Oregon Trail Days July 16-18
By Jim Hagerty
This weekend, Oregon, Ill., will be bustling with festival-goers and Native American enchantment as the Oregon Trail Days festival kicks off Friday, July 16, at Lowden State Park, 1411 N. River Road, Oregon, Ill.
The event begins at 6 p.m. inside the Outdoor Saloon and Eatery. Country bands Lyle Grobe’s Rhythm Ramblers, Smokin’ Gunz and a Johnny Cash impersonator will perform to open the festival.
A variety of food and authentic merchandise vendors will be on hand to complement storytelling by local historians, camping, covered wagon rides through historic Oregon and some of the most popular Native American cultural exhibitions in the Midwest.
Native American demonstrations will feature 10 hours of flute playing, drumming, dancing, crafts and arrowhead making. Predatory bird exhibitions, lectures on the history of Black Hawk, canoe rides and a horse parade will be held Saturday.
Saturday’s entertainment lineup also includes performances by whip champions Christ and Laura Camp, Dr. Dan Barth, a medicine man, magician and ventriloquist, and country balladeer Bob Krouse. Trick-shot artist and gun-spinner Garrett Popek will also display his flashy skills Saturday.
The festival wraps Sunday after a Lions Club Breakfast, canoe rally and 8K run.
Oregon Trail Days was created in 2009 to raise awareness of Oregon as a tourism hot spot and celebrate the Native American and Western heritage of the city. The festival also raises funds to maintain the statue of Chief Black Hawk, which was designed by artist Lorado Taft in 1910. At 48 feet, the sculpture is the second-tallest monolith in the United States and a nationally-recognized monument. It is in need of restoration, which officials estimate could cost between $300,000 and $400,000.
A $5 cover charge is required for admission to Friday entertainment. Admission is free the rest of the weekend. Gates open at 10 a.m., Saturday and 7 a.m., Sunday. More information about Oregon Trail Days can be found at oregontraildays.org.
From the July 14-20, 2010 issue
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