Carbondale Bar 2 Bar Putt-putt Golf Classic 2017: A Cinderella Story

Venues & Businesses
Carbondale Main Street
Cellar, The
Global Gourmet
Hangar 9
Italian Village
Key West Bar and Grill
Pinch Penny Pub
Tres Hombres
Underground Barrel Room and Grill

Who: Carbondale Main Street and Saint Francis Community Animal Rescue and Education
What: Carbondale Classic Bar 2 Bar Putt-putt Golf Tournament
When: 2017-03-25
On Saturday, March 25, the annual Carbondale Bar 2 Bar Putt-putt Golf Classic will pit teams of four
Jennifer “Jay” Bull
Video Comentary

On Saturday, March 25, the annual Carbondale Bar 2 Bar Putt-putt Golf Classic will pit teams of four against each other while they tour the city’s participating bars and restaurants. Each venue will set up a separate putt-putt hole on the event’s multi-venue course.

“The Carbondale Classic is a great event,” Meghan Cole, executive director of Carbondale Main Street, told Nightlife. “It’s a fun adult activity. We have a putt-putt course set up in [local] Carbondale at ten different holes. We are in our eighth year, so it’s become a favorite Carbondale event. People come back for it, but also the locals really enjoy it. We get people from college age to residents of all ages.”

The registration deadline for tournament participation passed on March 20. But there’s no reason that members of the public can’t come out to cheer on all the friends they have in the tournament, and even serve as their “caddies” (designated drivers).

All teams will meet the day of the event at the Carbondale Main Street office at 9 a.m. They will then head out to challenge themselves at putt-putt holes at the Cellar, the Elks Club, Global Gourmet, the Hangar 9, Italian Village, Key West Bar and Grill, Pinch Penny Pub, Traxx, Tres Hombres, and the Underground Barrel Room and Grill.

Teams have until 5 p.m. to complete as much of the course as they can. Many of them dress up in uniforms or custom T-shirts for the event.

“Whether you are good at golf or not good at golf, you can enjoy this event,” Cole said. “It exposes people to a lot of our [local] businesses. You get to go to a lot of different putt-putt holes at the different establishments and you see things you like in Carbondale in a very different way.”

Winners will receive cash prizes for the first three places ($500, $300, and $200 respectively), gift certificates, bragging rights, and a lot of fun. All participants get commemorative T-shirts and must be twenty-one or older. “Caddies” (designated drivers) will receive Carbondale Classic golf visors and goodies. Registration-fee proceeds will benefit Carbondale Main Street and Saint Francis Community Animal Rescue and Education.

For more information, call (618) 529-8040 or visit <>.

who: Carbondale Main Street and Saint Francis Community Animal Rescue and Education

what: Carbondale Classic Bar 2 Bar Putt-putt Golf Tournament

where: Cellar, Elks Club, Global Gourmet, Hangar 9, Italian Village, Key West Bar and Grill, Pinch Penny Pub, Traxx, Tres Hombres, Underground Barrel Room and Grill

when: Saturday, March 25

American Civil Liberties Union: A Benefit to Protect Our Rights

Pictured: Josh Murphy of the Holy Vedas.
Jennifer “Jay” Bull
Video Comentary

Rock Against Fascism, a benefit for the American Civil Liberties Union, will be held Saturday, March 11 at the Hangar 9.

“Most importantly, this is a good time for a good cause,” organizer Howard Steeley told Nightlife. “The live music ranges from rock to folk to electronic to warmly but truly alternative.”

Acts will include Josh Murphy’s new band the Holy Vedas, ambient alternative group the Cave Futures, Jesa Dior, Diamond Soul, and Jenny and the Housewives.

In addition to great music, the event will boast a silent auction of work by local artists and goods and services from local merchants. Proceeds from the $5 cover charge and silent auction will benefit the ACLU, and Steeley said that anyone who comes is welcome to donate more at the door.

