Summer Events Show ‘There’s More to Morris’

What a start to summer in the City of Morris! In the past month, special events brought an estimated 25,000 people to enjoy our community. Events promote a strong quality of life while stimulating the local economy through hotel stays and spending at gas stations, restaurants and retail stores.

Three groups brought vision and visitors to Goold Park, transforming this beloved community space into a large-scale venue for the first time. Stacey and Erik Olson of True North led with the new fForest Fest. Their event packed the park with live music, a vintage market, kids activities, a food truck rally, yoga and more. On its heels came the return of the Dulcimer & Traditional Music Festival, which is one of only a few of its kind in the country. The jam sessions, workshops and demonstrations offered something for attendees of all ages. Then a new nonprofit organization, the Morris Barbecue Association, hosted a Kansas City Barbecue Society competition and live music festival, attracting 24 teams from throughout Illinois, Indiana and Wisconsin. All the hosts worked with city staff, public works, police and fire to execute safe and successful events.

Goold Park has proven to be a fantastic venue, boasting mature trees, open space, restrooms and a 1,300 square foot bandshell. It remains home to the city pool, which is celebrating its 100th anniversary with “Free Swim Saturdays” and sponsor banners. Goold Park will continue to be a hub of community activity in the months ahead before the ice rink returns in the winter.

Meanwhile in downtown, Morris Cruise Night hosted its first show of the season with nearly 700 entries and more than $6,200 raised for the Morris Police Benevolent Society. The Morris Retail Association kicked off the first in its three-event series called “Rock the Block”, bringing family-friendly activities, live music, and food trucks to Liberty Street during extended shopping hours. The Three French Hens Market drew another strong crowd to the north end of town for its second open-air market of the season.

Looking ahead, the Grundy Pads 5K will walk/run the streets of downtown July 3. Later that night, residents can celebrate the nation’s birthday with the traditional City of Morris and Grundy Bank Fireworks Extravaganza. Retailers will Rock the Block again July 24 and Aug. 28. Sidewalk Sales and the new Morris Beer Festival will bring visitors to downtown and Goold Park, respectively, on Aug. 6. The Liberty Arts Festival will be hosted by the City of Morris in partnership with the Exibit Fine Arts Gallery Aug. 27.

“There’s More to Morris” continues to hold up as our city’s mantra. For event details and other recreational resources, check out