O’Fallon comes out for first Vine Street Market

By Annabelle Knef and Martha Stoffel

O’FALLON – O’Fallon Stations’ Vine Street Market held its grand opening on Saturday, May 11, and many residents were in attendance.

Residents shopped from various vendors selling plants and flowers, culinary items and artisanal products. Despite the rain and gloom, many stopped to enjoy live music available at the market. 

During the Parks and Environment committee meeting on Monday, the aldermen received an update on the first weekend of the Vine Street Market. 

Despite dreary weather, event organizers estimated 2,200 people attended the opening day of the market. 

Director of Parks and Recreation, Mary Jeanne Hutchison, mentioned a couple of the vendors sold out of their products early in the market.  

“The guys that had the lettuce ran out three times. The bread guy ran out in about two hours,” she said. 

The market has thirty-five culinary, grower and artisan vendors each Saturday from 8:00 a.m. to noon through October 19th. As the area gets further into the growing season, visitors will see a larger selection of produce available. A sponsorship from Avenue Realty Associates will also bring live music to each market day, a performance schedule is located on the O’Fallon Station website.

(O’Fallon Weekly Photos by Annabelle Knef)

View of the Past: A wintry scene in downtown O’Fallon in 1930

This week’s view is a slushy wintry scene, ca. 1930, taken at the corner of State and Lincoln, looking east, in downtown O’Fallon.  On the right in the foreground is the First National Bank, now home to the history museum.  Just beyond it on the corner is Bittles Drug Store.  On the left is Allen’s Stop & Shop Market, now home to Gia’s Pizza, with Schildknecht’s grocery store on the corner in the background.  

Contributed by Brian Keller, O’Fallon Historical Society

Refinery Salon celebrates five years in downtown O’Fallon

The staff of Refinery Salon (Submitted Photo)

By Kate Crutcher

O’FALLON – Starting a business is hard, and finding customers and keeping those customers for years on end is even harder. Refinery Salon did just that as they celebrate their fifth year in operation. 

“I wanted to create something that the industry needed and I had a great team to help me,” owner Whitney Leidner said. 

From nail care to makeup to hair styling, Refinery Salon is there to serve you. Located in the heart of downtown O’Fallon, along East First Street. 

“I was already working at another salon in O’Fallon and I knew, when I opened my own business, that I wanted to be in downtown O’Fallon,” Leidner said. 

With being open for five years now, Refinery Salon has seen some stylists come and go. Now with a staff of 16 stylists, three girls have been there since the very first day the salon opened; Deann Leonard, Taylor Baker and Rae Melton. 

“To be apart of something that is just so different in the industry, just got me so excited,” Melton said. 

Refinery Salon strives to provide a safe, inviting and comfortable environment to each guest that walks through their door. When talking to Leidner, its obvious Refinery Salon has a passion for beauty and health and that drives them to achieve the highest standard of excellence with every guest that sits in their chair. 

“I am excited about where O’Fallon is headed and I think there is going to be a lot of great things in O’Fallon. I believe it is going to be the destination that everyone would like it to become. We have a great group of stylists here. Their number one priority is making sure that the clients get the experience that they are paying for and deserve. The staff here is so dedicated to everyone,” Leidner said. 

View of the Past: Thomas Hardware on East First Street

(Contributed by Brian Keller, O’Fallon Historical Society)

This week’s view is of the interior of Thomas Hardware at 113 E. First Street in downtown O’Fallon, about 1938.  The store was built in 1928, replacing an earlier one that was destroyed by fire.  They seemed to carry just about anything you could want.  But if for some reason they didn’t have that particular thing you needed, they’d order it for you.  “Try Thomas First” was their motto.  Thomas’s was a fixture in downtown until it closed in 1999.  Today, the building is home to Shooter’s Bar and BBQ, a downtown fixture in its own right.(

For more, stop by the O’Fallon Historical Museum, located at 101 West State Street. The Museum is open Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays, from 1 p.m. until 4 p.m. and by appointment.

O’Fallon City Council approves food truck ordinance, tax levy

Mayor Herb Roach and Mayor for the Day Ryan Lotz presented retiring council members Matthew Smallheer, Richie Meile and Andrew Lopinot with plaques for their service to the O’Fallon community. All three aldermen were elected to St. Clair County positions in last month’s elections. Lopinot has served Ward 5 since May 2017, Smallheer has served Ward 4 since May 2015, Meile has served Ward 1 since May 2011.
(O’Fallon Weekly Photo by Martha Stoffel)

By Martha Stoffel

O’FALLON – The O’Fallon City Council approved the mobile food vendor ordinance Monday night with a vote of 8-4. Discussions surrounding regulation of food trucks, specifically in downtown O’Fallon, has been ongoing since September.  

At the last city council meeting, a motion was approved for the ordinance to be sent back to the Community Development Committee for a second reading. Lengthy discussion took place at last week’s Community Development Committee meeting between committee members, other council members, staff and residents. Ultimately, the committee voted to send the ordinance to council for second reading with no changes. 

The ordinance establishes that each food truck will be required to get an annual mobile food truck license through the city that will cost $125, as well as a $25 annual food license. The license will be issued by the City Clerk’s office and will require appropriate permits from the county health department before issuance. The license covers from May 1st – April 30th of each fiscal year. 

