Greer, Braeuninger Win Top Prizes in Adorable Baby Contest

Greer, Braeuninger Win Top Prizes in Adorable Baby Contest

August 4 – A veteran of the Decatur Celebration Adorable Baby Contest, Ashton Greer showed his experience in this year’s event Saturday.

Ashton and Daisy Braeuninger, both of Decatur, were judged as the overall Grand Supreme winners during the contest held on the Central Park Stage. They were among the 10 age-division winners.

Introduced as a “pro at this,” Ashton flashed a broad smile and waved to the crowd in winning the Petite Mister category for 3-year-old boys. He was accompanied by his mother, Ashlee Greer. Joined by her parents Drake and Jessica Braeuninger, Daisy was selected in the Tiny Tot Miss category for 2-year-old girls

Other division winners were: Ja’Lyah Honerable (Infant Miss, 0-5 months), Treasure Gogins (Baby Miss, 6-11 months), A’Hayva Bradford (Tiny Miss, 1-year), Austyn Duncheon (Mini Miss, 4-years), Thomas Blair (Infant Mister, 0-5 months), Isaac Ramos (Baby Mister, 6-11 months), Jaxon Sharp (Tiny Mister, 1-year) and Jeremiah Milton (Tiny Tot Mister, 2-years). The Petite Miss and Mini Mister categories had no entries.

Returning Champ Sets Another Record in the Heinkel’s Hot Dog Eating Contest

Returning Champ Sets Another Record in the Heinkel’s Hot Dog Eating Contest

August 4 – Now in its 7th year, the Heinkel’s Hot dog Eating Contest took over the Funfest Stage Saturday afternoon at the 2018 Decatur Celebration. Before the competition kicked off, emcee Aric Lee introduced Wes Heinkel of Heinkel’s Packing Company who paid tribute to his Grandfather, Erwin Heinkel. He reminded the crowd to live the way their family patriarch always said, “Keep laughing, keep smiling”.

This was the first year there were no pre-competition qualifying contests and the eaters signed up the day of the competition.

The 10 minute contest kicked off, with Brandon “Da’ Garbage Disposal” Clark of Cahokia, last year’s record setting champion with 27 weiners consumed, cruising to an early lead eating 22 wieners by the 5 minute mark. In the end, “Da’ Garbage Disposal” cruised to an easy victory, and set a new Heinkel’s Hot Dog Eating Contest record by devouring 33 wieners in 10 minutes.

Your top 3 finishers are as follows:

1st Brandon “Da’ Garbage Disposal” Clark, Cahokia, Illinois. Winner of $500 and 4 St. Louis Cardinals Tickets

2nd Kyle “The Hammer” Hanner of St. Louis, Missouri. Winner of $250 and a $100 meat bundle from Heinkel’s Packing Company.

3rd Jonathan “Big Jon” Offerman, of Decatur, Illinois. Winner of $100 and a $50 meat bundle from Heinkel’s Packing Company.

33rd Decatur Celebration Parade Delights Thousands

33rd Decatur Celebration Parade Delights Thousands

August 4 – Thousands turned out once again for the 33rd The Razzle Dazzle Goodtimes Parade Saturday morning at the Decatur Celebration. Something unique to this year’s parade was the NowDecatur.com team of Brian Byers, Aric Lee and Kevin Breheny broadcasting live from inside the parade, in two of the 25 Jeeps entered by the Bob Brady Auto Group. While the parade is always about having a good time, there is a competition to for the best parade entries. This year’s winners are as follows:

Best of Show Award: Kids Block

The Celebration Award: Midsummer Moon Productions

The Razzle Dazzle Award: The Scream Haunted Adventure

The Goodtimes Award: Perry Twins Outdoors

“We Like It” Award: Wings of Wonder

The parade lasted for over an hour Saturday morning was followed by the Heinkel’s Hot Dog Eating Contest on the Funfest Stage at 12:30 and Adorable Baby Contest in Central Park at 1:30.

For a full photo gallery of the Razzle Dazzle Goodtimes Parade, click HERE

Rapper T.I. Tops List of Day Two Performances

Rapper T.I. Tops List of Day Two Performances

August 4 – Grammy-winning rapper T.I. is almost certain to have some of “Whatever You Like” during his performance that headlines Saturday’s list of music acts on Day Two of the Decatur Celebration.

