Morrison Department of Fun builds slate of new community events

Guests stop at the Tegeler Accounting booth during the Winesday Wednesday Walk on Aug. 9, 2023, in Morrison.

MORRISON – Five years ago, Morrison started a mapping process to identify how facets of life throughout the city could be improved.

More than 70 people got together and pondered questions designed to get them thinking about Morrison.

“We talked about what makes Morrison great and all the positives and then we said what are the things we could work on and we worked on that,” said Amanda Cook, a Morrison native and business owner who joined in on the process.

Through brainstorming sessions, four committees were formed: Beautification, Industrial, Small Business and Parks and Rec.

Cook, a Realtor and graphic designer, and Dr. Brad Yaklich, a Morrison optometrist, felt strongly that a fifth one needed to be created – one that would focus on festivals and events.

“While we were there, we were like, ‘Oh, yeah, everybody wants to be a part of us, we’re the Department of Fun,’ ” she said. “We were like ‘That’s a genius name,’ so we thought, ‘We’ll just go with it.’

“We started working together trying to think what are the things that we could bring to Morrison to keep our community here in Morrison and not have to leave town to go find fun things to do.”

The first events were music bingo that was well-received and a Halloween contest and tailgating event for adults.

When the pandemic hit, they took music bingo online. As the restrictions started to lift, they were able to add more events such as a string of block parties celebrating Morrison’s new Main Street infrastructure in 2021. That idea sprung from negative comments about the major work going on there and a desire to flip the discussion.

“We knew they were going block by block so we decided to do a celebration after each block was finished,” she said.

Since then, the group, along with On the Move with Morrison Parks and Recreation, became a nonprofit organization and continues to dream up, plan and carry out entertaining events for all ages.

And they continue to have a lot of laughs along the way.

From a Glow Parade and block parties to the Winesday Wednesday Walk set for 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, June 19 – a shopping and wine tasting event at Morrison businesses – the goal is to create a sense of community among residents.

Other events in the works for this year include Rock the Raft, a WOZA wrestling event, the annual Glow Parade and a Halloween run.

To learn more about the Morrison Department of Fun and upcoming events, go to its Facebook page or the city of Morrison calendar of events. To learn more about getting involved, call Cook at 630-605-5329.

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Charlene Bielema

Charlene Bielema

Charlene Bielema is the editor of Sauk Valley Media.