Ring The Bell: Southern Illinois Orchard to Celebrate 150 Years with Bell Ringing Ceremony

Wayne and Michelle Sirles of Rendleman Orchards sit on the Farm Market front porch and hold peaches.
Alto Pass, ILL - Hundreds of bells have been ordered in anticipation of the Sesquicentennial Rendleman Orchards Bell Ringing Ceremony. 

One hundred and fifty years and five generations later the farm purchased in 1873 by John and Isabelle Rendleman has expanded their acreage, up to 850 from the original 88, as well as their wholesale and community offerings. 

June 28, 2023, will celebrate a century and a half of agricultural and personal tenacity.

Illinois Lt. Governor Juliana Stratton describes how Rendleman Orchards, located in the southernmost part of the state, exemplifies what makes agriculture in Illinois so great. “It is about fostering connections to the land by providing food, as well as providing spaces to bring communities together,” she says.

With a variety of state and local presenters, live dance, and musical performances, the ceremony will begin at 3 p.m. and will honor the past, present, and future of Rendleman Orchards and the village of Alto Pass, Illinois.

“We are delighted to celebrate this remarkable accomplishment with Wayne and Michelle Sirles and their family,” said SIU Carbondale Chancellor Austin A. Lane, one of the special guests for the bell-ringing ceremony.

“They embody what it means to be Salukis, imagining a better world and their role in it,” Lane notes. 

Another avid Rendleman Orchards supporter, Illinois State Senator Dale Fowler says, “Through hard work and perseverance, the great depression, and various economic factors, this multigenerational family has overcome it all and it’s important we celebrate them for their 150 years." 

He describes gratitude over being able to welcome Michelle and Wayne to the Illinois State Capitol to recognize their family on the Senate floor in April of this year. "The continued investments and growth into their family orchard have a major impact not only when it comes to providing produce for the entire state, but the region as a whole."

Presently, visitors converge on the orchard to enjoy their locally grown produce, famous peach smoothies, apple cider donuts, and immersive u-pick flower fields. Rendleman Orchards officially kicks off its 150th season on June 24.

Anticipating a busy Sesquicentennial season, Michelle Sirles, fifth generation and Vice President, says “It has been truly exciting to prepare for the gravity of this milestone.”  She describes revisiting old farm photos, researching family history, and uncovering new heritage and artifacts during the process. 

“It has been a gift and a great reminder to slow down and celebrate the people, the opportunities, and the support we’ve been shown that have gotten us here.” 

With music, food, and beverage vendors scheduled for the day, those attending are encouraged to arrive early and enjoy the farm with shuttle buses available to assist with parking. 

For more information about the orchard visit www.rendlemanorchards.com 

Additional inquiries can be sent to:

Michelle Sirles, VP/Owner/5th gen
Rendleman Orchards, Inc.
Cell: (618)697-1715

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