With seven Top Ten singles including the No. 1 hits “Whatever You Like” and “Live Your Life,” T.I. will take the Show Stage for a 9:45 p.m. headlining concert. Also an actor and reality TV star, T.I. can currently be seen on the big screen in “Ant-Man and the Wasp.”

DJ Mondo gets things started on the Show Stage at 8 o’clock and another Country Financial drawing for $1,000 precedes the T.I. concert.

The day gets started with the Razzle Dazzle Goodtimes Parade at 10 a.m. It can be viewed for free along North Main outside the festival grounds.

Country performer Chuck Wicks plays two shows on the Funfest Stage at 6:30 and 10 o’clock, with emerging country singer Tara Thompson ahead of him at 5 and 8:30. The Funfest Stage also hosts the Heinkel’s Hot Dog Eating Contest at 12:30.

The Christian Stage will have singer/songwriter Emily Hope at 5 and 8 and chart-toppers Love & the Outcome at 6 and 9.

Smoothtimes Band and Lady Luck are scheduled for three shows apiece on the Prairie Street Stage. The Cabaret Stage features acoustic duo Chelsea Kraft and Ben Morgan for two sets (1 and 3) and country rockers Wreckless Whiskey for three (5, 7, 9).

The Battle of the Bands continues all day on the North Street Stage, while the Central Park Stage lineup has the Decatur Municipal Band at noon, the Adorable Baby Contest at 1:30, and hypnotist Darrel Corrington at 7 o’clock.

Record-Setting Pritts, Minder Named Queen and King

Record-Setting Pritts, Minder Named Queen and King

August 3 – With a record-setting fundraising total, Sarah Pritts was named the Decatur Celebration Queen during Friday’s Opening Ceremonies on the Show Stage, while Matt Minder claimed honors as Celebration King.

“It feels amazing,” said Pritts, who generated a new high of $30,000 in fundraising. “I knew going into this that I wanted to raise $20,000. When I passed that goal, I just was so shocked. I knew that win or lose, the Celebration was going to win anyway. That was awesome.”

Minder brought in $15,000 to earn his crown, but was more thrilled by Pritts’ accomplishment.

“Nobody understands how impressive that actually is,” he said. “I worked my butt off and raised half that, and I’m really proud of that total. So what Sarah did is absolutely incredible for the celebration.”

The two runners-up to Pritts were separated by less than $100, with Brittany Lamb just over $15,800 and Tiffany Maxey just under. Adam Del Rosso was the runner-up among king candidates with $8,000.

In total, the five queen candidates raised $80,000 while the king candidates brought in $30,000.

“There can only be two winners in this, but there are 10 people that bust their butt all year to raise a ton of money for the celebration,” said Minder, who called the women’s total amazing.

Next year, the past five kings and queens will handle the fundraising and the next new royalty will be crowned in 2020.

Mayor Officially Opens Decatur Celebration

Mayor Officially Opens Decatur Celebration

August 3 – Mayor Julie Moore Wolfe took great delight in her power to utter four simple words:

“Let the Celebration begin!”

With one short sentence, Moore Wolfe officially kicked off the Decatur Celebration during the opening ceremonies Friday on the Show Stage. Before that, she complimented her constituents.

“In Decatur, we work really hard all year long. But every August we come together for the greatest party in America,” she said. “Three days to celebrate Decatur, celebrate our citizens, celebrate you.”

Bands to Battle for Chance to Play Before Daughtry

Bands to Battle for Chance to Play Before Daughtry

August 3 – Thirteen acts will be competing for cash, studio time and an opening slot before Daughtry’s concert in the BlueRock Record Battle of the Bands at the Decatur Celebration.

The bands in the competition are: Pizzazz; Mid-October; Chocolate In Your Pocket; Celtic Whistle; Bad Medicine; Ill Noizz; Skyline ROCKS; Catalytic Creator; The Blank Stairs; Puff, Puff, Poseidon; Lunar Jive Machine; Northenders; and No Backup Plans.

The competition on the North Street Stage (North and Water) begins at 6 p.m. Friday and continues all day Saturday starting at 11 a.m.

Guests can then use the City Scout – Decatur app to vote for their favorite bands to reach the Sunday morning semifinals.

Three local entertainment aficionados will judge the semifinals and select three bands to reach the finals. Audience votes on the City Scout app will determine the champion.

In addition to $800 and five hours in the BlueRock studio, the winners will get the 5:30 p.m. Sunday slot on the Show Stage ahead of Daughtry’s headlining concert.

