Orion's annual Fall Fest jammed with events

Posted Online: Aug. 31, 2013, 9:58 pm
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By Lisa Hammer, correspondent@qconline.com
ORION -- There were many forms of fun Saturday at the Orion Fall Festival, which continues today with a variety of events and tastes.

On Saturday morning, there was a 10-mile run, a 5K and a one-mile family run/walk.

Kelly Larson, of Orion, ran the 10-mile race."My family met me at 2-1/2 miles," she said. "I didn't feel good until I saw them, but it kind of inspired me. It's a great course. It was well organized."

Debi Pulford, who lives in Orion, but commutes to Warren, Mich., as a logistics management specialist for the Arsenal, ran the 5K and was preparing to take pictures of her grandchildren in the family run/walk.

Wayne and Judy Henrichs, of Colona, came for the 5K. It was his second run and said his wife beat him."It was hilly, but it was very well organized," he said.

At Central Park, Cameron Rascher, 8, of Davenport, was among kids industriously sorting through a huge pile of straw for candy. He had a nice quantity of Tootsie Rolls in his bag and was enjoying a sucker. But at the mention of the nearby Boy Scouts' "monkey" bridge where children balance on a single rope like tightrope walkers (with the aid of rope handrails), he took off to walk it again.

Scoutmaster Jerry Sheldon, of Troop 123, said he built the monkey bridge in 1997 as part of an adult leader training course and it's been used at the Fall Festival for 14 or 15 years. Over the years it's recruited new Scouts, and he said when children run out of tickets for the carnival rides, the line for the free rope bridge grows.

"It's the cheapest game in town," he said with a grin.

The kids' tractor pull drew many participants and proud parents, including Nathan DeBaillie, who praised his son Drew, 2, for being able to reach the pedals and go five feet. "He wanted to try it," he said.

A huge quilt show and history display at the United Methodist Church drew many visitors. Among the quilts was one dating to the Civil War but just completed three years ago, and a red-and-cream-colored quilt completed in 1898 by women of the church and returned to the church by a pastor's daughter in 1962.

"One Hundred Years of Music" was the theme of Saturday afternoon's parade. There was music by the Orion High School Band, Orion Community Band and even drums, bells and cymbals clutched by dozens of children on a float sponsored by Charger Child Care.

Faith Catour, 11, sported a rubbery Elvis wig and Elvis apron for her first experience in the parade, walking for Orion's "Shabby Shack" resale shop, which sells "shabby chic" original and refurbished furniture.

Orion's parade celebrated grand marshal Bernice Stropes, a retired Orion grade school teacher and member of the Methodist Church who has lived in Orion since 1952.

The parade had a healthy contingent of fire trucks -- from Orion, Coal Valley, Osco, Coyne Center and Colona -- in addition to many tractors and various "royalty," including more than 20 contestants for this year's Miss Main Street Orion, as well as 2013 Miss Illinois County Fair queen Amelia Martens and 2013 Miss Illinois Valley Allison Seys, both of Orion.

In the Miss Main Street Orion contest, Melaina Meisenburg won the 6- to 9-year-old age group and Chloe Rittenhouse won the 10-to-12-year-old category.

Also honored were three Orion centenarians: Ruth Kinney, Florence Engnell and Dorothy Anderson Nelson.

Events continue today at Central Park with a pancake breakfast, arts and crafts, carnival rides, the Cub Scout soap box derby at noon, a car show from noon to 4 p.m. on Main Street, a talent show at 2 p.m., the Orion Community Band at 4:15 p.m., bingo at 5, a free Comedy Sportz show at the Orion Methodist Church at 6:30 p.m., and two evening street dances featuring "The Funnies" and "Dirt Road Rockers."

For more information, see event listing at mainstreetorion.com.


Local events heading

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