PrairieFest no longer a go for Labor Day weekend in Oswego

Chronicle Media

The carnival and midway is a major attraction for all ages at Oswego’s PrairieFest.   The Oswegoland Park District and festival organizers have changed their minds about going ahead with the long-running four-day festival and have decided to call it off for 2020 with the COVID-19 pandemic still a public health concern. (Chronicle Media photo)

Organizers of PrairieFest in Oswego have reversed their earlier position to hold the annual festival this year, instead opting to cancel it because of the ongoing pandemic.

“As this county continues to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic it becomes necessary to suspend planning PrairieFest 2020. The purpose of the Oswegoland Park District is to ‘create opportunities for a health community.’  If that means allowing each of you the opportunity to stay well, we will remain your community servants and begin planning for June 17-20, 2021,” the park district posted last week on the website.

Earlier this spring, the park district and Prairiefest organizers agreed after weeks of deliberations to move the four-day event, traditionally held in June, to Labor Day weekend, Sept. 4-7.  That decision to continue with the festival, albeit later in the summer, came during the height of the coronavirus shutdown in Illinois, as other suburban communities were already announcing plans to cancel their local summer gatherings this year.

The reason it must go on, organizers said at that time, is community spirit.

“The season may not have started with PrairieFest, but we’re determined summer won’t end without it. This year, Labor Day weekend means PrairieFest and a tradition of homecoming, celebration, and community for all in Oswegoland,” the Park District had stated in May.

Illinois gradually is reopening from the COVID-19 shutdown, moving into Phase 4 on June 30.  While that new phase means the state is permitting restaurants, museums and other social places to reopen, it comes with requirements of wearing protective face masks, social distancing and a maximum of 50 people or less in a gathering place.

Children enjoy the thrills of the Freefall ride. The Oswegoland Park District celebrated the 30th year of PrairieFest, Thursday, June 14, 2018, in Oswego, Illinois. (Jon Langham/for Chronicle Media)

PrairieFest, which has been held for more than 30 years, has activities presented throughout Oswego with the main festival grounds located at PrairieFest Park, 91 Plank Road, Oswego

“We plan to kick up our heels in fine style on Father’s Day Weekend June 17-20, 2021.

Oswego’s four-day community celebration brought to you by the Oswegoland Park District, generous business sponsors, civic organizations, and hundreds of volunteers,” was posted on

‘We warmly invite you to be a part of the Festival You Know by Heart. Whether supporting the fest, hosting an event, or participating in the fun, there’s a place for you at your community festival. “