As part of the 250th anniversary of St. Louis, 250 fiberglass cakes will be displayed this year throughout the region to help celebrate the milestone.
Many of the cakes are already viewable throughout the 15-county region, and now Monroe County joins them with two cakes designed by local enthusiasts and artists.
Due to this enthusiasm, Monroe County earned the privilege of displaying two “stl250” cakes: one for the Monroe County Welcome Center in Columbia, and one to be displayed on the Monroe County Courthouse lawn.
Both cakes were on display last week inside the Monroe County Welcome Center (former Shoemaker Schoolhouse) after they were finished up and are now on display in their respective locations.
Patricia Riess, coordinator of the welcome center, said many people and different organizations have been involved along the way to get these cakes designed and installed.
Nora Feuquay, Community and Economic Development Educator for the University of Illinois Extension Office in Monroe County, said the second cake was awarded to Monroe County because of a wave of write-in votes at stl250.org, which came about through the efforts of Monroe County Board Chairman Delbert Wittenauer.
“He really wanted us to be able to make this a county-wide thing and not just have one in Waterloo,” Feuquay said. “We’re really trying to promote the welcome center as well because it hasn’t been open too long.”
She thinks having a cake sitting out front would really make a good attraction for people to stop by and visit, along with being able to see the welcome center and what it offers.
The cakes were designed and painted by Riess, Valmeyer High School student Michaela Clifton and Waterloo High School graduate and current Webster University student Michaela Finnerty.
Riess described the cake she worked on with Clifton, detailing how the use of children dancing and brick symbolizes the old Monroe County one-room schoolhouses.
Their cake has photographs of various recognizable county locations that represent each town, such as Rock City symbolizing Valmeyer.
The base of the cake has representations of local parks and recreation, including a painted dog, Cahokia Mounds and Salt Lick Trail.
She said they looked for tourist attractions to include, along with representations of how towns in Monroe County got started.
The cake Finnerty designed and painted for the courthouse lawn is very different from the Riess-Clifton cake.
She designed and painted the whole cake in just one day while she was on spring break.
“I picked community names and put things like the Maeystown bridge and Fort Piggott on the cake,” she said.
Her cake also includes painted county landmarks like Miles Cemetery and an ear of corn to represent the region’s agriculture.
“She did an incredible job,” Riess said of Finnerty’s cake. “I’ve never seen an artist who is so spot on.”
All paint and materials to put the cakes together were donated by Dennis Riess Wallcoverings and Painting.
For a full listing of cake locations, updated daily, visit www.stl250.org/cake-leaderboard.aspx.