A tribute to ketchup, with extra cheese (July 12-13)

July 11, 2008

To be more precise, this festival in Collinsville is a tribute to the world’s largest ketchup bottle, a landmark on the site where Brooks ketchup used to be made.  (The extra-tangy brand is still around, though it’s now bottled up in Canada.)  The 10-year-old festival is a testament to how much Americana can be squeezed out of an oddly shaped red tower: There’s hot dog eating contests for kids and adults, hula hoop challenges, clowns and magicians, dancers, karate demos, a car show and cruise, an Elvis impersonator, ketchup tastings (can you pick out the Brooks brand?), Little Miss Tomato and King Catsup crownings, a visit from the St. Louis Rams Cheerleaders … you get the idea.  Kitsch at every turn, but all in the name of good, old-fashioned fun.

The shindig happens Saturday and Sunday (July 12 and 13) at the VFW Post on Illinois Route 159 through Collinsville, about 20 minutes from downtown (for those of you who don’t venture over to the east side of the river very often).  A schedule is posted online; events run from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday.  Kids’ activities and vendor stalls will be up and running throughout.

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