A special event permit will be required for a food truck to operate at any time in the city of O’Fallon. The permit will be issued through the Community Development Department, after approval by City Council. The council will review each event permit (for at least the first year) and will be able to put in place any specific restrictions (location, time, date etc.) necessary at that time and on a case-by-case basis. The special event permit may be requested by an individual food truck or the event organizer, this will include events organized by the O’Fallon Parks and Recreation Department. It was clarified at the committee meeting that multiple events, at the same location by the same organizer, could be approved under one special event permit. 

Ward 3 alderman Matthew Gilreath took time during discussion at Monday’s council meeting to explain why he would be voting no on the ordinance. Gilreath expressed intent to take care of the people that have been in town and invested in our town, but also recognized we have a community where new things can happen and we can have opportunities to have new developments and new businesses. 

“I think we’re getting into too much government reach. I think we need to definitely have things like licenses…traffic control and where they are allowed to set-up. Putting it into our hands with the special event permits gives us too much oversight. I don’t think we need to pick and choose who we allow and who we don’t allow. I think if somebody has private property, and it’s zoned for business, and somebody wants to have a food truck up there that should be their right.”

Gilreath also reminded council he has brought up at previous committee meetings a desire to see some exemptions in place regarding food trucks for businesses that have brick and mortar locations in O’Fallon. 

Ward 6 alderman Ned Drolet also mentioned his problem with the perception of a portion of the ordinance, and that he would also be voting no. Aldermen Smallheer and Meile resigned prior to the meeting, so they were unable to vote. Ward 2 Aldermen Jerry Albrecht and Bob Kueker joined Gilreath and Drolet in voting no, but there were enough votes for the ordinance to pass. 

Council also approved the 2018 tax levy. The proposed tax levy request is $6,688,900, a 0.86% increase from 2017. A tax levy request is based on a dollar amount, not a rate, so the city tax rate will be determined upon final calculation by the county of the City’s total Equalized Assessed Valuation (EAV) from property assessments. The tax rate will not be set by the county until April 2019, so it is unclear what the actual rate will be at this time. Despite the 0.86% increase to the levy, staff is projecting the city’s tax rate to go down slightly from last year because of the 1.1% total increase to the rate setting EAV currently estimated by the county assessor’s office.

Tinsel around Town – A Downtown O’Fallon Shopping Event

O’FALLON-SHILOH – The O’Fallon-Shiloh Chamber of Commerce is pleased to take part in Tinsel Around Town on Saturday, December 8th noon – 4 p.m. in downtown O’Fallon.  

Get wrapped up in the holiday ambiance as you shop local, enjoy strolling carolers and live music, and warm up by the fire pit. 

Plan on coming Downtown to enjoy many of these activities:

10am: Kissing Ball Holiday Décor class @ the new O’Fallon Station ($40 Register with Parks and Rec)

12-4pm: Tinsel Around Town, a downtown shopping event

1-3pm: Art with Mimi:  Cookies and Crafts at the New O’Fallon Station (Free)

12-8pm: Storytime with Mrs. Claus, enjoy stories on the half hour and photos with Mrs. Claus at Avenue Realty (203 E First St)

5-8pm: Holiday Horse & Carriage Rides on First Street (SOLD OUT)

5-7:30pm: An Evening with Santa @ O’Fallon Station ($20 Register with Parks and Rec)

In addition to shops and restaurants offering specials and goodies, music will fill the air as the O’Fallon Township High School Madrigals roam First Street from noon – 4 pm serenading shoppers and the OTHS Jazz Band performs from 12-1pm on E First Street across from Refinery Salon. 

The best way to keep up with Tinsel Around Town is to like the event on Facebook or visit our website www.tinselaroundtown.com.  

We hope to see you in Downtown O’Fallon this holiday season!

View of the Past: Welcome Home Celebration for World War I veterans in downtown O’Fallon

This week’s view was taken in O’Fallon in 1919, looking north up Lincoln Avenue from First Street.  The downtown area was all decked out for the welcome home celebration for World War I veterans held on Labor Day, Sept. 1, of that year.  Professional decorators from St. Louis were even brought in to make sure things looked just right.  Featured were two parades, plenty of food, music, dancing, movies and vaudeville acts with over 100 veterans as guests of honor.  7,000 others joined them in what was the biggest celebration ever in O’Fallon up to that time.    

(Contributed by Brian Keller, O’Fallon Historical Society)

O’Fallon Rotary Clubs celebrate Halloween with annual parade

O’FALLON – Hundreds of local residents gathered downtown on Saturday, Oct. 27 for the O’Fallon Rotary children’s Halloween parade and costume contest. 

The parade began at 12:30 p.m. at the corner of State and Vine street and ended at the corner of East First and Vine street. The costume contest prize awards were given following the parade at the corner of East First and Vine street. 

The costume contest categories were: decorated bicycles/ wagons, super heroes and villains, cartoons and movies, children under three, scariest, floats, family and pets. There were first, second and third place medals in each category and an additional first, second, third and fourth places for the overall best costume. 

There was also trick-or-treating downtown at over 30 merchants and businesses. 

The parade event was organized by O’Fallon’s three Rotary clubs: Rotary Sunrise Club, Rotary Noon Club and Rotary Sunset Club as well as downtown businesses.

Downtown O’Fallon to receive more parking

By Martha Stoffel

O’FALLON – It was announced at Monday evening’s City Council meeting that Downtown O’Fallon will see the addition of twelve parking spots by month-end. 

The downtown Metro bus lane was recently turned over to the city after being deemed unnecessary. Removal of the bus lane began last week and will be converted into parking spaces on either side of the Chamber of Commerce building on East First Street.