Elwood Line has not attended every single Momence Gladiolus Festival.

The lifelong resident of “The Old Border Town’’ missed a Glad Fest some years back when he instead traveled to Arizona to attend his parents’ anniversary celebration.

But he has been on hand for the inaugural event in 1938 and all other festivals, and at 3 p.m. today, he will hold a special place of distinction as the grand marshal of the Grand Street Parade which is part of the 82nd annual Glad Fest.

Line’s earliest memories of the Glad Fest are when the carnival grounds were located south of the Kankakee River on Dixie Highway, and he picked gladiolus from sunup to sundown for the parade floats. He did this from the time he was a young child until he was a young adult.

Another childhood festival memory was riding on the carnival rides. Decades later, his favorite things about the festival are reconnecting with family and friends and watching the parades.

Today, he will get an altogether new parade view, although he has not always attended parades as a spectator. Line helped build floats from his earliest days, and often pulled floats with his International F250 tractor.

Line and his future wife, Joanne LeBeau, met on the Glad Fest carnival grounds in 1950 and started dating a week later. They married in 1953 and have been united for 66 years. They have three children, Denise, Scott and Kurt, two grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. His sons will drive him through Saturday’s parade.

A “retired” farmer and owner of Elwood Line Grain & Fertilizer for 34 years, he still continues to help his sons and runs the combine at harvest. Line is also a former Gladiolus Festival Association board member and a former 25-year member of the Momence school board. These days, he spends time observing crops and gathering with his friends at a local coffee shop each morning.

Here is the remaining Glad Fest schedule:


8 a.m.: 5K and 10K River Run sponsored by the Lions Club

8 to 3 p.m.: Car show, flea, craft and antique market at Momence Island Park, admission $3

3 p.m.: Grand Street Parade

4 to 10:30 p.m.: Carnival provided by Swyear Amusements at Je-Neir School ground, admission $1

8 p.m. to midnight: Beer garden

8 p.m. to midnight: High Anxiety, River Street stage, admission $5

10 p.m.: Glad Fest 31 Day early bird raffle drawing, River Street Stage


8 to 3 p.m.: Car show, flea, craft and antique market at Momence Island Park, admission $3

11 a.m.: Beer and Bloody Mary garden

Noon to 4 p.m.: Adult bean bag tournament and beer garden

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