As the leaves start to turn color, the all-volunteer Autumn on Parade committee is heading for the finish line preparing for this year’s festival, slated for Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 6-7, in Oregon.
“We’ve been very, very busy finalizing details for the festival,” said Marseyne Snow, president. “We have our great traditional line-up of entertaining activities geared to please everyone.”
The heart of Autumn on Parade is its Farmer’s Market and Craft Fair, located on the Ogle County Courthouse Square and surrounding streets in downtown Oregon.
Handmade, homemade and homegrown items as well as many other kinds of unique items are available for purchase from the 190-plus vendors.
Following this year’s theme “It’s Magical”, entertainers will be around the Courthouse Square on Saturday to delight the crowd with their comedy routines, bubble show, and juggling/balancing shows.
On Saturday, antique tractors and classic cars will be on display at Oregon Park East, just across the Rock River on River Road.
Owners of Olivers, Farmalls, and Deeres are more than willing to share the history of their tractors.
Focus House is coordinating this year’s car show and visitors can see an archery demonstration by the Sauk Valley archers.
Chana School Tours
Visitors can also tour the Chana School on Saturday, also located at Park East. This unique two-room school, built in 1883, is celebrating its 135th birthday this year. Lunch will also be available on site.
Donut Eating Contest
Marking the third year at the festival is a Donut Eating Contest on Saturday. “If you or your children love eating donuts, here is your chance to do what you love and make a little money,” said Snow.
The Create-A-Canvas event will be held at Franklin Street Pub on Saturday night. Those participating will receive step-by-step instruction on how to paint a keepsake painting that reflects the fall festival.
Fun Zone for Kids
On both days, the Fun Zone, located just west of the Courthouse Square, offers a place for kids to burn off some energy. Attractions this year are: the Mega 18’ Single Lane Dry Slide; a 45’ Dual Lane Obstacle Course; and a Bungee Run.
The Fun Zone for kids has been moved closer to the Farmer’s Market this year to make it more convenient for families attending the festival, Snow said.
“And we’ve expanded the Fun Zone to include face-painting and a magician,” she said.
Times are Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 7 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Wristbands are required for entry to the Fun Zone inflatables and cost $8 during AOP weekend.
Save time and money and buy your wristbands for $5 prior to the festival weekend at the Nash Recreation Center in Oregon prior to the AOP weekend.
Hungry? Don’t forget to stop by the Food Court, which includes a variety of choices from booths run by local not-for-profit organizations. Pork chop sandwiches, gyros, ribeye steak sandwiches, and homemade apple fritters are just some of the menu items.
The Food Court is located on Jefferson Street, south of the courthouse square, between Fourth and Fifth streets.
Paddlewheel Boat Rides
The Pride of Oregon, an authentic paddlewheel riverboat, will be offering sightseeing and dinner trips on Saturday.
Olde English Faire
Want to take a trip back to the Renaissance? The Stronghold Camp and Retreat Center, once the home of Chicago Daily News owner Walter Strong, will transform itself from a modern retreat and meeting facility to the site of an Olde English Faire.
Wandering players will perform both onstage and off as crafters and merchants display their wares.
Minstrels will fill the pathways and stages with melodies while children gather in the Gremlin’s Garden for stories and other children’s activities.
Gates shall open at 9 a.m. and close at 4 p.m. The Faire shall conclude at 5:30 p.m.
Admission prices for a one-day ticket are: adults $10 and children ages, 7-12, $5. There is no charge for children age 6 and under.
All proceeds will go towards renovating the castle!
Tours of the Castle will give visitors a chance to explore the Great Hall, the circular Library and to discover the secret passageway.
Shuttle service will be available on Saturday to transport visitors at the festival to and from the riverboat, car/tractor show, and Stronghold for a one-time fee of $2.
Sunday morning starts with a 5K race and a one-mile fun run.
At 1 p.m., on Sunday the Harvest Time Parade, featuring 100-plus units, makes its way through the downtown and past the courthouse square.
Harvest Time Parade
The Jesse White Tumblers and South Shore Drill Team are just two of the crowd favorites returning this year.
South Shore will also perform a post parade show after the parade on Jefferson Street, in front of the Oregon Library.
And don’t forget to buy your official AOP 60/40 raffle ticket and maybe win some cash.
For more information on any of the events visit autumnonparade.org or Facebook.
(As it has been since 1970, Autumn on Parade continues to be organized and operated by community volunteers.)