OREGON – It is crunch time for Marseyne Snow and the other volunteers who put together Autumn on Parade in Oregon.
The 50th anniversary of the event was cancelled last year due to COVID-19, but it is back this year and bigger and better than ever.
“It feels good,” Snow, president of the volunteer group that stages AOP, said of its return. “Everybody’s excited to have something to do again. It’s obviously really great for the community with all of the visitors it brings to town that weekend.”
The festival will be held in downtown Oregon Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 2-3.
As usual, AOP with feature the Farmer’s Market and Craft Fair as its centerpiece. There will be about 180 vendors this year.
The Harvest Time Parade, which kicks off at 1 p.m. Sunday, is also a big draw. This year it will include a number of marching bands, floats, the Jesse White Tumblers and the South Shore Drill Team.
“Some really neat stuff,” Snow said of the parade line-up.
There is the Focus House Car Show which will be held at Oregon Park East – free shuttles to the car show from the festival site will be provided – and a 5K and Fun Run.
There are also some all new attractions this year at AOP. There will be a Fun Zone for kids that features inflatables, a magician and a petting zoo.
“And it’s all free,” Snow said.
And for the adults, for the first time AOP will feature a beer garden with live music on Saturday.
“People have been asking for a beer garden for a long time,” Snow said.
She added that the beer garden probably won’t become an annual feature of the festival, but they wanted to do something “really special” for the 50th anniversary.
The live music will be provided by Blue Steel and Burn ‘n Bush. Snow said Martin & Company are sponsoring the beer garden and bands.
The food selection will also be expanded this year. Snow said along with the non-profit organizations which have food available at AOP, there will also be businesses offering food. Those include Hector’s Cocina, Northside BBQ and Thai Jasmine Rice and Noodles. Snow said the food will be set up in the parking lot of the old jail as well as the south side of Jefferson street. The goal is to not clog up the area and slow foot traffic as in past years.
“Before it would get so crowded,” Snow said. “So, it’s really opened up.”
Snow said volunteers for the event are always welcome and encouraged people to give her a call at 815-341-5559 if interested. She said there is a free T-shirt in it.
A week before the festival, Snow was still working hard with the others in the group of about 10 regular volunteers to make sure AOP is ready to go.
“It’s kind of stressful right now, because there’s a lot of stuff that has to come together,” she said.
AOP runs from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday.