Well, folks, it’s here. PrairieFest kicks off today at 5 p.m. at PrairieFest Park, 91 Plank Road, and runs through Sunday. It’s the Oswegoland Park District’s biggest event of the year, and is expected to draw about 40,000 people through the weekend.
PrairieFest is now in its 24th year, and while you’ll get the usual food vendors, rides, games and live entertainment, organizers have added a few new things this year. For example, tonight, the festivities will begin in earnest with a demonstration by the Illinois American Rocket Society.
A full schedule of the day’s events can be found below. We’ll post each day’s schedule in the morning, for your convenience.
With PrairieFest comes an increase in traffic downtown, particularly along Route 71 between Washington Street and Route 34; Plainfield Road between Route 71 and Wooley Road; and on Madison, Washington and Main streets in downtown, Oswego police said.
Police advise to expect delays between now and Sunday, especially during Sunday’s PrairieFest Parade, from 1 to 2:30 p.m.
Entry to PrairieFest is free, and so is parking. You can leave your car at ’s north and south lots, the grass lots off of Plank Drive (where volunteers will guide you to a spot), the EastView Kindergarten Center lot, and the lot.
But you won’t be able to get in or park on the gravel parking lots at the soccer fields, police said.
Permit parking is available in the fenced-in lot next to the bus station along Plank Drive, and handicapped parking will be available directly across from the festival along Plank Drive. A bus will run between all the lots from 6 p.m. to close on Friday and Saturday.
No alcoholic beverages are allowed on the grounds. Here’s what the organizers have in store for you today:
5-9 p.m. PrairieFest Expo Village
Area crafters and businesses advertising services, selling products and giving stuff away!
5:30-6:30 p.m. Oswego Prairie Winds Concert - Main Stage
Community concert under the direction of Stephanie San Roman
6-7 p.m. PrairieFest Pirates and Princesses - Children's Tent
Kick off your family's PrairieFest weekend by visiting with your favorite pirates and fairy tale princesses.
6-10 p.m. Vogel's Excotic Petting Zoo
Sponsored by Ancel, Glink
6-10 p.m. Windy City Amusement Carnival
$20 Wristband Special - Unlimited Rides
6:30 p.m. PrairieFest Blast Off Rocket Demonstration - Main Stage
8-10:30 p.m. Wedding Banned - Main Stage
Skip the ceremony & start the party with the great music that's also an over-the-top show. Sponsored by Oswego Youth Tackle Football and Cheer. Check the band out here: www.weddingbanned.com.