Harvest Daze

Visitors make their way through the booths at the 2015 Harvest Daze festival on the Old Courthouse Museum grounds. Organizers hope the event returns this year.

WATSEKA — If COVID-19 regulations permit, Iroquois County’s Historical Society and Genealogical Society plan to move forward with annual events in 2021.

Harvest Daze 2021

The historical society plans to conduct its opening night fish fry of the Harvest Daze festival on Friday, Oct. 1. Currently, the group is planning to hold the festival on the grounds of the Old Courthouse Museum, 103 W. Cherry, Watseka, in the red barn.

Harvest Daze will take place on the museum grounds Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 2 and 3. It is hoped to be able to continue its tradition of bringing in many local crafters, artisans, gardeners and more to offer a wide range of items to Harvest Daze visitors.

The festival is sponsored by the ICHS as the major fundraiser to assist the group in keeping the museum open to the public. The ICHS is non-profit and relies heavily on donations and fundraiser funds to keep the building updated, repaired, maintained and restored, in addition to helping with utility bills.

For more information on setting up a booth during Harvest Daze, call 815-432-2215 and leave a message. Requests for information can also be sent via email to ichs221567@yahoo.com.

2021 plans

The genealogical society has not been open to the public for a while but the group has made plans for the rest of the year. The ICGS, a non-profit group, is located in the Old Courthouse Museum and in addition to helping people trace their family roots, they are the keepers of a lot of history, relating to people, townships and communities of Iroquois County.

Currently, the ICGS has been taking appointments from those who need assistance with family research. For those that are interested in assistance with family history or need information about what the ICGS can provide, there are a couple ways to get help. Call 815-432-3730 (leave a message and someone will return the call), email iroqgene@gmail.com or visit the group’s Facebook page (Iroquois County Genealogical Society).

Last year, the group had to cancel its “Scottish Clans and Castles” program due to the weather. Members are still trying to get that rescheduled and it is hoped to be able to present that program in late summer/fall.

The 50th anniversary of the ICGS was to be celebrated in June 2020, but, due to COVID, that had to be postponed and is now rescheduled for June 26 at the Old Courthouse Museum.

It is planned to have talks about several county townships such as how the townships were formed and some of their prominent people. This will take place on the front lawn of the museum. Cake and ice cream will be served to celebrate the ICGS’ birthday.

There are currently plans for the Iroquois County 4-H Club and Agricultural Fair to take place, and the group plans to have a booth in the commercial building. Visitors are invited to stop by for a visit.

The group is asking for “grab bag” items (small items such as vases, knickknacks, picture frames, small kids’ toys, etc.) wrapped in newspapers. This was a fundraiser for the group in 2019. Grab bag items can be dropped off at the genealogy office in the museum.

On Sunday, Sept. 12, the group plans to conduct a cemetery walk at Schwer Church Cemetery. These walks are very informative and popular. More details will be released as they are set.

The group plans to serve its famous ham and beans during Harvest Daze the first weekend of October.