As I sit down to write this piece, at the end of a busy day promoting downtown Carbondale, my kids are in the next room getting ready for one of Carbondale's longest-running traditions, the Sunset Concert Series. Tomorrow our family will head downtown, to the Washington Street Venue, with coolers, blankets, and snacks in tow, to tap our toes. We will join hundreds of people of all ages looking to do the same!
I can hear my children talking over how many twinkies to pack, and whether or not dad will let them take their bean bag chairs (the answer is “no”). I would say this is a typical way that many families in Southern Illinois prepare for a summer Thursday sunset.
Carbondale is a wonderful community in which to raise a family, but also just a beautiful community in which to live. I encourage you to visit, and visit often, and to experience our community in all ways. As you thumb through the pages of this publication, you'll read about the Sunset Concerts, but also about many other events, including the Brown Bag Concert Series, Fourth Friday Fairs, our annual Lights Fantastic Parade, and the Carbondale Classic (a more adult activity). In reality, we boast so much programming in our downtown, and throughout the city, there is something for everyone.
We have long-standing businesses that succeed next to fresh new faces in our downtown. I'd recommend stepping into both old and new businesses, including anchors like Quatro's Pizza and Mary Lou's Grill, and excellent newer spots like Keeper's Quarters and Underground Public House.
With over thirty eateries and bars in downtown Carbondale, and a brewery joining our roster this October, we are the place to eat and be entertained. Combined with excellent programming and frequent concerts and shows in venues such as the Hangar 9, Varsity Center, and Carbondale Community Arts’ Gallery 304, you’ll find something to do with or without your bean bag chair!
It is my day job to sing the praises of downtown, and I genuinely love it. I also am a big fan of downtown in my personal life and am raising two young fans as well. As you read about the Carbondale community, if you are looking for a recommendation, answer to a question, or a friend, feel free to contact me. I'll be at the Sunset Concert!
*Meghan Cole is the Executive Director of Carbondale Main Street, an organization dedicated to the improvement and promotion of downtown Carbondale. She is serious about being available; you can give her a call at 618-529-8040 or reach her at www.carbondalemainstreet.com.