MT. VERNON, ILLINOIS (WSIL) — Organizers are excited for Fall Fest to return this Friday and Saturday after last year’s had to be canceled as a Covid precaution, and a new challenge this week is causing some changes.
The event celebrates the change of seasons and allows community members to spend time with each other while having fun outdoors, including:
- Market square with vendors
- pumpkin contest
- Children’s and teenagers’ zone – laser tag, inflatable structures and free games
- beer and wine tent
- Fair Foods
Angela Schrum, who is the city’s festival director, says she and other organizers are just as excited for the festival as residents and visitors.
“We worked very hard last year to try to still have the festival, and we just couldn’t do it safely. So there was a lot of disappointment on our end as well as the general public,” she remembers. “So it’s just a relief to be able to hold the festival. It’s an outdoor event, so we feel like people can social distance and follow the guidelines and do things safely.”
Another draw of the event is the LIVE entertainment. Fridays are devoted to rock music with Just for Spite and LAVA rock. Then on Saturday the genre is country music where The Teddy LaMaster Band, Wolfe Nation and Drew Baldridge will take the stage and perform.
Schrum says Baldridge drew a crowd in 2016 since he’s a performer from Nashville in southern Illinois, and his show should be another highlight this year.
“You may have heard that ‘She’s Somebody’s Daughter’ is the most popular right now,” she explains. “Last year was ‘Senior Year,’ so we’re really excited. Drew is from Patoka and he’s coming back to do a free gig here in Mt. Vernon.
Festival organizers ran into hurdles as the city reported that a building housing the Antioch International Assembly was unsafe and dilapidated. The building stands in an area usually reserved for the festival market square where vendors and shoppers line the streets.
RELATED: Mt. Vernon building declared unsafe
Schrum says city engineers and first responders including police and firefighters moved quickly to secure the area and block it off.
“I just want to give them credit because they’re amazing because they work so hard and know exactly what they’re doing,” she says. “Of course they put public safety first.”
This area will remain blocked off until the building can be demolished. All Fall Festival activities are still taking place, but the marketplace and cruise just moved to a nearby location as a precaution:
- Vendors: Jordan Street between Joe’s Pizza and 7th Street
- Cruise: Jordan Street between 10th and 12th Streets
The festival takes place on Friday, September 24 from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. and Saturday, September 25 from 9 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. The children’s and teens’ zone, parking and admission are free.
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