From press release
OREGON, Ill.—Handmade craft items, a parade, and lots of food are just three of the attractions awaiting visitors to Oregon’s Autumn on Parade festival Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 2-3.
The festival, which started with a handful of vendors selling bittersweet and apples in 1970, is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year. It continues to be organized and run by an all-volunteer committee, and is funded through sponsorships, donations, booth fees and food court revenues.
“The fact that we are celebrating our 40th year is a real testament to all of the people who have volunteered countless hours to bring this festival to our community,” said Debbie Dickson, Autumn on Parade president. “This really is a labor of love by all the committee members and all the volunteers who work each year to make sure this ever-popular festival continues.”
The festival draws close to 40,000 visitors to its town of 4,100, and has evolved into one of the most popular and largest festivals in northwestern Illinois—and its key attractions are still free.
The heart of the festival is the Farmers’ Market and Craft Fair, which features upward of 150 vendors selling a variety of arts and crafts ranging from handmade wood items to homemade baked breads.
Booths are located around the lawn of the historic Ogle County Courthouse and surrounding streets. There is no charge for admission.
The festival also includes a car and tractor show, fine art show, Olde English Faire, as well as plenty of handmade and homemade treats.
Ornamental produce, painted items, jewelry, soaps, candles, antiques and seasonal items are just a few of the hundreds of items that can be found throughout the craft show.
Visitors to Autumn on Parade can also partake of a variety of scrumptious treats in the Food Court, where local not-for-profit organizations prepare their specialties each year.
Apple fritters, pork chop and ribeye sandwiches, funnel cakes, bratwurst and gyros are just some of the items offered by service agencies and clubs from Oregon and Ogle County.
“The festival is one of the major fund-raising events for most of the agencies or groups that are in our food court,” said Dickson. “The AOP Committee recognizes that and continues to limit participation in the food court to local not-for-profits.”
If you love a parade, make sure to mark your calendar for Sunday, Oct. 3—that’s when Autumn on Parade’s annual Harvest Time parade will march down the streets of Oregon.
The annual event has approximately 125 entries each year, and is known as one of the most entertaining parades in the region.
“We’ll be having top-notch entertainment again this year,” said Dickson. “The Jesse White Tumblers will be returning, as well as the South Shore Chicago Drill Team—another crowd favorite.”
Marching bands, clowns, queens and local floats also participate in the parade each year.
Tours of the recently-renovated Ogle County Courthouse will also be offered from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday.
Additional Autumn on Parade events include: Olde English Faire at Stronghold Castle; Fine Art Show; Auto Show; Tractor Classic; Fun Zone for kids; 5k Run and Fun Run; and the AOP Duck Dash.
For more information, visit autumnonparade.org or call (815) 732-3465.
From the Sept. 29-Oct. 5, 2010 issue