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Two events celebrate traditions, bring crowds to Collinsville

I attended my first Collinsville planning meeting for two fall events on May 16 where I learned about two important local events: the Turkey Trot and the Quilt Walk.

The meeting was held in Collinsville’s very own history museum. Board members and I sat at a handcrafted dark wood table donated by Bobby Elrod.

Martha Barksdale is curator of the Collinsville History Museum owned by CHA. Jane Simpson, a CHA board member, is also the promotional chairman for the Collinsville Turkey Trot.

While observing the first few moments of the meeting, I learned this association was formed in 2003 with the goal of increasing the historical knowledge of Collinsville. The town’s cultural heritage is also being preserved with the aid of this association and the local government.

Two annual fall events, the Turkey Trot and the Quilt Walk, were the first items discussed.

The Turkey Trot, a downtown festival, has been a part of Collinsville’s history for the past 104 years. The event is held on the second Saturday of every November.

Jennifer Wilkins, head of the Collinsville Library, said the Turkey Trot features “old timey activities” such as “money in the haystack” and “catch the greased pig” to attract people of all ages.

Originally, the early Turket Trots used to feature live turkeys being thrown off the top of a building for the people down below to catch. If you were able to catch a turkey, you got to keep it and cook it for Thanksgiving.

While that part of the festival is long gone, Wilkins explained, the family friendly atmosphere of modern Turkey Trots attracts a large crowd to downtown Collinsville for the annual event.

Activities for the children are free, and the streets are blocked off by local law enforcement so it’s safe. Venders offer food, arts, and crafts. All of these factors make for a “relaxed day”, according to Wilkins.

Another fall event, the Quilt Walk, was discussed next. Now in its 15th year, this two-day event is basically a walking quilt show and a fundraiser for the library. Visitors have the opportunity to walk through the town and see hand- crafted quilts on display in residential homes and local businesses.

Collinsville retiree Debra Redditt said, “They get to see the workmanship of other quilters and that the lost art is still alive in this community.”

Peggy Wright, Collinsville’s town clerk, said, “Both events are great because they bring a lot of outsiders to the town.”

In addition to discussing the two fall events, the board members also discussed future possibilities for community events such as art shows, dog shows, and eating contests.

After attending the meeting, I learned the board members are committed to preserving the value of Collinsville’s past. 

They really want the town to have a bright future with fun activities planned for all people of the community.

The meeting taught me there is a lot of behind the scenes planning involved in order for an event to run smoothly. From hearing about the planners, vendors, and more, I now know how much effort goes into creating community events like the Quilt Walk and Turkey Trot.