Hanging at the Homer Soda Festival 2014

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.

Homer IL water tower

Like this guy relaxing in the shade  wearing a Soda Festival T-shirt.

homer IL post office

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.

americana huckleberry soda

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 statue in Homer IL

Elvis had left the building, but he was not for sale.

Elvis is 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.


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.

live music at Homer Soda Fest

While we were standing around sucking down soda, a train came through downtown.

homer soda festival crowd

It was a fun, cheap excursion for a Saturday afternoon. I’m pretty sure we’ll be going back next year.

homer IL

Photos: Dan Poehlman

Emily Suess

Emily Suess is a copywriter living in Urbana, Illinois. She blogs about cooking, writing, fibromyalgia, and life in Chambana.

3 thoughts on “Hanging at the Homer Soda Festival 2014

  1. I paid at attention to nothing but the hideous wallpaper in your kitchen. Ha-ha!

    One of the things I love most about road trips is passing through towns like this one. When I drove up to Detroit 3 weeks ago, I passed through a lot of towns like Homer near the Indiana/Michigan border. I’m sure if I lived there, I’d spend my entire life trying to leave. But as an outsider, I can’t help but think these towns are adorable.

  2. Having grown up the first 18 years of my life in a town of about 7,000 people, I know exactly what you’re talking about. I have no desire to live in a town so small (heck, I even had qualms about moving to Champaign-Urbana), but I do love to visit them.

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