12th Annual Tour de Coal To Be Held Saturday, September 23rd, 2017

Join the Coal Country Chamber of Commerce on its 12th annual Tour de Coal bicycle ride on Saturday, Sept. 23, 2017, at the Benld City Hall-Civic Center, 201 E. Central Ave. in downtown Benld, Ill. (62009).

The Tour de Coal is for riders of all ages and abilities who have an interest in cycling in the Macoupin County, Ill.  The ride will be held in conjunction with the 18th Annual Fall Festival held at the Benld City Park, where the bike ride ends.


In the Tour de Coal Bike Ride, cyclists choose from a 13.6-mile family ride, a mid-length 35-mile ride or a metric century (64.8 miles).  The terrain is flat to rolling with some hills.

Registration is from 6:30 a.m. to 9 a.m. at the Benld City Hall-Civic Center on the day of the event. You can save money by registering in advance either by mail or through Active.com. Advance registration is $20 per person and $45 for a family of three or more people living in the same household.  On the day of the ride, the cost is $25 per person and $50 for family of three or more people living in the same household.

The Tour de Coal did their first mass start in 2014. There will be a mass start beginning at 7:00
AM for those riding the metric century. If you want to find someone with similar riding skills, this is a good way to find them.  It will start at the registration area on Central Avenue (Rt. 138). All other riders will start their ride heading north on Second Street as in the past. The mass start is NOT mandatory for Metric century riders. If you plan to ride the metric century and do not want to start at 7:00 AM that is alright too. Again, it is not mandatory. All riders other than the mass start riders can begin their ride any time prior to the closing of registration.

Out-of-town visitors to the Tour de Coal can camp Friday night (Sept. 22) at Benld City Park,  which is just 1 block north of the Benld Civic Center. For information about camping, contact Mickey
Robinson at (217) 710-5218 or mrer@madisontelco.com.

BANANAS, BOTTLED WATER, AND OATMEAL COOKIES WILL BE AVAILABLE AT THE REGISTRATION DESK THE DAY OF THE RIDE. PREREGISTRATION BY SEPTEMBER 18
GUARANTEES A T-SHIRT.  Late registration will be honored with T-shirts while supplies last.

At registration, riders are also given a redeemable ticket for a choice of sandwich and soft drink at the Coal Country Chamber of Commerce food booth at the Fall Festival in the Benld City Park.

This year a portion of each person’s registration fee will go to The Partnership for Excellence, which helps the children of the Gillespie Community School District...

Other proceeds from Tour de Coal will be used by the Coal Country Chamber of Commerce to improve the communities of Benld, Dorchester, Eagarville, East Gillespie, Gillespie, Mount Clare, Sawyerville and Wilsonville. The Chamber sponsors events such as a free Summer Concert Series, the Fall Festival, and Breakfast with Santa.

The Benld/Gillespie area has a rich heritage because of its ties to the coal industry.  The Region has sizable numbers of people of German, Irish, Italian, Slavic, Scotch and Russian descent drawn to the region by mining.  The region is dotted with more than 27 old coal mines; and the Tour de Coal
routes pass several of them.  Some of these mines have been highlighted on the Tour de Coal Face book page which can be found at  on the internet.

Benld is also home to The Holy Dormition of the Theotokos Russian Orthodox Church, originally built in 1895, the only church in Illinois under the jurisdiction of the Patriarchate of Moscow and All Both Benld and Gillespie are on the original alignment (1926-1930) of Route 66 through Illinois, which is now part of the Blue Carpet Corridor of Route 66.

 The 64-mile route uses alignments of Route 66 in the Staunton-Mount Olive area and passes by the grave site of Mary "Mother Jones" Harris, a prominent labor activist in the late 1800's and early 1900's.

The 64-mile route also goes through the community of Bunker Hill, home to one of the ride's rest stops.  There are 5 other rest stops throughout the ride. 

For more information about the Tour de Coal, contact Coal Country Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Mickey Robinson at (217) 710-5218 or mrer@madisontelco.com.

13th Annual Summer Concert Series

Join us this summer for the 13th Annual Summer Concert Series in the Benld City Park.  

2016 Business of the Year - Michelle's Pharmacy

Left to right:  Rick Konneker, awarded the Spirit of Coal Country Chamber of Commerce;  Andy Manar, Illinois State Senator of 48th District, keynote speaker; 2016 Business of Year Awardee Michelle’s Pharmacy, Michelle and Wally Dyer; Board members:  Annetta Veres, Secretary of CCCC and Mayor of Wilsonville; Mike Brill, Treasurer of CCCC; John Veres, Vice President of CCCC and Director of Wilsonville Community Outreach; Margie Brill, Webmaster of CCCC; and Judy Melchert of Hebenstreit Apartments.
 
