Southern Illinois Boat and Fishing Show raises money for charities

MARION, Ill. (KBSI) – The Southern Illinois Boat and Fishing Show is more than what the name may suggest.

Visit SI Executive Director Ashlee Spiller said the boat and fishing show helps fulfill one of Visit SI’s missions. 

“Putting back into the community is something that we strive for each and every day, giving back to the two charities that the show is actually for: Gum Drops of Southern Illinois and the Haven.” 

Gum Drops, founded by Amy Simpson of Carterville, provides a weekend backpack of child-friendly food to help enhance the quality of life for at-risk children throughout Southern Illinois. 

Simpson greatly appreciates the opportunity to help spread the word about Gum Drops. 

“They actually came to us a couple years ago and asked if we would like to be a part of this, and we love the opportunity to tell the community what we’re about in Southern Illinois, and they give us a great opportunity to do that all weekend,” she said.

Wayne Madson of American Legion Post 321 says the 5th Division makes sure the funds that the Haven receives through the boat and fishing show are put to good use. 

“It basically just helps keep the building functioning,” he said. “We’ve got maintenance, upkeep for the building. It’s on federal land so we’ve got to keep it up to federal standards, and it’s so we can keep working for our veterans when we utilize that place.” 

And with everything an angler or boater could possibly need, there is something for everyone at the Southern Illinois Boat and Fishing Show. 

“It is the kickoff to spring for us,” Spiller said. “The weather is starting to be a little warmer toward the end of this week, so we’re really glad that we’re seeing some of those temperatures to bring people out and about, maybe get that little itch to get out on the lake or out on the jet ski, or maybe just to hang around outdoors, but there’s lots of things here to help you get out and about.” 

The show continues through Sunday from 10 am to 3 pm.

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