Why PrairieFest isn’t canceled, just postponed

Chronicle Media

As always, children’s activities will be a big part over the four days of Oswego’s PrairieFest. (Chronicle Media photo)


While many surrounding communities have canceled their summer festivals and fireworks because of COVID-19 concerns, the Oswegoland Park District has opted to let PrairieFest go on.

The four-day festival that has kicked off summer in mid-June for more than 30 years will this year be held over Labor Day weekend. The reason it must go on is community, organizers say.

“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 posted on its website.

The festival will be held Sept. 4-7 at locations throughout the village as always with the main festival grounds located at PrairieFest Park, 91 Plank Road, Oswego.

The decision to go on with the festival while the coronavirus is still part of the landscape was arrived at over several weeks of deliberations, according to the Park District.  But in the end, the festival is seen as a homecoming and celebration of community and unity.

“The past month has brought a lot of assessment as the Park District figures out the safest way and time to bring a community together. PrairieFest is committed to the safety of guests, volunteers, and vendors. The event organizers are also charged with creating a celebration for the amazing people who make up this community,” the park district stated on its website.

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)

“We have spent the last month watching teachers and lunch room attendants hand out meals to hungry families, neighbors decorate their windows for children on walks, and everyone with a sewing machine making masks for our front-line heroes. We were not built to let these acts go unrecognized.” said Kristie Vest, superintendent of cultural arts and events for the Oswegoland Park District.

As always, the festival will include the Windy City carnival and a midway with food vendors as well as live entertainment and many children’s activities.

PrairieFest features free parking, free admission, and free concerts.

For information on involving your business or organization in the community festival, contact Kristie Vest at kvest@oswegolandpd.org.

For more information on volunteering or general information on entertainment and other events, PrairieFest, go to https://www.prairiefest.com/