Families enjoy festivities at Frankfort Fall Festival
The Labor Day holiday is an ideal time to enjoy a long weekend with friends, family and neighbors. This year’s Frankfort Fall Festival – held Aug. 31 to Sept. 2 and featuring a theme
of Starfest – truly offered something for everyone to enjoy right in the heart of downtown Frankfort.
Carnival rides, live music, festival food and more were among the event’s highlights along with the Arts & Crafts Show which featured approximately 300 artisans from 30 different
states. On Saturday, the opening day of the Arts & Crafts Show, shoppers flocked to the area to find one-of-a-kind and handmade items perfect for gifts to give or to keep for oneself.
Jewelry, holiday decorations, paintings, cutlery, clothing and more were popular purchases at the event which featured 60 new artisans. Local Frankfort businesses – including
Down Home Guitars, My Sister’s and Me Boutique, KidsWork Children’s Museum and more – also participated in the 51st annual Frankfort Fall Festival.
Rockford resident Annie Mohaupt offered unique shoes and purses for those who love being green at her Mohop booth. “Everything is sustainable,” Mohaupt said. “We use sustainably sourced
woods. On the clogs we 3D-carve the footbeds so they have really good arch support and you can wear them all day. The uppers are actually made of nylon that we source here in the U.S.
and it’s made in an ecofriendly factory that Tesla uses, so it’s super durable and really high-end.”
Frankfort Fall Festival Chairwoman Julie Cantrell explained that along with all the artisans, entertainers, business owners, chamber members and village employees, there is a team
of volunteers putting in countless hours to make the weekend such a success. “Our theme this year is Starfest, and one of the reasons we got that theme going is to honor who we
consider the stars of this festival,” Cantrell said.
“That’s the volunteers and the surrounding community because everybody lends a hand. We were ranked No. 3 in the nation last year for Classic and Contemporary Arts and Crafts Shows by
Sunshine Artist Magazine, and we’re an all-volunteer festival.” The Village of Frankfort, Frankfort Police Department, Frankfort Lions Club – which hosted Wurst Fest on Aug. 29 – and more all
helped the Frankfort Chamber of Commerce and event volunteers ensure that everyone had a great time.
The Frankfort Fire Protection District Foundation led the way in planning the carnival, which opened on the previous Wednesday. “The really cool thing that the firefighters do with
that carnival is on Friday night from 3 to 5 [p.m.] they host Special Needs Day,” Cantrell said. “Anyone with a child who has special needs – who otherwise would be so overwhelmed
by the sights and sounds of the carnival – could attend while they turn everything off. They let them play all the games and everybody wins something. It’s just so touching.”
Five-year-old Lemont resident Anna Lynn Sidlow had only been to one carnival before visiting the Frankfort Fall Festival, but she is already a big fan of the experience.
“This is my second one,” Sidlow said. “I like the rides. The Fun Slide was scary because it was so fun.” Elsewhere at FrankfortFall Festival, attendees enjoyed live music at two different stages. The
Breidert Green Stage hosted such acts as Strung Out, Briggs Street Band and Whiskeyfist while The Garden welcomed Maggie Speaks, Simply Elton, Frankfort Brass Band and more. This year, The Garden also
encompassed the food court which found local civic organizations – Cub Scout Pack 270, Lincoln-Way Central Music Boosters, Frankfort Area Jaycees and others – hosting booths
in conjunction with local businesses.
Further fun was had at the annual parade scheduled to take place on Sunday afternoon. “There are so many people to thank,” Cantrell said. “It’s so amazing. I don’t think anybody realizes
the amount of support it takes to run this. The Village of Frankfort, and the people here, has a culture of volunteerism. Without the culture of volunteerism we just wouldn’t be able
to function the way we do.”
Cantrell added that attending the event for the first time back in the day was a catalyst to her decision to live in Frankfort. “When I think of the memories that I have with my mom and my sister
down here and the fun we’ve had, it’s so cool that I get to be a part of it,” she said.