The Burgoo Festival is the annual street party featuring craft vendors, musicians, and flea marketers. More than 225 vendors will present their wares at this craft show, flea market, and garage sale on the downtown streets of Utica on Sunday, October 12.
Sponsored by the non-profit LaSalle County Historical Society, the 39-year-old festival is one of the largest and longest-running in northern Illinois and is the organization's major fundraiser.
But Burgoo is the star of the show. The hearty pioneer stew that gave its name to this festival contains beef and many kinds of vegetables, carefully blended with a secret combination of herbs and spices. The burgoo is cooked outdoors over a wood-burning fire that gives it a special taste. It is cooked for between 12 and 18 hours before serving. Squads of volunteer vegetable choppers and kettle stirrers spend the night preparing this savory pioneer dish.
Although the street festival officially begins at 9 a.m. Sunday, other activities will attract festivalgoers on Saturday. The "Cruise-in-Utica" car show will exhibit between 4 p.m. and 8 p.m. with trophies and door prizes to be awarded. Music will accompany the exhibit.
A traditional lantern walk will guide visitors through Utica's historic landmarks at dusk on Saturday. The walk departs from the LaSalle County Historical Society Museum, Canal and Mill Streets.
On festival day, the society's museum complex, consisting of the 1865 Aitken one-room schoolhouse, the 1875 barn with vintage farm equipment and vehicles, the 1892 blacksmith shop, and the main museum, built in 1848 as a warehouse along the I&M Canal, will all be open, with docents to interpret the exhibits.
A barrel maker and Windsor chair maker will demonstrate their heritage craft skills all day Sunday at the blacksmith shop, where blacksmith Tom Hoyt will demonstrate his craft.
Sunday musical entertainment will include several performers.
9am - 11am Gospel and traditional singer Winifred Hoffman
11am - 2pm Country and Broadway singer Marvina Bowker
12-2 pm The New Doodledorfers
2pm - 4pm Illinois Valley Community College Jazz Band
3pm LaSalle-Peru High School marching band
In addition, musical presentations will be offered from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at 723 S. Clark St.
A raffle featuring dozens of prizes from area businesses will be conducted at 4 p.m. Sunday. Raffle tickets will be sold prior to Burgoo and all day Sunday.
For further information call the museum at (815) 667-4861.