Editorial: Demons Are Exorcized, and Carbondale’s on a Roll!

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Carbondale’s really been rocking lately. And in doing so, it may just have exorcized some of the dem
Chris Wissmann

Carbondale’s really been rocking lately. And in doing so, it may just have exorcized some of the demons that have haunted it for the last few decades.

In addition to the incredible day-to-day music, theater, and fine-arts activities that would be the envy of any city thrice Carbondale’s size, the last four weeks brought to town four major events.

On October 9, chart-topping Jason Isbell played a street fair on the Strip.

October 16 kicked off Unofficial Halloween.

SIU homecoming began on October 22 or so.

Halloween weekend rose back to life last weekend.

Some city officials were nervous about that last item, but as with Unofficial Halloween, the weekend came and went without requiring major police actions. Instead, large, happy crowds filled Carbondale nightclubs with amazing costumes.

Without rehashing past history too much, the city used to hold a massive street festival for Halloween— indeed, the Halloween Fair Days were once Carbondale’s largest celebration. About twenty-five years ago, city and university officials began to transform it into a dead, dead time.

Last week’s successes might inspire attempts to revive the Halloween Fair Days tradition. I once vocally supported doing so, but that’s no longer the case. Many of Carbondale’s entertainment venues were packed last weekend, so Halloween, unofficial and official, are successful, and should be allowed to continue to grow organically— those aren’t weekends that require artificial stimulation.

Rather, city officials and others— perhaps Carbondale Main Street, the Carbondale Music Coalition, Carbondale Community Arts, and the SIU Student Programming Council— might be better off looking for slow weekends during which to promote big events.

The Isbell show makes a perfect case in point— it took place during fall break, when the Strip probably otherwise would have had little traffic. Instead, the Carbondale Music Coalition turned it into a banner weekend, culturally and economically.


Here’s looking forward to that next big thing, whatever and whenever it is.