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PrairieFest Proves Oswego Anything but Boring: Letter

Jun 16, 2014 03:40PM ● Published by Steven Jack

I believe I was at PrairieFest when I heard a rumor someone was ranking Boring Towns in Illinois. The report said that it was based on fast food choices. Around me, I watched as cameras from the Food Network filmed the unique food offerings at the fest.  It was also based on nightlife. I spent three nights watching thousands of people lay blankets next to their friends and dance to live music. They got up early in the morning too, because the festival dog park was full when it opened and the races on Sunday morning had over 400 participants. I have come to the conclusion that we make immeasurable fun here in Oswegoland. 

The Oswegoland Park District and Presenting Partner, Castle Bank were thrilled to host an event over four beautiful days.  We saw well over our record 50,000 guests. The Park District is so thankful for the support of Castle Bank. They delighted guests with everything from foam swords and face painting to a great free concert with Night Ranger on Saturday night.

Businesses and organizations in Oswegoland are what keeps the festival free of admission, parking, and concert fees. We are grateful to Groot Industries, The Village of Oswego, Tourism Bureau of Oswego, School District 308, the Ledger-Sentinel, Oswego Community Bank, HQC Incorporated, Weblinx, Sam’s Club, United Radio Communications, WSPY 107.1, and Euclid Beverage for taking the role of Major Partner. Links to these businesses as well as information on the Participating and Supporting Partners of PrairieFest can be found at

The Oswegoland Park and Recreation Foundation had a great weekend raising money and awareness for their Dog Park project. The Fetzer wine tasting raised hundreds of dollars on Thursday night. Everyone who came enjoyed the weekend’s dog park.

The Oswego Police Department and the Oswego Fire Protection District once again showed their exemplary skills and were present for all festival situations. The Park District is thankful for their willingness to support the festival in the way that benefits all of us best – by keeping it safe.

If anyone is looking to define our village, they should look no further than people willing to spend their time in service. The Rotary Club raised money for area humanitarian projects. The Optimist sold roasted corn and raised funds for local children. Seven churches came together for a wonderful worship service.  Six rescue groups joined forces and found homes for 5 dogs. Food was collected for the Food Pantry and Heartland Blood Drive collected over 20 units for area hospitals.

The festival benefited from this spirit as well. The park district had 200 people give three hours each to PrairieFest. They worked to make sure the grounds were clear, everyone had a place to park, and each person could make it to their interests on the grounds regardless of abilities. We had volunteers guiding the parade, directing the runners, and welcomed guests at the gate.

This Spring, I told the producers of Carnival Eats that PrairieFest is part family reunion, part homecoming, and part block party. However you want to define it, PrairieFest is what happens when people who enjoy each other come together. Boring? Nope. We are always preparing for the next chance to play together!  Thank you for coming out, Oswegoland.

Kristie Blocker Vest 

Special Events Supervisor, Oswegoland Park District

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