Those who attend will also get an opportunity to learn about the ACLU’s ongoing conflicts with the Trump administration.

“We will have speakers from the community talking about how the White House’s orders and actions affect us all directly,” Steeley said. “The ACLU is the front line against tyranny and fascism. I can’t count the lawsuits they’ve filed in the last month against the Trump administration, and justly so. From immigrants to LGBTQ [people] to Muslims to school children to people of color to the environment, we, as a nation, are being stripped of our civil rights.”

Indeed, when Trump’s ban on people travelling from seven Muslim-majority countries to the United States went into effect, the ACLU had lawyers in airports helping unjustly detained people. Courts eventually struck down the ban. On Monday, Trump issued a new executive order to restrict travel to the United States from six predominantly Muslim nations, but it failed to alleviate the ACLU’s concerns. The response of ACLU legal director David Cole: “President Trump, we’ll see you in court.”

“My hope is that if this event does anything, it inspires people to take action in their own way,” Steeley said. “There are many worthy organizations in need of funding, many people in need of help. Trump is doing something I’m sure he never thought he’d do. He is bringing people together. Bigly.”

For more information, search for the event on Facebook.

who: American Civil Liberties Union

what: Rock Against Fascism benefit w/ Holy Vedas / Cave Futures / Jesa Dior / Diamond Soul / Jenny and the Housewives

where: Hangar 9

when: Saturday, March 11

Women’s Center's A Taste of Chocolate 2017: Delicious Support for the Women’s Center

The hugely popular, annual A Taste of Chocolate will benefit the Women’s Center Friday, February 3 a
Jennifer “Jay” Bull
Video Comentary

The hugely popular, annual A Taste of Chocolate will benefit the Women’s Center Friday, February 3 at 6 p.m. at the Carbondale Civic Center.

The Women’s Center provides shelter, advocacy services, and counseling for sexual-assault survivors and those escaping abusive situations. In addition, it offers violence-prevention education programs to the community.

A Taste of Chocolate tickets are $35, which includes sweet and savory chocolate tastings from a variety of food vendors.

“The food is really phenomenal and everyone always raves about how amazing it is,” Lindsay Stockhecke, development specialist for the Women’s Center, told Nightlife.

In addition to chocolate, the event also has both silent and live auctions, with proceeds benefitting the Women’s Center. As many as two-hundred items will vary in starting price from $5 to several hundred dollars.

Between the nightmare of Gov. Bruce Rauner holding the Illinois budget hostage, the nightmare that is President Donald Trump, and Republicans everywhere threatening to defund services for women or the needy, fundraising for the Women’s Center is more important than ever.

“With the current [presidential] administration— in the next forty-five days they said they are going to release proposed cuts specifically for services for violence against women,” Stockhecke said.

On January 19, The Hill reported that Trump is considering the elimination of Violence Against Women Act grants.

“We are definitely concerned and we are trying to supplement some of those cuts— both state and federal— and events, fundraising, and donors make a huge difference for us,” Stockhecke said. “Last year we had over four-hundred attendees and raised over $35,000 for the center. We are hoping to top that again this year, because we continue every year to see an increase [in revenue from the Taste of Chocolate], so we are hoping to do that again this year.”

This fundraiser, however, is not only hugely popular because of the cause it supports, but because of the obvious— chocolate.

“The food is a big selling point,” Stockhecke said. “People come and they eat and they shop and we have tons of volunteers that make it run really smoothly. We’ve had this event for over fifteen years, and it’s become something people really look forward to. It’s low-stress, it’s casual, the people that come are in a great mood. Every year it’s been a great event. People know to look forward to great auction items, great food, and a smooth evening.”

Tickets can be purchased online or at the Women’s Center.

“If we don’t sell out, there will be tickets at the door, but typically we do [sell out] and this event is really popular,” Stockhecke said. “We encourage everyone to get tickets ahead of time. We’re also accepting donations for the auction, so if anyone has duplicate Christmas gifts, or a gift card they won’t use, or love creating themed baskets, we’re really excited about highlighting the businesses in the area and including everyone that wants to be included in the auction.”

