Mother Nature shines on Oregon’s Autumn on Parade

Connor Ware, 3, of Oregon, was given a chance to bang one of the drums of the Crystal Lake Strikers Drum Line during the Harvest Time Parade at the Autumn on Parade festival in Oregon on Sunday.

OREGON — After Mother Nature smiled big time on the first day of the Autumn on Parade festival, she capped it off with another perfect day on Sunday.

“The weather was again fabulous,” said Debbie Dickson, festival president. “We are extremely pleased with the turnout, we all know weather is a driving force with an outdoor event and Mother Nature was a team player this year!”

Sun and fall-like temps brought a large crowd out to the array of family-fun events during the two-day festival, held in downtown Oregon.

Saturday’s car show had 138 vehicles take part and the tractor show had around 35 antique farm tractors on display.

This year’s theme “Fallin’ for Oregon” fell together perfectly for the festival’s all-volunteer committee thanks to sunny skies and 70-degree weather.

“This year’s committee is brand new. Their energy, enthusiasm, and ‘can do’ approach is amazing! They’ve delivered a noticeable refresh to the event and have created fast friendships. It’s a great reminder to all of us that the 30-40 year olds in our community do care, that they have valuable insight, leadership skills, and are in step with the pulse of what’s trending,” Dickson said.

Weekend events included the farmers’ market and craft show, a food court serving a variety of food items throughout the day, and a Fun Zone for kids, which included a petting zoo, bouncy attractions, crafts and games — all for free.

Sunday morning began with the 5K and Fun Run at Oregon Park West and the ever-popular Harvest Time Parade, kicked off at 1 p.m.

“Our sponsors, both monetary and in kind, make this event happen. This has always been an all volunteer situation. The businesses and agencies that support the efforts of this ongoing family event are so appreciated. Without them Autumn on Parade could not exist,” Dickson said.

To the north of town, Stronghold’s Retreat and Conference Center ahosted its Olde English Faire, following a two-year hiatus due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Grace Gilbreath of Chicago attended the Faire on Sunday dressed as “Taragon” a panther. “I go to a few different fairs and this is the character I bring,” she said.

Marie Alessi, 59, of Genoa visited the event with the Opportunity House’s recreation department. She got to try on a reproduction of a knight’s helmet at “A Man of Arms” booth.

The 9-pound helmet topped off 62-pounds of armor “the knight” told the crowd.

“It was really heavy and made my neck stiff,” said Alessi, who stands at 4′4″.

Other booths offered short musical programs, swords and battle techniques, and storytelling.

The winner of this year’s 60/40 raffle was Andy Egyed of Oregon.

For more information about the festival, visit www.autumnonparade.org.

Eliza Swedbery, 1, of Lost Lake, and her mom, Jinny, point to two chickens as they visit the petting zoo at the Autumn on Parade Fun Zone on Saturday. The free Fun Zone continues on Sunday.
Major Storball Jr., 9 of Dixon, feeds a sheep at the petting zoo at the Autumn on Parade's Fun Zone for kids on Saturday.
The weather was perfect for visitors at Oregon's Autumn on Parade festival in downtown Oregon on Saturday. The event continues on Sunday with its craft fair/farmers' market, a Fun Zone and petting zoo for kids, the Olde English Faire at Stronghold, and the Harvest Time Parade,

Earleen Hinton

Earleen oversees production and content of 9 community weeklies and has worked for Shaw Newspapers since 1985.