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Arcola Broomcorn Festival celebrates its 50th anniversary | Entertainment

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ARCOLA The organizers of the upcoming Arcola Broom Corn Festival plan to offer a mix of favorite and new activities as they celebrate 50 years of this annual event.

The 50th festival is scheduled to begin with the craft and food vendors opening at 10 a.m. on Friday and then continue until 5 p.m. on Sunday downtown. The carnival will open every day at noon.

Arcola is getting ready for the football season.


CLAY JACKSON, HERALD & REVIEW


Long-time Broom Corn volunteer Pat Monahan said this event began in the early 1970s when Arcola became one of the first communities in the area to hold an annual fixed-date fall festival, the weekend after Labor Day in this case. He said the Arcola Festival has been fortunate over the decades to have many dedicated volunteers.






1971 party

The Broom Corn Palace is on East Main Street in downtown Arcola during the 1971 Broom Corn Festival. The 2021 festival is scheduled from Friday September 10 to Sunday September 12 as the event celebrates its 50th anniversary.


H&R FILE PHOTO


“I think the future of the Broom Corn Festival is going to be bright. Everyone is really proud of it and they want to see it continue and thrive,” Monahan said in one of the many festival history videos posted on the site. Facebook page of the Arcole Chamber of Commerce.

House Executive Director Angie Miller said last year would have been the 50th festival, but the cancellation due to the COVID-19 pandemic led to the celebration being moved to this year.

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Miller said the celebration will include a new activity with the Coles-Moultrie Electric Co-op offering captive balloon rides Saturday afternoon downtown, weather permitting. She said the balloon could also fly over the 5-mile and 10-mile running races starting at 8 a.m. on Saturday at Moore Park.






Sweeping competition

A crowd watches the National Broom Sweeping Contest at the Arcola Broom Corn Festival 2016. The sweeping contest at 4pm on Friday September 10 will help kick off the 2021 festival, which runs through Sunday September 12 in downtown Arcola.


JG-TC FILE PHOTO


The national broom sweeping competition at 4 p.m. Friday will be among the returning activities. The festival and this competition honor Arcole’s heritage as a center of broom corn cultivation and broom production. The festival has also hosted a national craft broom competition in recent years, with entries submitted by artisans from across the country.

On the official Broom Corn program, the annual parade at 3pm on Saturday is billed as a “huge parade”.

“The parade is always a big draw for us. We have one of the biggest parades in central Illinois,” Miller said, adding that the procession’s long route winds through town and offers plenty of points of view. seen. She said new additions to this year’s 50th festival parade will include a “Jurassic Park” style Jeep and a “Back to the Future” style DeLorean.

Volunteers John “Corky” and Billie Jean Clark will serve as Parade Marshals and will also be honored at a reception at 3 pm Friday.

The Broom Corn parade will also again feature a large contingent of Lawn Rangers from Arcola, a precision lawn mower team founded in 1980. Co-founder Monahan said their team started out as a group of ” rowdy “parade riders who decided to find a part to play in the procession.

“We kind of assessed our level of talent and decided, well, that probably pushing mowers and spinning brooms was the extent of our ability,” said Monahan. Yet the attention they garnered ultimately led the team to parading in the 2003 Chicago St. Patrick’s Day Parade with US Senate candidate Barack Obama and his 2009 Presidential Inaugural Parade in Washington DC. .

Other activities at Broom Corn will include live music throughout the weekend in the beer tent and a free concert by the Eagles Rockin ‘Chair tribute band at 2 p.m. Sunday on the Oak Street stage. This scene will also be the site of an event in honor of the first responders on Saturday at noon, on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the September 11 attacks.

Contact Rob Stroud at 217-238-6861.

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