Today we drove to the village of Homer, IL (population 1,200) to guzzle shots of gourmet flavored soda at the Soda Festival.
There’s lots of small-town charm to be found in Homer.
Like this guy relaxing in the shade wearing a Soda Festival T-shirt.
Admission to the festival itself is free, but you need tickets to taste sodas. We spent $4.00 on sixteen tickets, which bought us eight soda shots (one ticket per shot, or $. 25 each) and one bottle of cold soda (eight tickets per bottle, or $2.00 each) from the booths lining Homer’s downtown.
We tried several shots including: sour cherry, grape, banana, spicy ginger, salted caramel root beer, black cherry, birch beer, and watermelon. After that, Dan opted for a full bottle of ice cold Huckleberry soda from one of the vendors.
The huckleberry soda was pretty darn tasty; the banana and watermelon sodas were just plain odd; and the spicy ginger and black cherry sodas were my favorites of the day.
The festival is hosted by the Homer Soda Company, a small business on Main Street. We stepped inside, grabbed a six-pack carrier, and picked out a few bottles to take home. (Pay no attention to the hideous wallpaper in our kitchen.)
Outside the store, we found some people standing around a statue of Elvis.
Elvis had left the building, but he was not for sale.
Inside the store, the shelves were already looking bare. Hard to believe when they had so many bottles trucked in for the event.
— Homer Soda Festival (@HomerSodaFest) May 30, 2014
There’s more than just pop at the event, however. Live music, a mini Coca-Cola museum, and classic cars added to the charm.
These ladies were pretty darn good. I don’t recall the group’s name, but I thought I heard the announcer call them Emily and the Wheat Thins.
While we were standing around sucking down soda, a train came through downtown.
It was a fun, cheap excursion for a Saturday afternoon. I’m pretty sure we’ll be going back next year.
Photos: Dan Poehlman