For more information about the Women’s Center or to purchase Taste of Chocolate tickets, visit <>. Those who cannot attend the Taste can donate financially through PayPal or Facebook, or consider serving as Women’s Center volunteers.

who: Women’s Center

what: A Taste of Chocolate (benefit, banquet)

where: Carbondale Civic Center


when: Friday, February 3

Southern Illinois Alternative Gift Fair 2016: Gifts Worth Giving

More Articles
Alternative Gift Fair 2013
Alternative Gift Fair 2014: Celebrating Ten Years of Giving
Alternative Gift Fair: A Carbondale Holiday Tradition

Who: twenty-five local charities
What: Southern Illinois Alternative Gift Fair
When: 2016-12-11
Looking for something fun for the family? Or just want to do something nice for the holidays? Check
Alexis Estes
Video Comentary

Looking for something fun for the family? Or just want to do something nice for the holidays? Check out the twelfth annual Southern Illinois Alternative Gift Fair Sunday, December 11 at the Carbondale Civic Center.

The Center for a New American Dream came up with the idea of an alternative gift fair for those looking for ways to make the holidays less commercial and more about values. The Southern Illinois Alternative Gift Fair, sponsored by the Social Action Committee of the Carbondale Unitarian Fellowship, was cofounded by Mary Sullivan and the late Margie Parker a dozen years ago. And though times continue to change, the fair’s purpose has always remained the same: To provide gifts that matter, gifts made with love.

This year, twenty-five local not-for-profit organizations will set up tables at the fair to sell items to benefit their work. Their inventory will include calendars, apparel, memberships, handmade arts and crafts, original art, and gift baskets.

This is not just a typical day of shopping— visitors can look forward to refreshments, live music, and performances from the Unitarian Folk Orchestra, the Unitarian Recorder Ensemble, Meridian Ninety, and harpist Joyce Hesketh. Even the silent auction returns this year.

Not only does the fair allow people to buy meaningful material gifts, it also offers participants a chance to really give back to the community by purchasing gift certificates that represent one of the services each charity provides. “For example, the Good Samaritan [House] offers gift certificates that represent a meal at the soup kitchen,” Jess Jobe, organizer of the Alternative Gift Fair, says. The Women’s Center sells hours of counseling for survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault. Shoppers can make donations to pay for a meal or an hour of counseling in honor of friends or relatives, then give the gift certificates as holiday presents.

“If your heart is with children or young people, we have groups represented who serve kids and teens, both locally and overseas,” Jobe says. “If you’re an environmentalist, we have various local charities dedicated to our natural areas and to wildlife. If you are concerned about how some local nonprofits have been affected by the ongoing state-budget crisis, you can support Good Sam, the Women’s Center, Centerstone, the Boys and Girls Club.”

For those who wish to support charities that do work internationally, Jobe mentions gift-fair participants the Marion Medical Mission, For Kids Sake, Teach My Kenyan Children, and Carbondale Unitarian Fellowship’s Zambian AIDS Partnership. And, “If you just want some really good chocolate, we have fair-trade chocolate for sale, too!”

This event has become a tradition, putting a smile on everyone’s face each year. “I love hearing from shoppers and nonprofits that this event is one of their favorite holiday things to do,” Jobe says.

The event continues to honor its late cofounder.

“Margie Parker was a local doer— a faithful member of Church of the Good Shepherd, coordinator of Good Samaritan’s food pantry, and a key member of the Peace Coalition of Southern Illinois,” Jobe says. “If something good and just was happening in Carbondale, Margie probably had a hand in it.”

Parker continues to be missed, and though she is no longer present, the fair commemorates her through a canned-food drive called Margie’s Basket. “We have dedicated the food drive to Margie because she was one of the fair’s founders and she was dedicated to eliminating hunger,” Jobe explains. Fair organizers ask people to donate one nonperishable food item to Margie’s Basket. These donations will go to Southern Illinois’s food-assistance programs.

