Annual Chili Cook-Off
Every October, Bellevillians gather downtown to partake in the Chili Cook-Off. This is the perfect event for anyone who loves chili and beer. And who doesn't. You can buy samples from each stand for only $.50. Many stands benefit charities or the local fire and police departments.
"Small Town Charm - Big City Appeal"
The name Belleville means "Beatiful City". It was founded by the French in the early 1800's, however the majority of its residents are of German decent. This is due to the failed German Revolution that took place in the 1840's. Many of the educated fled thier home country and Belleville was the center of the first important German settlement in the State of Illinois. At this time, an est. 90% of the city's population was either German born or of German descent.
Belleville, which has a population around 45,000, is still viewed as a small town by many of its residents. It is located in Illinois, but Belleville is actually closer to downtown St. Louis than most of St. Louis county. Its proximity to St. Louis allows for easy access to professional sports, theaters, concerts, and big city life in general. However, Belleville is much more than a mere suburb of St. Louis.
The governmental, financial, and medical center of southern Illinois, Belleville is also the headquarters of Scott Air Force Base. Its Main Street is the longest in the state and the location of number of one-of-a-kind shops. The Skyview Drive-In, which opened in 1949, is one of the few remaining drive-in movie theaters in the country.
The city also holds a number of festivals each year. These include the Chili cook-off, Oktoberfest, and Art on the Square. Still, the main attraction for tourists to Belleville is the Shrine of Our lady of the Snows. Belleville has a large Catholic population and is home to the seat of the Roman Catholc Diocese of Southern Illinois. The shrine is a great place for prayer and reflection and their Way of Lights is not to be missed during the Christmas season.
"Belleville Fact Sheet"
- Belleville's sister city is Paderborn, Germany
- Belleville has the longest Main Street in the state of Illinois (9.2 Miles)
- Early 90's band Uncle Tupelo is from Belleville
- Belleville is home to Tennis star Jimmie Conners and golfer Jay Hass
- Buddy Epson, a.k.a. Jed Clampett, is from Belleville
- In 2005, Belleville held a Napoleon Dynamite Festival
I don't know if I would recommend coming to Belleville on vacation if you have to travel a long way. However, if you are in the area there are a number of great attrations that will peak your interest.