to come, the farm will be expanded.

Anything not grown on site and all proteins are almost entirely sourced from a 50-mile radius (with the exception of the sea scallops, sockeye salmon and white fish from Michigan, all currently on the opening-day menu).

Some of the local farms Hale is working with include EarthDance Farms in Ferguson, Missouri; Rain Crow Ranch in Doniphan, Missouri; Double Star Farms in Benton, Illinois; Marcoot Jersey Creamery in Greenville, Illinois; Bohlen Family Farms in Perryville, Missouri; Such and Such Farms in Desoto, Missouri and The Mill at Janie's Farm in Ashkum, Illinois.

The fare is American comfort food with a twist. The menu features dishes familiar to many, but some of them have been simplified, to let the hyper-fresh ingredients shine, and some will be more complex, as a nod to the partners' fine dining roots. All of it will change frequently to follow the ever-changing seasonal harvest.

An inventive cocktail menu also features local produce prominently, whether it's in a carrot-juice based concoction with local honey and herbs, a peach-based creation with peaches from Calhoun County garnished with grilled peaches or a lighter drink of fresh cucumber juice and lime.

Bakers & Hale seats a whopping 255: 120 at the outside bar, 75 at the inside bar and 60 in the restaurant dining room and is open for dinner Monday through Saturday from 3 p.m. to 10 p.m. Call 618 433 9748 for more information.


"From Illinois to the White House: Lincoln, Grant, Reagan, Obama" Exhibition
SPRINGFIELD, IL (SWI-News.com) - The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum celebrated the state's 200th birthday with a major new exhibit about the four presidents who have called Illinois their home.

The exhibit, entitled "From Illinois to the White House: Lincoln, Grant, Reagan, Obama," explores their connections to the Prairie State, their political battles, the first ladies who helped them succeed and much more.

Visitors will see amazing documents and artifacts, including Ronald Reagan's yearbook from his high school days in Dixon, the table where Ulysses S. Grant's accepted Robert E. Lee's surrender during the Civil War, an original draft of Barack Obama's speech at the 50th anniversary of the Selma civil rights march, and the briefcase Abraham Lincoln used as president.

"From Illinois to the White House" runs through the end of 2018.

"Illinois helped shape these leaders, and they in turn helped shape Illinois and the entire country. As we celebrate the state's bicentennial, it seems appropriate to take a close look at their lives and legacies," ALPLM Executive Director Alan Lowe said.

"We're bringing together artifacts from more than a dozen institutions and private collectors for what will truly be a once-in-a-lifetime exhibit," Lowe added.

Items in the exhibit come from, among others, the U. S. Grant State Historic Site, Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, Barack Obama Presidential Library, National Portrait Gallery, Chicago History Museum and Wayne Whalen, chair emeritus of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library Foundation. The John Ullrich Foundation of Decatur has provided generous support.

The exhibit is housed in the ALPLM's Illinois Gallery, a space dedicated to rotating exhibits on state history. There will be no extra fee to see "From Illinois to the White House: Lincoln, Grant, Reagan, Obama." It is provided as part of regular admission to the Lincoln museum (212 N. 6th Street, Springfield).

For more information, visit www.PresidentLincoln@illinois.gov


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