MT. VERNON ILL, June 16- The 9th Annual Mt. Vernon Fall Fest will be held September 25th and 26th this year. The festival’s theme, “#618Strong”, was recently decided upon in light of the challenges 2020 has brought our region. The theme will encompass the entire Southern Illinois community and invite them to come together to participate in the festival. Everyone has been impacted by COVID-19 in some way.
“Local businesses were forced to close, many knew family members or friends who were ill or passed away, essential workers worked long hours to provide needed supplies and services,” Mt. Vernon Festivals, Inc. President, Jason Hulbert stated, “Now is the time to support each other in unity, show compassion, and keep the businesses in our region going. Everyone is invited to celebrate #618Strong!”
Significant changes will be made to Fall Fest this year to ensure the safety and health of all attendees. Not every component of the festival will be able to return in 2020. However, the Mt. Vernon Festivals Board and Fall Fest Committee are working hard to make certain that as many Fall Fest favorites can return as possible.
Mt. Vernon Festivals, Inc. Vice president, Lisa Damron mentioned, “Vendors will be spaced apart in the festival area so it will look different than years past and will probably flow into more areas depending on the number of vendors. We will instruct vendors to follow any guidelines that are in place at the end of September as well.”
Many sanitation stations will be placed throughout the festival zone and the entertainment viewing area is being expanded to enable distancing while enjoying the live music. The committee is planning to hold a Fall Fest Crossroads Community Hospital Parade on Saturday, the 26th at 1 p.m. This non-traditional Crossroads Community Hospital Parade will be held with modifications, but one thing that is known is the mission. “We want to highlight the heroes. Anyone can put a float in the Crossroads Community Hospital Parade, but we ask that each one highlight a person or entity that stepped up and kept us going through all of this,” said Marketing Executive, Grace Payne. “The route might have to be different to allow people to watch from their cars, candy won’t be able to be thrown out, but we can still make it fun and memorable.” More details on specific modifications and events at Fall Fest will be released closer to the event to enable planning for any regulations in place at that time.
“During this planning time, we are reaching out to other non-profit organizations to join us at this event and celebrate #618Strong together. We already have the Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce, Mt. Vernon Business and Professional Women’s Club and Downtown Mt. Vernon Development Corporation partnering with Mt. Vernon Festivals and would like to invite other organizations to the table,” added Festival Director, Angela Schrum. “Many organizations had their annual events cancelled, we want to use this time to come together as a region and celebrate everything that makes us great.”
The annual Downtown Mt. Vernon Development Cruise-In will be held on Friday the 25th from 5-8 p.m. this year on North 9th St. The public is encouraged to come enjoy oldies music by Hot Rod Nights while they view Creativity Redefined! in unique and classic cars, trucks and motorcycles.
“It has been a challenge this year to say the least, but we are trying to do something,” Hulbert concluded. “We expect sponsorships from businesses to be down because so many were hit so hard by having to be closed for two months or more and having to modify the way they do business. We are hoping to have some that weren’t as financially impacted step up and assist with this celebration. We had already started planning this year’s event before the pandemic hit. We scrapped what we had planned and have started from scratch. Fall Fest won’t be exactly what people are used to, but we hope everyone will come together and show what makes us #618Strong.”
Fall Fest 2020 will be a fun-filled two days for Southern Illinois as we celebrate the strength and perseverance this community has shown. Come spend your weekend in downtown Mt. Vernon at Fall Fest September 25-26th Watch for more information coming soon at www.facebook.com/mtvfestivals.