Ellsworth Park to host 45th fall festival

Visitors at 2018’s Vermilion River Fall Festival could choose from among Indian corn, pumpkins, gourds and a variety of vegetables for sale at Bob's Market booth in Ellsworth Park. This year’s version of the festival begins Friday.

DANVILLE – The 45th annual Vermilion River Fall Festival and Farmers Market features a lot of returning favorite activities, food vendors and four large tents full of craft and commercial/flea market vendors.

There also are some new activities, including comedians on Friday night, a cake bake-off on the stage Saturday and Rainbow Fun House barrel train rides for children all weekend starting Friday night.

“They’ll have a train ride course for the little kids,” said Danville Recreation Superintendent Cindy Parson.

This is Parson’s 30th year of organizing the event. She and others try to think of ideas to add at least a few new activities each year.

“We’re looking forward to Friday night. We’ve never had a comic act,” she said.

Parson said of the cake bake-off, there is a $5 entry fee. Judges will include Danville Public Works Director Carl Carpenter and Danville Area Community College Adult Education and Literacy Director Laura Williams. Mayor Rickey Williams Jr. will be attending an Illinois Municipal League conference.

Parson said the cake must be homemade. It can’t be store bought.

Participants can enter as many cakes as they want to make. The cakes can be dropped off from 10 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. Saturday. Judging starts at 11 a.m. The cakes will be judged on taste, texture, appearance and difficulty.

The winner will win all the cash from the entries. The leftover cake slices also will be sold.

Parson said they thought the cake bake-off would be something fun to try.

Some of the returning festival activities include children’s inflatables and climbing wall, yard games, tomahawks and dunk tank.

The free festival runs Friday through Sunday at Ellsworth Park. There are about 100 craft and commercial/flea market vendors and 13 food vendors.

There also will be the Illiana Antique Automobile Club car show that is open to all divisions from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, face painting, free library story time and crafts from 12-5 p.m. Saturday, cash bingo from 2-5 p.m. Saturday and noon-3 p.m. Sunday, silent auction and the beer garden.

In addition, there will be the Medieval LARP Boffer Combat Show. Parson said the local group will be dressed up and have soft gear with them.

Volunteers still are needed for a river cleanup. The City of Danville Parks and Recreation Division and Keep Vermilion County Beautiful are sponsoring a volunteer river cleanup at Ellsworth Park 9-11 a.m. Saturday.

Individuals and groups of all ages are encouraged to participate. Volunteers should check in at the Pride Grows trailer just west of the footbridge. Pickers and trash bags will be provided. Volunteers are encouraged to bring their own tools if they wish. Appropriate footwear is recommended.

For information, contact City of Danville Park Superintendent Steve Lane at (217) 431-2273.

Lane said volunteers could bring a shovel to get in the gravel bars of the river, and they could wear long pants and bring a long-sleeve shirt in case of poison ivy.

“River levels are down right now. They removed the dam and we had a pretty severe drought. That exposes a lot of debris that has been covered for many, many years,” Lane said.

“It makes it a great time to get near the river,” he said too about the cleanup and it being safe. There usually is deep water right off the bank.

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