Organizers Tout Big Crowds, Popular Food Stands

Organizers Tout Big Crowds, Popular Food Stands

August 6 – The final numbers will take some time to complete, but organizers of the Decatur Celebration hope large crowds for the major acts will result in strong attendance figures.

“I definitely don’t guess,” said director/producer Lori Sturgill. “However, I was really impressed with the crowds at both the T.I. show and the Crowder show. The Gretchen Wilson crowd was huge as well, and Daughtry.”

Sturgill said it will take some time before all the pre-sales, online sales and point of entry sales can be fully determined.

“It’s not something we can get a quick number on, so it will take us a little time to pull in all the sales and total everything up,” she said.

Sturgill said that many of the food offerings proved quite popular, noting the “tat-chos” sold out every night. The cookie ice cream sandwiches, jar bar pineapples, turkey ribs and soba noodles were big hits.

“We’re definitely a food festival,” she said. “I keep telling people we were a food truck festival before that was cool.”

While the Celebration dodged precipitation, high temperatures did suppress the daytime crowds.

“It’s tough to get people to come out during the day when it’s in the 90s and humid,” said Sturgill. “If it’s hot and it’s humid, people wait until later in the day to come out. We’re so susceptible to the weather like any other outdoor event.”

Winning wristbands: The nightly winning numbers for the Country Financial Band Together Wristband $1,000 drawings were: Friday – #38708; Saturday – #68145; Sunday – #63031.

Prizes must be claimed by August 15. Winners must show ticket stubs and a state photo ID. For questions, call 217-423-4222.

Crews Prepared to Jump On Celebration Cleanup

Crews Prepared to Jump On Celebration Cleanup

August 5 – Once the last act has left the stage and the Decatur Celebration crowd has cleared the grounds, the task of getting downtown back to business gets underway.

“As soon as it’s done, the process begins,” said Spike Queary, the Celebration’s operations manager. Queary estimated he will have about 50 to 60 volunteers helping break everything down.

“As soon as everything is done and we get everybody safely off the streets, make sure the grounds are safe, then we’ll open the barricades up,” he said. “At that point, vendors can come in and start breaking their stuff down.

“We’ll start breaking all of our stuff down, beverage booths, ticket booths. The city’s also in there and they start part of their cleanup as far as getting all the trash.”

Queary said the crews will have everything cleared from downtown by around 2 or 3 a.m. Monday, and have everything returned to the storage facility by 8 or 9 o’clock. He said that the Decatur Police Department will be in charge of reopening the roads, but that should happen by around 4 or 5 a.m.

“Sometimes it’s a little bit sooner,” he said. “It sometimes depends on what kind of progress we make.”

Nichols Wins Illinois Festival Queen Pageant

Nichols Wins Illinois Festival Queen Pageant

August 5 – After being crowned the Miss Macon County Junior Miss in 2015, Kylie Nichols got to experience the thrill of winning a pageant for a second time.

Nichols, a senior-to-be at Mt. Zion High School, was chosen as the Miss Illinois Festival Queen at Sunday’s pageant at the Decatur Civic Center during the Decatur Celebration. Nichols said she’s eager to continue working with director Melissa Muirheid.

“I was so excited,” Nichols said of hearing her name announced. “I was like ‘yes, I get to do this again and finish it off with Melissa.’ It’s so much fun and I’m so excited for the year.”

Nichols, a competitive cheerleader interested in becoming an orthodontist, joined Breanna Johnson and Hannah Bowers as candidates in the Queen age group (17-22).

Julia Hildebrandt won the Junior Miss (14-16) crown, with Madison Miller as runner-up. Brooklyn Syrcle claimed the Pre-Teen (10-13) honor as Annabelle Click was first runner-up and Ella Chupp was second.

Seven girls participated in the Princess division (5-9), with all of them receiving tiaras.

Another Year, Another Round of Contestants in the Celebration 365 Contest

Another Year, Another Round of Contestants in the Celebration 365 Contest

August 5 – After a reverse drawing Thursday evening, Krystal Sturgeon emerged victorious in the first ever Land of Lincoln Credit Union, #Celebration365 Contest presented by She claimed the $1,000 Grand Prize, along with a pair of #DC18 VIP wristbands for this year’s festival.

Sunday afternoon, a new class of 20 finalists put on their wristbands which they will wear for the next year, all leading up to the 2019 festival. Bryan Hedenberg, one of the new contestants, says he’s a little paranoid about jumping in to the contest but is looking forward to the challenge.

The next batch of candidates were chosen for the competition by emailing Aric Lee of that they wanted to enter, and all of the contestants were chosen through a random drawing.

The new round of competitors include: Brian Bridges, Stephanie Britton, Beth Garner, Cory Garner, Bryan Hedenberg, Alisha Henderson, Kim Hicks, Jaimie Lane, Josh Mahon, Laura Mahon, Andi McCoy, Ashley Offermann, Hollie Peckert, Kyle Phillips, Ryan Pritts, Mary Beth Scott, Zach Stortzum, Trisha Swartz, Jonathan White, and Kurt Younghouse.

The ultimate winner will receive a $1,000 Grand Prize from Land of Lincoln Credit Union and a Decatur Celebration VIP Package for the 2019 festival.

Battle of the Bands Crowns a Champion at the Decatur Celebration

Battle of the Bands Crowns a Champion at the Decatur Celebration

August 5 – And then there were 2. After opening the competition with 13 bands, the final 2 competitors in the Blue Rock Record “Battle of the Bands” competition hit the North Street stage Sunday afternoon at the Decatur Celebration.

After the popular vote and the judges vote, “Lunar Jive Machine” and “Chocolate In Your Pocket” battled it out for a chance to win $800 cash, 5 hours of studio time at Blue Rock Record at Heroic Age Studios, and the opportunity to open for Sunday night’s headliner “Daughtry” at the Celebration.

In spite of the Sunday afternoon heat, a nice crowd of local supporters turned out to cheer on their favorites. After a coin toss to determine who would lead off, “Lunar Jive Machine” hit the stage with a solid mix of cover songs. The band features a variety of Decatur music scene veterans including Ted Agee, Vocals; Ryan Brimm, Bass; Chris Lourash, Guitar; Jim McNeely, Saxophone; Josh Patterson, Drums; and Brandon Pilger, Guitar.

“Chocolate In Your Pocket” hit the stage next with a full set of solid all original songs that had their supporters in the crowd cheering. The band consists of young local talent including Cole Burnick, Guitar; Trace Davidson, Drums; Alex Erickson, Vocals; and Nick Scarpinato, Bass.

The fans had the final say on determining the winner by voting through the City Scout App, and when all was said and done, “Lunar Jive Machine” came out on top, and will open for Daughtry Sunday night on the Show Stage at the Decatur Celebration starting at 6:15.