Our Town: Broom Corn Festival

Our Town 2019 - Arcola

ARCOLA, Ill. (WCIA) — When you think of Our Town, you may think of brooms and, when you think of big events in Douglas County, you might think of the Broom Corn Festival. It’s a big shebang almost 50-years strong and everyone in town owns it.

After all, this used to be considered the broom corn capital of the world. Angie Miller grew up going to this annual festival. From a young age, she was swept away with it.

“I think our vendors, who we bring in, the history of the brooms, having the broom tent, watching the broom-making, I think it’s just something different that people really love to see.”

It’s a huge affair.

“Oh, we’ll have over 100,000 people over the weekend in town, usually. Oh yeah, it’s a pretty big deal.”

Meet the voice of the Broom Corn Festival: Terry Thornton. The festival has been around 49-years and he’s been involved for 44 of them. He’s now proud to be the emcee.

“A lot of people come back that had moved away and stuff. They come back just for Broom Corn Festival. It’s just that family-oriented type of thing that brings everybody back.”

Every aspect of the festival tries to appeal to all different ages and tastes. All of it revolves around a family atmosphere.

“Uncle Joe, he’s over here on the corner with his pork chop on a stick. Cousin Sue, down here, she’s brought some arts and crafts for everybody to look at.”

Each year is a little different, but it’s always packed with a big parade, lively entertainment and a celebration of America’s broom town.

“I look forward to Broom Corn every year. It’ always so much fun to see all the different people coming in. A lot of the Arcola people come back for Broom Corn to see the streets lined with vendors and full of people. It’s just always so much fun.”

This year’s festival is September 6 – 8.

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