Saturday evening the Coal Country Chamber of Commerce held its 17th Annual Awards Banquet at JoDanni's Amore. During the event the Chamber acknowledged Rick Konneker with the Spirit Award for his commitment to the Choo-Choo Train. Michelle and Wally Dyer of Michelle's Pharmacy were awarded the 2016 Business of the Year award for their dedication to the communities in which they serve. Mickey and Emmlee Robinson were also acknowledged with the Founder's Award for their long time service to the Chamber. The Chamber would like to thank Andy Manar, Illinois State Senator of the 48th District for joining us as this year's Keynote speaker. 


 Left to Right: Jennifer Barber, Molly Bergman, Jeana Leggett, Clint Mansholt, Gwen Hampton, Sheila Cottingham Wally and Michelle Dyer, Leisha Ballinger, Marissa Woolfolk, Ashley Dicks, Marla Woolfolk.

Ribbon Cutting: Fat Daddy's BBQ, Gillespie

The Coal Country Chamber of Commerce welcomed new Gillespie business Fat Daddy’s BBQ at a ribbon cutting in front of the restaurant at 105 N. Macoupin St. in downtown Gillespie (next door to Dee Dee’s Designs).  Pictured from left to right are:  Tammy Forsyth of Quality Flooring, Inc.; Mike Brill, CCCC Treasurer; Judy Melchert of Hebenstreit Apartments, CCCC Board Member; Margie Brill, CCCC Web Master; Mayor of Wilsonville Annetta Veres, CCCC Secretary; John Veres, CCCC Vice President and Director of WCO; Doug Bauschlicher and Rhonda Bauschlicher, co-owners of Fat Daddy’s BBQ; Cassandrah Chrum, server at Fat Daddy’s; Tammy Taylor, server at Fat Daddy’s;  Rick and Anne Stinnett and Chris and Paul Cavins, co-owner of Country Corner of Benld.
 
Fat Daddy’s BBQ will hold their Grand Opening on Saturday, February 4 from 11 a.m. until 9 p.m.  There will be all-day specials and a registration to win a gas grill.

19th Annual Holiday Sparkle set for December 2&3

The 19th Annual Holiday Sparkle is set for Friday, December 2nd and Saturday, December 3rd. Here is a little insight to what you can expect this year.  Be sure to like us on Facebook for more details.


Ribbon Cutting Country Corner


The Coal Country Chamber of Commerce held a Ribbon Cutting for Country Corner (Gifts & More) at 210 E. Central in Benld.  Pictured from left to right are: (Sitting) Maris Brill; Kim Stinnett; and Emma Stinnett.  (Standing) Susie Cavins; Mike Brill, CCCC Treasurer; Margie Brill, CCCC Webmaster; Jassen Stinnett; Rick Stinnett; Benld Mayor Jim Kelly; Anne Stinnett, Co-owner Country Corner; Matthew Olmsted, Property Owner; Chris Cavins, Co-owner Country Corner; Zach Parker; Abigail Parker; Josh Bray; Paul Cavins; Cynthia Bray; Dwayne Pomatto; John Veres, CCCC Vice President; Lisa Demann; Wilsonville Mayor Annetta Veres; CCCC Secretary; Brian Frensko; Benld Alderman.

CCCC TO HOST CIRCUS IN BENLD CITY PARK


The Coal Country Chamber is again bringing you the Kelly Miller Circus for the exhibition of an all new 2016 show on Thursday, October 6, 2014 at the Benld City Park with performances at 4:30 and 7:30 p.m.

As the circus rolls into town the morning of October 6, everyone is invited to come out and watch the animals being unloaded and fed, and the elephants raising the giant big top. Activities will begin at approximately 7:30 a.m., and the tent will be raised at 9:00 a.m. Guides will be furnished for school groups and anyone attending.

The traditional “old style” circus will present performances at 4:30 and 7:30. Come out and enjoy a day of fun filled excitement at the circus.

Corporate sponsors for this year’s Kelly Miller Circus are Carlinville Area Hospital; Country Financial, Tina Olroyd, Agent; Madison Communications; Quality Flooring; Sullivan Drug, Inc.; and UCB/Gillespie.

Buy your tickets in advance and save. Advance tickets are $12 for adults and $6 for children under the age of 12. Tickets are available at the following outlets before the day of the circus: Benld City Hall and FNB – Benld Banking Center and in Gillespie at the Gillespie City Hall, The Village Toy Chest, and Michelle’s Pharmacy (in Gillespie and Carlinville). No tickets will be available at these outlets on Circus Day. Before Circus Day, you may also get tickets online at www.KellyMillerCircus.com