“10 days until PrairieFest, Mom.” These were words out of my son’s mouth on his first day of summer. He had counted down to the last day of school for a month, and a new countdown had begun. For him, PrairieFest is a mark of the seasons, just like the end of school.
PrairieFest is woven into the fabric of this town. 28 different events were hosted by 28 different community groups in four days. That number doesn’t include the Boy Scouts selling their hot dogs, the 18 groups on the community booth line, or the 65 parade entries who entertained those along the village streets Sunday.
The support from our community businesses allows the festival to have so much entertainment and music free of any admission fees. We are grateful to our presenting sponsor, Allied First Bank. Their enthusiasm and support of PrairieFest has been a great benefit to our festival for the last three years.
The support of our Title Sponsors, Oswego Community Bank, Oswego Youth Tackle Football and Cheer, Republic Services, and Walmart was integral in bringing us the great bands of 2012 PrairieFest. Our children’s entertainment and animal experiences were complementary to every festival-goer because of our Millennium Sponsors. Our heartfelt thanks to BMO Harris Bank, Euclid Beverage, Edward Hospital and Health Services, Fifth Third Bank, The Growing Place, and Oswego Tourism Bureau.
We had the support of several in-kind Millennium sponsors. Thanks to Oswego Ledger Sentinel, Oswego Patch, School District 308, Responsive Network Services, Village of Oswego, United Radio Communications, and WSPY.
Thank you to our Trailblazer Sponsors; AmericInn Lodge & Suites, Ancel, Glink, Holiday Inn Express, HQC Incorporated and our Trail Boss Sponsors; Caterpillar, Inc., First Place Rental, Fox Valley Trophy, HR Green, Inc, Keith’s Car Care, Oswego Family YMCA, NM Tripp Insurance Agency, Premier Mailing and Printing, Recreation Concepts, Inc, River Heights Veterinary Clinic, Rotary Club of Oswego, Sikich LLP, and the Village Grind.
Our blue-shirted volunteers were an army of help throughout the grounds for four days. The festival would not be possible without the help of the greeters, parkers, pourers, drivers, pickers, servers, split timers, and marshals.
It was a year for the books. The PrairieFest Bed Races debuted, and were an immediate crowd favorite. While watching the beds was a blast, even better was that thanks to Jimmy and Joyce Frankino and Ray Kies of Best Sealcoat and Paving, Autism Speaks and Young Life walked away with checks for $375 each. Also something we won’t soon forget, Colin Sullivan set a world record for balancing an 8ft ladder on his chin for two minutes and 31 seconds.
This year will be hard to top – but we are already brainstorming! 2013 will be the 25th anniversary of PrairieFest. Please consider emailing your favorite event, story or picture to email@example.com. We want the event to showcase all the fun that PrairieFest has come to mean to this town each June.
Thank you all for attending, helping to host, and supporting PrairieFest. I sat with my kids for the parade and watched them collect tootsie rolls. I thought about how I no longer have to cover their ears when the firetrucks come by. I guess I mark my life by PrairieFest as well. Thank you all for the privilege of that kind of life.
Kristie Blocker Vest
Special Events Supervisor, Oswegoland Park District