Amid all the holiday craziness, sticking together and letting loved ones know you’re thinking about them is important. “I think the fair is a great opportunity,” Jobe says, “for families to shop for meaningful gifts together, learn about the work of these great nonprofits, and get into the true spirit of the season of giving.”

For more information, including a full list of participating charities, search for the Southern Illinois Alternative Gift Fair on Facebook.

who: twenty-five local charities

what: Southern Illinois Alternative Gift Fair

where: Carbondale Civic Center


when: Sunday, December 11

Kelly Sims, Mila Maring and Friends: Celebrating A Musical Legacy

Rural Kings

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Venues & Businesses
Old Feed Store, The

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Rural Kings CD Release Party: A Reunion of Family and Friends

Who: Kelly Sims, Mila Maring and Friends
What: Level Best (bluegrass CD release party)
When: 2016-12-09
Pictured: The Rural Kings featuring Mila Maring-Sims and (far right) Kelly Sims.
Jeff Hale
Video Comentary

Southern Illinois acoustic-music icons Kelly and Mila Maring-Sims, along with a host of fellow musical friends and performers, will present their latest CD, Level Best, Friday, December 9 at the Old Feed Store.

Kelly and Mila Maring-Sims have written and performed around Southern Illinois for more than two decades. Now, with the release of their latest CD, Level Best, the notion of music having healing power takes on a whole new meaning as the two attempt to channel it into the fight of a lifetime. Sims, like more than forty-four million people around the world, is currently waging a valiant fight against the devastating effects of Alzheimer’s disease.

As the illness progresses, the healing power of music has been central to the battle that he and his wife put up on a daily basis. Level Best, with its seventeen joy-filled tracks, is a celebration of the music that continues to bring healing into Sims’s life, beginning with its leadoff song, “Still Standing.” Cowritten by Sims and Scottie Palmer and recorded live with an iPhone around the couple’s kitchen table, the song celebrates the strength and endurance of the human spirit.

The album’s remaining tracks follow suit, with sweet harmonies, haunting melodies, and soulful musicianship. From Maring-Sims’s aching lyrical tribute to estate sales, “A Dollar for Your Memories,” to Sims’s heart-wrenching vocals and stirring guitar licks on Doug Anderson’s “Last Ride,” the collection of music runs the entire gamut of human emotion, and leaves nothing unsaid.

“We feel like, with this album, we’re inviting folks to sit down and hear what we’ve been doing for years, which is making music around our kitchen table,” Maring-Sims tells Nightlife. “We’ve talked about doing something like this for many years, but time got away and circumstances became complicated. A friend of ours, Doug Anderson, who used to play with Ol’ Moose and Bone Dry River Band, told us that he was going to be taking a new job in Texas. He told us, ‘I’d like to help you record this. How about if I take care of all the studio work on this, and we make this project with half my tunes and half yours?’ So we mapped out five or six of our songs and five or six of his songs, but we only got through two of his songs before he moved away. It forced me to take a couple of more originals of mine, so between July and two weeks ago we recorded pretty much all of it.”

Level Best’s release is bittersweet for the duo, as, at present, no further performances are planned beyond Friday night’s concert. The unpredictability of Sims’s symptoms has made planning live performances difficult. Maring-Sims tells Nightlife that Doug Anderson wrote “Last Ride,” one of the album’s most touching songs, with this in mind.

Unlike most Alzheimer’s sufferers, Sims has no hereditary history of the disease, which struck when he was just fifty-three years old. (He’s now fifty-eight.) The diagnosis was a shock to both doctors and family, but Maring-Sims hopes that sharing their story will educate people, especially those in rural areas who could fall victim to similar circumstances. Sims probably got Alzheimer’s from complications that arose from a tick-borne illness, Rocky Mountain spotted fever. Sims, however, like a handful of people who contract Rocky Mountain spotted fever, didn’t develop the rash that is one of the disease’s hallmark symptoms.

