Autumn on Parade makes its colorful return
OREGON – The annual celebration of all things autumn returns Saturday and Sunday to downtown Oregon and nearby environs.
The heart of Autumn on Parade is its Farmer’s Market and Craft Fair, open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on the Ogle County Courthouse Square. Handmade, homemade and homegrown items as well as many other kinds of unique items will be sold by more than 180 vendors; booths open at 8 a.m. both days .
Also Saturday, antique tractors and classic cars will be on display at Oregon Park East, just across the Rock River on River Road, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
There’s’ a donut-eating contest from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Jefferson Street, near the ever-popular Food Court, which is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. both days.
In keeping with this year’s theme, “It’s Magical”, entertainers will wander around the Courthouse Square on Saturday, to delight the crowd with their comedy routines, juggling and balancing shows and bubble fun.
The Fun Zone, west of the Courthouse Square, will be open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. both days, offering kids a place for kids to burn off some energy. Attractions this year are an inflatable 18-foot slide, an obstacle course and a bungee run. Wristbands are required and cost $8.
Those who attend the Create-A-Canvas event from 5 to 8 p.m. Saturday at Franklin Street Pub will get step-by-step instructions on how to paint a keepsake painting that reflects the fall festival.
The Pride of Oregon, an authentic paddlewheel riverboat, will be offering sightseeing and dinner trips from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday.
Stronghold Camp and Retreat Center at 1922 state Route 2, will host an Olde English Faire, where wandering players will perform onstage and off as crafters and Renaissance merchants will sell their wares. Minstrels will fill the pathways and stages with melodies while children gather in the Gremlin’s Garden for stories and other activities.
Tours of the castle will give visitors a chance to explore the Great Hall, the circular Library and to discover the secret passageway.
Gates open at 9 a.m. and close at 4 p.m. both days; the Faire itself ends at 5:30 p.m. Admission is $10 for adults and $5 for kids 7-12, each day, with proceeds benefiting castle renovation.
A shuttle service will be available Saturday to take festival visitors to and from the riverboat, the car and 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 8 a.m. at Oregon Park West; registration opens at 6:45.
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.
Those are just the highlights. Go to autumnonparade.org for all the details.