Wilson Headlines Friday Celebration Events

Wilson Headlines Friday Celebration Events

August 3 – Grammy-winning country star Gretchen Wilson headlines the first night of events Friday at the Decatur Celebration.

Wilson, an Illinois native who topped the charts with her 2004 hit “Redneck Woman” and recorded four other Top Ten country singles, plays the 9:30 p.m. concert on the Show Stage (Franklin and Eldorado), with Jessie G providing the opening act at 9 o’clock.

Earlier Show Stage acts feature the Opening Ceremonies at 6 p.m.; up-and-coming country band Broseph playing two sets at 6:15 and 7:30; and a Country Financial $1,000 drawing at 8:45.

Draw the Line, the Aerosmith tribute band, takes the Funfest Stage (Prairie and Franklin) for a pair of shows at 7 and 9:30. Preceding them on the Funfest Stage is alternative rock cover band Escaping Neverland at 5:15.

The Christian Stage (Main and Water) will have DaVizion performing at 6 and 8 before award-winning, Grammy-nominated Jonathan McReynolds at 9:30.

The first night of the BlueRock Record Battle of the Bands will start at 6 p.m. on the North Street Stage (Water and North). The Central Park Stage has the Decatur Power Tumblers at 5 and 7 and Ees’aBella Belly Dancers at 9 o’clock.

Tennessee Borderline plays a mix of country, southern rock and classic rock for three sets starting at 5 p.m. on the Cabaret Stage (William and Water), and country rock act The Natu Band, led by Clinton resident and former pro boxer Natu Visinia, will have three shows on the Prairie Street Stage (Prairie and Merchant) beginning at 6 o’clock.

The Wine and Craft Beer Garden at the northwest corner of Water and William streets will be open from 5-10 p.m. The Kids Block on the south end of the festival grounds will be open from 5-8 p.m.

Celebration Gate Locations and Admission Rules

Celebration Gate Locations and Admission Rules

August 3 – Visitors to the first day of the Decatur Celebration who did not buy wristbands in advance can purchase them at any of the four admission gates for $15 apiece.

The locations of the entry gates are: North Street at Jackson Street, near the Decatur Civic Center; Franklin Street at East Main Street; East Main at Merchant Street; and North Street just west of Water Street.

The Festival officially begins at 5 p.m., with Opening Ceremonies set for 6 p.m. on the Show Stage at Franklin and Eldorado.

Guests should be aware of the admission rules:

  • Everyone age 13 and older must have a wristband to enter the festival grounds.
  • Wristbands must be worn on your wrist and must not be tampered with in any way, including cutting off and taping back on. Any tampered wristband is no longer valid.
  • Outside food and drinks cannot be brought inside the festival grounds. Guests will be asked to throw these items away or bring them back to their vehicles.
  • Alcohol cannot be taken outside the admission gates.
  • No coolers, tumblers, water bottles or insulated cups will be allowed inside the admission gates. Baby bottles, child sippy cups, and/or baby food containers are allowed for use by children.
  • No shirt, no shoes – no service.
  • Guests will be asked to open large bags to show contents.
  • No weapons of any kind are permitted. Concealed carry permits are not applicable inside festival grounds, as per state laws.
  • Guests can bring lawn chairs; however, this does not guarantee that people will not stand in front of those seats at the concerts. Celebration personnel are not responsible for lost or stolen items.
  • Pets are not allowed on festival grounds as proper facilities are not available.
  • No bikes, skateboards or skates.
Electricians Ready to Help Power Celebration

Electricians Ready to Help Power Celebration

August 2 – Volunteer electricians on call for the Decatur Celebration will be ready to respond to any issues caused by possible inclement weather – and not just storms.

“If it’s really hot, that can create problems with breakers and terminations overheating. So you have issues there if it’s too hot,” said Josh Sapp, business manager for the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 146.

“Then rain and wind can really disrupt things as well.”

With a significant amount of energy needed to power the Celebration, Sapp said crews from Bodine Electric began setting access boxes in place over the past week.

“It used to take a lot longer than it does now,” he said. “When the city did the downtown streetscape and remodeled, they put some provisions in for electrical. It’s definitely helped on the setup end.”

Sapp said the union holds volunteer sign-ups throughout the weekend and between 40 and 50 individuals will work shifts to cover any problems that may arise during the Celebration.

So, do they encounter a lot of problems?

“Not as many as we used to,” said Sapp. “Most of the problems are, vendors will come in and not have the proper cords, or they’ll sign up saying they need a certain amount of power and then they show up and need something different.”