“When he finally did get antibiotic treatment and all the bacteria was killed out, he had some lasting damage to the blood vessels supplying his brain,” Maring-Sims says. “The neurologist described it as a brain injury resulting from this tick disease. We followed up and went to Mayo Clinic, and they diagnosed him with Alzheimer’s. They said he had developed the classic Alzheimer’s plaques as a result of the Rocky Mountain spotted fever.”

“I say this is a public service,” Maring-Sims adds. “Who in Southern Illinois does not get tick bites? Everyone here gets tick bites, and it’s important to be very mindful of what follows a tick bite. If you have any inkling at all that you aren’t feeling well, if you have any flu-like symptoms, you should really follow up on it. It’s important to get treatment for these tick-borne illnesses. All it takes is a very simple antibiotic. If we had gotten that kind of treatment early on, we probably wouldn’t be where we are today. We want people to know that these tick borne diseases can lead to very dire circumstances and that they should be very mindful of that.”

What has not been lost to Alzheimer’s is the way that Sims’s fingers fly up and down the strings of a guitar.

“Fortunately, with regard to music, Kelly is just so intuitive, and he just feels it,” Maring-Sims days. “That’s all on autopilot for him. It’s ingrained in his soul. We play music every day. He still plays the most amazing licks you’ve ever heard. But we can’t always pick and choose how energetic he’ll be on a given a day. We spend a lot of time tending to our pets now. Music is a key. Music and our pets are very therapeutic for us now. And we are very hopeful. Usually early onset Alzheimer’s progresses very rapidly, and we’ve done really well for five years. There have been gradual and subtle changes. They are marked changes, but we just adapt our day to day lives.”

The Simses’ demonstrate their passion for animals and animal rescue through their not-for-profit organization, the Angelina Foundation, which will benefit from a silent auction held at the concert. In addition, the couple will donate $5 of each $20 ticket to the Cure Alzheimer’s Fund.

“They are very, very efficient and dedicating in directing all of their donated funds toward their mission,” Maring-Sims says. “Their mission is to directly fund cutting-edge research that will ultimately lead to a cure. We really wanted the funds to go toward research, and we are going to have a PayPal link from our song ‘Level Best’ linked to their organization specifically.”

Doug Anderson, Josh Morrison, Mark Stoffel, Nate Graham, Robert Bowlin, Jenny Johnson, Geoff Maring, and Lew Hendrix will join the Simses at the Old Feed Store.

“We are so blessed in so many ways and on so many levels,” Maring-Sims says. “With regard to this project, the musicians have been so gracious in lending their talents and their time. It really is a who’s who of folks that donated to this project. This is definitely a celebration. That’s the spirit with which we embarked upon the project. We’re celebrating all of these folks that have been part of our journey and all of the music that we’ve made around our kitchen table. This may very well be our last project. We don’t have anything else waiting in the wings, so we want this to be a celebration.”

Search Facebook for more about the Angelina Foundation. For more about the Cure Alzheimer’s Fund, go to <>.

who: Kelly Sims, Mila Maring and Friends

what: Level Best (bluegrass CD release party)

where: Old Feed Store


when: Friday, December 9

Hangar 9 • Carbondale: MCA Day w/ DJ Intel / Angry Abe / DJ Pickel / So Ill Communication (Beastie Boys tribute and Blake Bramlett benefit)

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Curtain Call: David Rush’s To My Dear Wife: A Benefit for Morris Library

Venues & Businesses
Morris Library

Who: Friends of Morris Library
What: benefit gala featuring David Rush’s To My Dear Wife (live theater)
When: 2016-10-15 - 2016-10-16
Pictured: David Rush.
Jeff Hale
Video Comentary

The Friends of Morris Library will present their 2016 fundraising gala this Saturday, October 15 and Sunday, October 16. The centerpiece of this year’s event will be a reception followed by the world premiere of To My Dear Wife, the newest play by SIU theater professor emeritus David Rush. The reception begins Saturday at 5:30 p.m., followed by the performance.

