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Fall Arrives Bringing Brilliant Colors and Timing Could Be
Crucial for Viewing This Year
It’s official, the season of swimsuits and shorts has come to an end as September 23, 2023 is the first day of the fall season. We now find ourselves amidst fall festivals, pumpkin patches and the ever so popular pumpkin spice lattes, ice cream and cakes. If you’re looking to take that scenic drive, there will be no shortage of colorful trees to see this year, but timing could make all the difference.
With the warmer than usual summer weather and the lack of rain in some areas may result in a slight decrease of vibrant colors with a shorter timeframe to view the autumn display. So, whether you drive the scenic route down the River Road to Grafton Illinois or decide to stay local and take in the sights strolling through Wilson Park in Granite City during the peak of the leaves changing, grab your pumpkin spiced something and take in the sights. The peak for viewing is expected to be mid-October, when maples, ashes, oaks and hickories turn. By mid-November, colors typically begin to fade, and leaves start to drop from the trees.
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The Long Journey Home
Hummingbirds typically arrive in the Metro East area April through May, and often nest and raise their young in a familiar area in which they were born. With shorter daylight hours and cooler temperatures, usually mid August through early October they are preparing for the long journey home. With flowers slowly disappearing and the population of tiny insects in rapid decline, this triggers the need to migrate.
It is recommended to keep Hummingbird feeders out until Thanksgiving. These incredible tiny birds can fly up to 60 miles per hour with their wings beating 200 times per second. The Hummingbirds will seek out places to feed during their long migration south to Mexico and Central America for the winter.
A Rare Spotting in Illinois Over the Weekend
Have you ever looked up at the nighttime sky just in time to see a sight you have never seen before? Away from the city lights in the quiet late night hours we sat lakeside taking in the silence interrupted by only a gentle breeze blowing through the trees and the sounds of distant crickets and frogs across the lake.
Watching the silhouettes of the trees lit from the moon in the distance, to look up just in time to catch an occasional shooting star feels like a small gift from mother nature. This particular night what we first thought was a shooting star ended up being anything but.
Finding ourselves, both pointing at the sky while scrambling to capture the perfect image, we could only repeat the words “what is that”. We watched this perfect line of bright white lights, all in unison like a long flowing tail of a kite. One moment it was there and the next, light by light the string disappeared into the nighttime sky. There is usually an explanation far less great than the imagination for such sightings, and this time was no exception.
With a little detective work, we soon learned that this brilliant string of lights ended up being Starlink satellites, which were launched the Thursday before our sighting over the weekend. Perhaps not as grand of an explanation as our imaginations were creating in the moment, but in the long run we were still happy with the sighting and for the experience. I guess it’s the small things in life that count the most, the perfect weather and a night under the stars, and I must include, the biggest catch of the night, was mine!
With Shorter Days and a Chill in the Morning Air, September Settles into the City
As area children gather for the school bus, we are beginning to notice a crispy chill in the morning air. In no time at all we will be trading the summer shorts and sandals for pants and warmer shoes. With Labor Day in the rearview mirror, the unofficial end of summer has arrived.
Since the summer solstice, June 21, we began to lose about one minute of daylight a week. By October the sun will be setting around 6:30 every evening. Sunday November 5th will end daylight savings time and the clocks will “fall back” giving us all an extra hour of sleep.
Although the summer season may be over in the city, there is much to look forward to that only Granite City can provide. Our community ushers in the fall like no other and the festivities continue on. Civic Park in the “District” (downtown Granite City) stays busy with the Melting Pot Market with the last market of the 2023 season being November 4th. The Music in the Park series continues every Wednesday through September 27.
October is an entire month of Magic and Mayhem that beckons goblins of all ages to participate. Every Saturday in October the celebrations of the season are in full swing starting with the Ghostly Glow Parade on the 7th. The following Saturday the 14th, will have the Creepy Crawl Scavenger Hunt and the Great Inflatable Race. Saturday the 21st is the Ghouls Night Out, Kiss tribute concert by Rocket Ride. Saturday the 28th wraps up the month of Magic and Mayhem with a Nightmare on Niedringhaus, a children’s costume parade with candy, fun and games.
In the month of November, you can easily find Chili Cook offs, indoor markets and several Fall Festival events around the area. December in Granite City you’ll feel the excitement in the air with the Santa Parade that ushers the jolly old soul into town, a decades old tradition.
Although the seasons are changing, and the leaves will begin to turn, the city stays alive with activities and celebrations and long-standing traditions that is a cherished reminder of what makes Granite City home.
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Mom and Pop Businesses Priorities Shift Through the Decades
It may be a sign of the times, or it could be a shift in attitude post the Covid 19 pandemic. Area patrons are learning to ignore the hours of operation advertised and that calling ahead is now a necessary part of making plans. Even during high inflation rates and shrinking profit margins, many small business owners made the choice to close up shop not only Labor Day but extended their closures from Friday through Tuesday or Wednesday of next week.
Whether the way we do business is a result of abbreviated hours of operation during the mandatory closures from the pandemic, or an actual change in the way business owners value their time off with family, the shift is here and we have certainly witnessed the clocks being turned back decades.
Apparently, gone are the times of planning a holiday meal outside of the house unless you have an appetite for visiting a fast-food chain style restaurant. This new business model is not exclusive to the Labor Day Weekend holiday but is often happening in the area for most holidays now and in some cases these closures are the result of family functions and little league sports games.
Obviously, the area is suffering from a shortage of employees that is affecting all businesses and not just the fast-food industry and family-owned mom and pop style restaurants. Area pharmacies that were once open 24 hours have even cut back their hours of operation. It appears the luxury of being able to shop a department store or a grocery store past 10:00 or 11:00 in the evening will never return. It also appears that being able to sit down inside of an actual restaurant and order a meal late evening is just one more thing added to the list of things from the past. Fall is around the corner, and we will soon be ushering in 2024, when in all actuality it can feel more like 1970 on repeat.
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Everyone please join us wishing Ann & Lavern Flanigan Happy 70th Wedding Anniversary.
September 19, 2023
Sent with love to Grandma & PawPaw, from Beccy, the grandkids and great grandkids!
Historical Downtown Granite City, “The District” at Night
Once the sun goes down and the stars come out, the traffic all but comes to a stop in the downtown streets and the silence of the night settles over the city. Time slows down and it’s a great time to take in the surroundings with more attention than just a passing glance. To see more images click here.
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We thank you for visiting GraniteCityGossip.com, celebrating over seventeen years of service to our community, August 2006 – August 2023
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Website last updated September 23,2023