Thursday, May 25, 2017 12:20 am
Pawnee Prairie Days
Small-town festival offers carnival, parade, pageants, fun
This June, cruise 20 minutes south down I-55 and enjoy a small-town festival among the cornfields in picturesque Pawnee. This year’s Pawnee Prairie Days will be observed June 22-24. The three-day celebration features traditional festival fare, events and activities in a tight-knit community setting.
A carnival, courtesy of Connor Amusements, will be offered all three days. The carnival is an excellent value for families, who will want to take advantage of special “wristband sessions” where children can ride all carnival rides for one low price. Three wristband sessions will take place Thursday through Saturday from 6-10 p.m. nightly, as well as one on Saturday afternoon from 12-4 p.m. Wristbands will be available for advance purchase as a four-pack for $80; they can also be purchased on site during Pawnee Prairie Days for $25 per band.
In the evenings, the streets will fill with music by central Illinois’ most rocking acts. Festival-goers will enjoy country band Tennessee Borderline on Thursday night, Off the Wall (voted “Best Rock Band” in Illinois Times’ 2016 “Best of Springfield” contest) on Friday night, and nationally touring country group Broseph E. Lee closes out the music on Saturday night.
The pageants are always a Pawnee Prairie Days highlight, and PPD organizers are excited to present another year of multiple pageant opportunities for the young women of Pawnee. A queen pageant will take place on Thursday evening, offering girls residing in Pawnee Township the opportunity to compete for the title of Miss Pawnee Prairie Days (ages 14-18), Jr Miss (ages 9-13), and Little Miss Prairie Days Princess (ages 5-8). Get ready to say “aww!,” as there will also be a baby contest presented on Saturday morning, open to all babies of parents residing in Pawnee Township.
Saturday’s full-day schedule features a handful of additional attractions and ways to get involved, including the annual Pawnee Prairie Days parade. The theme of this year’s parade is “Wild Wild West,” and the procession is scheduled to leave from the high school at 5 p.m. Automotive enthusiasts will enjoy the all-day car show at the Pawnee Assembly of God Church plus the tractor show and kids’ tractor pull on the northeast corner of the square. Are you a grillmaster? Enter your own recipe or simply smell what your neighbors are cooking during the fourth annual backyard barbecue cookoff, scheduled from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on the northwest side of the Pawnee square. This year’s cookoff categories are ribs, chicken and “open.”
More information and updates about the Pawnee Prairie Days can be found on Facebook. – Nan Kording