Large crowds and great weather helped the Iroquois County Historical Society present the 40th annual Harvest Daze event this past weekend.
Kathie Grazis, coordinator, and Mitchell Bence, president of the ICHS, each said that the event was well attended and brought a lot of people to the city.
There were a number of activities and vendors during the weekend at the Old Courthouse Museum.
“We had a most wonderful Harvest Daze,” Grazis said. “All of the vendors said this one of the best that they had attended. We had just scores of people and every body seemed to be in a good mood. It was just a perfect weekend for it.”
The events started on Friday, including a Woodworth-style fish fry.
“The weather cooperated. We had three great days,” said Bence. “We had a fish fry on Friday. There was very good attendance. We went through 180 pounds of fish that day.”
Bence said the volunteers and local businesses always step up and help the Harvest Daze event. This year was no different, he said.
People said that people plan each year to attend Harvest Daze.
“We have people sign up for their space for next year already,” he said of the vendors. “People want their spot and they filled out the applications already and we’ve got several turned in.”
Grazis said she asked each of the 67 vendors if they wanted next year’s vendor contract and all said yes.
“We had some new things this year come in this year,” Grazis said of the vendors. “People were just thrilled with it. They said there was really a little bit of everything this year.”
Bence said people came from all over the state, with visitors traveling from Chicago, Indiana and other parts of the state as well as local residents.
“I think one of the biggest things we had this year was the American Tribe Equine Therapy,” Grazis said. “She was an 19-year-old Tennessee Walker.” She said those who operate the therapy noted a special moment when several children were giving the horse attention and the horse was being attentive to them. A person in a wheelchair then approached the horse, with the horse going right to that person.
Just because Harvest Daze is over for this year doesn’t mean there’s much time to relax. “We’ll take a breath,” Bence said, “and then we’ll have a meeting with all the committee heads. We’ll discuss what went well and what didn’t go well and what we can do to improve it. I’ve already spoken to the police chief who told me some things we need to change. We’ve got ideas already.
“It takes a long time to plan,” he said. “It takes a lot of people to get it right.”
“For me this was my first year of really being a big part of it,” Grazis said. “Last year was kind of a learning experience for me. I had just started. This is just awesome. The way it brings people together. It brought community people together and our group together. Everybody worked so well together. It was great. I give a lot of credit to Mr. Bence. He’s terrific at this stuff. Susan, his wife, she’s a great planner. They added a great deal. Mitchell was all over this weekend,” she said. “No task was beneath him.”
And while the group is getting ready to work on Harvest Daze 2020, there are still other activities to plan for 2019. “Now it’s time to look toward Christmas Tree Lane,” Grazis said. “I already have a person for that, who has reserved a tree already.”