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Sips & Tastes @ 618

by Paul Seibert


Two summers ago, the Taste of Southern Illinois was great. Last summer, the second annual Taste of Southern Illinois was better. This summer, with a new name and a new location, Sips & Tastes @ 618 will be even better. This year’s Tasting event will occur on August 14th and 15th at Community Park in Downtown Shiloh, Illinois.

build a barAccording to the Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English, a “tasting” is DF “an event that is organized so that you can try different foods or drinks to see if you like them.” And so is Sips and Tastes @ 618.

Some 20 regional restaurants will offer visitors a sampling of their favorite fare under the skies of beautiful Community Park in Shiloh, Illinois. Each restaurant will operate its own tented kitchen. Each visitor will choose their “tastes” from the broad array of menu items available at this extraordinary festival. Truly a celebration of the diverse foods available in this region, visitors will be treated to smells and flavors that only such a gathering can generate. Be sure to come hungry.

Beverage tents will offer a wide selection of your favorite soft drinks, beers, wines and specialty drinks. A full array of Budweiser products from Grey Eagle Distributing will include Lime-A-Ritas and Strawber-Ritas. A selection of craft beers from local brewer 4204 Main Street Brewing Company of Belleville will offer a complement to the variety of available standards; plus an array of Pepsi products. Present also will be Grey Eagle’s “Build-A-Bar”, a high-tech mobile beverage unit that folds out of a truck to create a bar unit, complete with wide-screen TV and all the other amenities typically only found indoors.

Rogers and NienhausAnd, speaking of complements, wouldn’t music be perfect with such a gustatory event? But of course. And Sips & Tastes @ 618 will provide visitors with an excellent variety of musical side dishes.

Friday’s entertainment starts with the state and national awarding winning, high-energy sounds of George Portz and the Friends of Bluegrass. George Portz and The Friends of Bluegrass are a leading, long-time established bluegrass band with members from both Illinois and Missouri. These extraordinary musicians play great bluegrass, traditional country, Bayou/Cajun and a little bit of Gospel for your listening pleasure. The “Friends” will start at 4pm.

Friday evening headliners will be the remarkable Rogers and Nienhuas. Internationally known, Terry Jones Rogers and Scott Nienhaus are one of the region’s most popular music ensembles. Both former members of The Byrds, Rogers and Nienhaus are noted for their pristine harmonies and searing instrumentation. In addition to their many original works, you won’t want to miss this opportunity to catch this truly great band as they transport you back to musical greats of the 60’s and 70’s!! The music begins at 7:30pm.

StarlifterABUphotoB-webSaturday’s lineup starts with a consistent local favorite and consummate entertainer, Steve Reeb. Solo guitar and vocalist, he’s known for playing a little bit of everything – and he plays a lot of Johnny Cash. Steve will take the stage at 12pm.

And, this year, Sips & Tastes is proud to present the USAF Band of Mid-America Starlifters. The Band of Mid-America has a long history of entertaining the American public and promoting esprit de corps within the military.  Starlifter is a seven-piece group of talented musicians that performs in virtually every musical idiom, from Rock and Pop to Jazz and Country, to great contemporary and traditional patriotic songs. They feature the best in popular music from the 1970’s to the most current sounds at the top of today’s charts. Starlifter begin at 3pm.

Smash Band 2And, for the big finish, ‘bringing the party’ to the park, will be The Smash Band. The big-band sound of Smash Band is one of the region’s finest party performances. Their playlist covers big band, country, 70s and 80s, RnB and MoTown, oldies, rock, dance party grooves and even polkas. The Smash party begins at 7:30pm

Bring your lawn chairs because you’re going to want to stay for the entire menu of dinner, drink and song.

And all this transpires on the rolling hills of the beautiful Community Park in Downtown Shiloh, Illinois. Amenities include picnic areas, pavilions, a 1/2 mile walking trail, a skate park,children’s playgrounds and ball fields. And plenty of free parking.

The town of Shiloh, a community of 1,300 residents, is located just 19 miles east of St. Louis, Missouri, and less than 1 mile from the Main Gate of Scott Air Force Base. Shiloh is easily reached from Interstate 64.

Admission to the festival is  free. Beverage purchases will be by tokens purchased on the grounds. Food items will be individually priced and sold by each vendor.


What:  Sips & Tastes @ 618


When:  Friday, August 14, 4-11pm / Saturday, August 15, 11am-11pm


Why:  To have a lavishingly good time sampling the cornucopia of foods, beverages and music available across the Southwestern Illinois region – all conveniently located in one gorgeous and easily accessible location.


Who:  Brought to you by the St. Clair County Chapter of the Illinois Licensed Beverage Association.


Where:  Shiloh Community Park, 1 Park Drive, Shiloh, IL 62269.

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From I-64: take Exit 19 – Route 50 – toward Carlyle. Turn left onto Highway 50 toward O’Fallon (about 1 mile). Take the second left at the stoplight onto Main Street. In about 2 miles, turn left onto Seibert Road. Community Park will be on your right.

From I-70E: take Route 4 south for about 12 miles and then turn right onto Highway 50. Follow Highway 50 toward O’Fallon (about 4 miles). Turn left onto Main Street. In about 2 miles, turn left onto Seibert Road. Community Park will be on your right.

From I-70W: take Exit 17 – US 40 – toward St Jacob for about 2.5 miles. Turn right onto Troy / O’Fallon / Scott Road south for about 9 miles and then turn right onto Highway 50. Follow Highway 50 toward O’Fallon (about 1 mile). Turn left onto Main Street. In about 2 miles, turn left onto Seibert Road. Community Park will be on your right.


Event Information:  Call 618-806-8506



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