Recreation: Lake Sara

This month’s blog series will highlight some of Effingham’s most cherished spots for recreation, and where’s a better place to start than Lake Sara?

Lake Sara offers several fun activities for the community, like fishing, swimming, boating and more. Enjoy a picnic under the pavilions, or take the kids to the playground overlooking the lake on the east end.

Camping is available within walking distance of the lake at Lake Sara Campground and Anthony Acres Resort–both very close to the beach! Across from Anthony Acres is Cardinal Golf Course, an 18-hole course that borders the lake, making for a scenic and exciting golf outing. Just minutes away is Fore-Way Challenge Golf, a 9-hole public course with a driving range, putting green and clubhouse.

For those looking to spend some time on the water, visit Larson’s Landing or Bluegill Marina for all your lake-day needs, including pontoon boat rentals, kayak and tube rentals, fuel, food and drinks, bait and tackle and more.

After a long day at the lake, relax and have a nice meal! Larson’s Landing is joined with a new bar and grill called Pinky’s where you can enjoy a scenic view of the lake during dinner and drinks on the large patio area. Bluegill Marina is also joined with their own restaurant, Zona’s on the Lake. Zona’s is another full-service restaurant that promises good times and good food.

For questions about Lake Sara, call 217-868-2787. Don’t miss out on all the great activities Lake Sara has to offer this summer!


4th of July Festivities

Independence Day is almost here! Have you made your plans yet?

On July 3rd, enjoy fireworks out at Lake Sara at dusk. You can also attend the 4th of July Celebration with a carnival, food and drinks and fun July 3-4 at the Sacred Heart Parish grounds from 4 to 10 p.m. both days, sponsored by the Effingham Noon Rotary Club. On July 4th, the fireworks show will take place at the EHS Klosterman Field at dusk.

The Effingham Knights of Columbus Hall will be hosting a Patio Party July 4th as well! See local favorites Flight Fifty perform before the fireworks and enjoy Matt Poss Band after the fireworks until 11 p.m. Come for great food, drinks and fun entertainment!

Wishing you a safe and memorable holiday!

Art & Culture: Artisan Depot

Artisan Depot.JPGLocated in Downtown Effingham, Artisan Depot is a “handmade boutique of heART and soul.” They feature one-of-a-kind handmade goods by local artisans, providing a wide range of products, from jewelry and clothing to furniture and lawn ornaments–and artwork, of course!

Artisan Depot is open Tuesday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and by appointment on Mondays. Visit the store for a free cup of coffee while shopping for yourself or finding a unique gift for someone else.

They also occasionally host DIY Make-and-Take Parties where they provide materials, drinks and snacks for attendees to enjoy and create their own handmade craft to take home.

Artisans that are interested in selling their work at the boutique can download the application to do so here. Those interested in staying up-to-date on what kinds of products are currently at the store can visit their Facebook page at “The Artisan Depot.”

Come out to support local artists and see what our community has to offer!

Moccasin Creek Festival

The third annual Moccasin Creek Festival will be held June 24-26 at the Stage at Lake Sara. This music festival will host 25 bands this year, featuring Americana music: a blend of folk, bluegrass, alternative country, roots rock and blues. You’ll be able to enjoy a mix of local musicians as well as some acts that are new to the area.

MCF will also have food and drinks, artisan vendors, kids’ activities and tons of great fun nearby, including kayaking, golfing, camping, fishing and more. Parking is free, and FISH will also be providing a free shuttle service on Friday and Saturday between the festival and Country Inn & Suites, but donations for the shuttle service are welcome.

While there will be standing room, festival-goers are encouraged to bring their own lawn or folding chairs to enjoy the show. MCF would also like to remind patrons that there is no ATM on site, so please bring cash if you plan to make any purchases.

The festival begins Friday at 4 p.m. and starts at 11 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday. Attendees can purchase either weekend or single-day passes, and tickets will be held for you at the gate. To purchase tickets, see the schedule and find more information about MCF, visit their website.

We hope to see you there!

Art & Culture: Frye Pottery

In an old dairy barn near Shumway, Illinois, you’ll find Tim and Pam Frye in their “potter’s paradise,” a.k.a. their pottery studio and gallery. Since 1980, the couple has been producing award-winning, hand-made, useful clay pieces, from vases and lamps to mugs and bowls.

Frye Pottery has lots of unique pieces to choose from either for your own home or as gifts for others. They also offer classes and workshops for all ages and skill levels. Classes are typically over six weeks, meeting once a week. Workshops meet one time for three hours, focusing on one particular project, and they can be specialized to fit the needs of you and your group. Private lessons are also available for those interested in a more individualized session.

The Fryes’ studio is open by appointment, and visitors can enjoy a sculpture garden during that time as well. For those interested in purchasing any of their ceramic pieces or in learning more about creating pottery, you can visit their website for more information or call at 217-868-5583.

Summer Food Fest

Head to Downtown Effingham this Friday, June 17th from 5 to 9 p.m. for a night of food, music and fun for all ages! Effingham Central Business Group is hosting Summer Food Fest, formerly known as Taste of Freedom.

Businesses will have food booths set up along Jefferson Avenue offering a wide variety of good food for purchase to kick off the summer. Flight Fifty, Jed Adam Band and FACE Orchestra are all on the lineup for entertainment, and a few American muscle cars will be on display as well.

You can enjoy a beer garden and BBQ at Scrubby’s Pub and a wine and beer garden in front of Village Wine & Gifts, or bring the whole family and check out the free Kid Zone, which will include bounce houses, sidewalk chalk, bubbles, street bowling and face painting.

Proceeds from this event will benefit the Santa House in Downtown Effingham and will help fund Harmony Playground, an inclusive playground that is accessible to all regardless of needs or abilities.

Come out to enjoy this fun-filled night! There’s sure to be a little something for everyone.

Art & Culture: StangARTs Studio & Gallery

StangARTs Studio & Gallery in Downtown Effingham has become a staple for those in the community to test out their artistic talents. They host public classes, private lessons, after-school/homeschool and summer programs for kids and private parties for those of all ages interested in trying their hand at being an artist. The always-updating gallery also has tons of great artwork for sale that appeals to a variety of tastes, and custom-order work is available.

The classes open to the public provide a wide range of media and materials used to create these works of art. In the recent past, classes have included acrylic and watercolor painting, charcoal for beginners, wood decor, wine glass painting and more. Classes often have a unique theme to appeal to an array of people, like Mommy & Me, Rockin’ into Summer, Couples’ Date Night and Tree of Life, among others. In some classes, you’ll be able to create your own design, while options are available to choose from in others. StangARTs hosts public classes for both adults and kids.

Booking private parties is also a popular option. Parties can be booked for any number of different occasions: bachelorette parties, team building, holiday fun, Girl Scouts and Cub Scouts gatherings, birthday parties, family outings and more. All materials are provided, and the instructors will help step-by-step the whole way, so no experience is necessary. You can decorate the gallery to your liking and order food and drinks or bring your own–the options for these parties are endless! In-house artists are there to help create a stress-free, fun environment with music, laughs and artistic expression.

So, what are you waiting for? Reserve your spot for a class or book a private party to spend some time out of the norm and in on the fun. You’ll be able to walk away with a great experience and your very own masterpiece. Stay up-to-date on classes being offered by visiting their Facebook page, or call 850-960-0106 for more information on lessons and/or private parties. The gallery will be open this summer on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 8 a.m. until noon; come check out some great work and support local artists!

No matter your creative interests or abilities, StangARTs provides artistic and cultural experiences that last for a lifetime–and all right in your hometown.