Rush is a quiet man who prefers to let the words of his characters do most of his talking. This weekend, his characters’ words will transport audiences to another time, but not another place— back to the Southern Illinois of the bloodiest era in American history, and through the eyes and letters of those who were there. Lovingly crafted by Rush after months of careful research into actual letters held in the Morris Library Special Collections Research Center, the series of monologues in To My Dear Wife will give audiences an authentic feeling of what it was like to live, love, and die in a Southern Illinois of the distant past. It is a labor of love for the lifelong Civil War enthusiast and avid reenactor, and Rush tells Nightlife that this premiere has a very special place in his heart.

“I’m really looking forward to it,” Rush says. “Every year the Friends of Morris Library has a gala where they celebrate their accomplishments and do some fundraising. They usually try to have something one evening that comes from the library’s Special Collections. They have a lot of interesting stuff there— rare books and letters and papers of all sorts. This year they contacted me and asked me if I could write a little play of some sort that came out of the Special Collections. I discovered they have an amazing treasure house of Civil War papers— letters written by soldiers to their wives, diaries, things of that sort. I’ve always been a Civil War buff, and discovering these letters, it seemed an exciting and interesting project to try to create a little play from this collection. I could see an interesting scenario of a soldier writing to his wife and his wife writing back to him. The letters will hopefully tell a story about how the war has changed the husband and how it has changed the wife, and the results of that.”

In a twenty-first century era filled with emails, texts, Snapchats, and Tweets, one might wonder how or why handheld pen-to-paper communications that took weeks or even months for delivery more than a century and a half ago could still hold relevance. Still, Rush feels that letters, particularly wartime letters, continue to be poignant, holding a resonance that reaches off the ink-covered lines across time to touch readers and listeners.

“One of the series of letters that moved me the most as I read it,” Rush recalls, “was interesting to read because the writer’s attitude toward slavery and freeing slaves changed during the course of the war. Early on in the war, he was fighting to protect and save the Union. He wasn’t concerned about blacks and black rights. But as he went through the war and he saw what slavery was really all about, his attitude changed, and toward the end of his letters he began to feel that slavery was wrong and the war was indeed a war of liberation. I find that very moving. I think that type of communication, handwritten communication, is more meaningful because you are attached to the pen. The writing flows from you through the pen to the page. There are more conscious choices made and a more active involvement in the letter. When you type an email your fingers go rapidly over the keys and electronics take control. You’re not as intimately connected to the process. Yes, I think letters were more meaningful.”

Rush says that the writing process was not without its difficulties.

“The interesting thing is that most of the series of letters in these collections are from the husband to the wife, because she was at home keeping them,” Rush says. “Letters from the wife to the husband would reach him wherever he happened to be at the time, on the battlefield, on the march, somewhere moving. Therefore his ability to keep the letters was far less than her ability to save them. The biggest challenge for me with writing this play was to create the wife’s letters to the husband, because I had to base them reacting off things he must have written to her.”

Two local stage favorites, Elyse Pineau and Kevin Purcell, will bring To My Dear Wife to life, providing an emotional look at what it was like to be separated by war and united by love. Local musical favorites Bryan Crow and Mike Shanahan of local Celtic band the Dorians will complete the journey back in time with authentic songs of the Civil War era.

The weekend of Civil War-themed gala fundraising continues Sunday with a brunch at 11 a.m., followed by a short presentation by John A. Logan Museum director Mike Jones. The program will focus on the strategic role Southern Illinois played during this defining era in American history, and will feature artifacts from the period, as well as additional readings from letters and diaries from the time.

Both the Saturday evening performance and the Sunday afternoon presentation will take place in the library’s auditorium and first-floor rotunda.

Tickets are $75 for the gala and $35 for the brunch. Proceeds will benefit the Friends of Morris Library.

