OREGON – The Ogle County Board’s Executive Committee recently approved a permit for Autumn on Parade to use the courthouse square should organizers decide to go forward with the popular October festival.
The request to use county property is made each year, but this year is complicated by COVID-19, which is causing the cancellation of many annual community gatherings, including the Ogle County Fair and the Grand Detour Arts Festival.
The executive committee’s one stipulation was that AOP comply with whatever state guidelines apply at the time of the downtown festival, which is scheduled for Oct. 3-4.
“Hopefully by October there won’t be a major uptick and they’d be able to have it here,” committee member Greg Sparrow said. “We don’t have a problem with it if the state allows it.”
During a County Facilities Committee meeting, AOP President Marseyne Snow said her board plans to meet at the end of June and decide whether to hold the festival, which would be marking its 50th year.
Autumn on Parade, held the first full weekend in October, features more than 150 vendor booths surrounding the historic Ogle County Courthouse. The 2-day event, which draws thousands, also has a large parade, a food court by local nonprofits, an Olde English Faire at Stronghold Camp & Retreat Center, a car show and a tractor show.
The all-volunteer AOP committee sought advice from the county Health Department, which has indicated that the state still could be in Reopen Illinois Phase 4 at the time, which would allow gatherings of up to 50 people only.
“It [the festival] couldn’t happen that way,” Snow said. “They didn’t rule out the possibility, though. The Oregon Chamber of Commerce has asked that we not cancel it yet. Many nonprofits use it as their major fundraiser. But we may have no choice."
AOP usually has more “wheels in motion” by now, but the committee wants to be careful not to spend money won’t be able recoup if the festival is cancelled, she said
“We’ll back off if there’s no green light by the end of June. If it looks like it’ll be still in Phase 4, that’ll be our decision.”