For tickets and more information, contact Toni Vagner at (618) 453-2642  or <>.

who: Friends of Morris Library

what: benefit gala featuring David Rush’s To My Dear Wife (live theater)

where: Morris Library


when: Saturday, October 15

Devils Kitchen: Cooking at Touch of Nature’s Buffalo Tro

Venues & Businesses
Touch of Nature

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Treasures of Little Egypt: The Buffalo Tro Raises Money for SIU’s Touch of Nature

Who: Scott Abernathy and Abernathy’s Original Buffalo Tro
What: Buffalo Tro (banquet, benefit)
When: 2016-10-14
The Buffalo Tro, a much-loved annual fundraiser to support SIU’s Touch of Nature, takes place Friday
Jennifer “Jay” Bull
Video Comentary

The Buffalo Tro, a much-loved annual fundraiser to support SIU’s Touch of Nature, takes place Friday, October 14 at 5:30 p.m. Proceeds will benefit Touch’s many activities (including camps) and facilities.

“The Buffalo Tro was started in 1959 or 1960,” chef Scott Abernathy, whose father, William “Doc” Abernathy, helped found Touch of Nature, told Nightlife. “It was created by a man named L.B. Sharp. He’d lived with the Plains Indians where this tradition was developed. That’s how they cooked buffalo meat, on the open coals, for the tribe. Mr. Sharp brought that to SIU.”

Doc Abernathy had personal reasons for one of his plans for Touch of Nature.

“I had a younger brother that was handicapped,” Abernathy said. “My father wanted to start a camp for disabled children.”

While Doc Abernathy had a phenomenal idea, SIU wasn’t financially supportive.

“The school didn’t want to promote it, so [Touch of Nature staff] decided to promote it themselves, so someone said, ‘Let’s do a buffalo throw,’ which is what it was called when it was first started. Everybody thought that was a good idea. The secretary printed up a bunch of fliers for the Buffalo throw, but she thought they said tro. Her fliers came out ‘First Annual Buffalo Tro’ instead of throw, because you throw the meat on the fire. That created a little havoc and it was too late to change it, so they just left it. It was a success, they raised money, the camp really got started.”

So did Touch’s Buffalo Tro tradition.

After Doc Abernathy retired from SIU, he formed a buffalo-throw catering company, Abernathy’s Original Buffalo Tro. Scott Abernathy, who learned the buffalo-throw cooking method from his father, took over the business about twenty years ago, and it’s become a family tradition as well as a university one.

“I have a daughter and her husband and they help me, and my grandson who is nine helps me, so I hope it is going to continue down the generations,” Abernathy said.

The popularity of the tro doesn’t seem to wane over time, and a large part of that is the food itself.

“I marinate the meat for three days at a certain temperature,” Abernathy said. “I never measure anything, it’s all just by sight. I’ve figured out how and when to make the potatoes, the bread itself, the salad dressing— I’ve made things easier. It’s pretty cool work. You get to meet a lot of people.”

Indeed, Abernathy has cooked for George Bush in Texas and the Masters Golf Tournament. But the Buffalo Tro has its disadvantages. “[E]specially in July and August when it is over one-hundred degrees and you are cooking over a fire, you kind of get tired,” Abernathy said.

To make reservations for the Buffalo Tro, visit <> and click on News and Events and then Events and Calendar. The cost is $70, or $500 for a table of eight. Prices are cheaper with earlier registration, and seating is limited. Vegetarian and special diet options are available as well.

The Buffalo Tro includes a reception of light appetizers and beverages. The silent auction and live music will take place from 5:30 p.m. to 7:15 p.m. The evening wraps up with a live auction at 8 p.m.

Get more information at (618) 453-1121 or <>.

who: Scott Abernathy and Abernathy’s Original Buffalo Tro

what: Touch of Nature Environmental Center

where: Buffalo Tro (banquet, benefit)


when: Friday, October 14

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