By Barbara Bergdolt
Special to the Tribune-Star
Autumn is in the air, and so are thoughts of this weekend’s annual Paris (Ill.) Honeybee Festival. The festival runs Friday through Sunday in downtown Paris.
As always, the Kiwanis-sponsored festival is currently being promoted with car license plates. A few vendor spots are still available. Otherwise, the event is brimming with entertainment, food and fun for all ages and will be overseen by Honeybee Queen Taylor Barrett and Junior Miss Erin Gahimer and the Kiwanis Honeybee Committee.
Food is a longtime favorite with festival-goers. The “pancake tent” sponsored by the Kiwanis Club of Paris will operate Friday and Saturday on the north side of the square. The traditional pancake and sausage meal will be served both days from 6 a.m. to 1 p.m. Tickets may be purchased from any Kiwanis member in advance, or patrons may contact Jim Mathis at 217-463-8440. Tickets will also be available at the door.
Many other food vendors can be found around the square, including the Sons of the American Legion on the south side.
The Kiwanis Aktion Club will also offer its “home built” doghouses in different sizes for sale.
Also, on Saturday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., children can enjoy the bounce house and other inflatables on the courthouse lawn for a small fee.
Free live entertainment will begin at 7 p.m. Friday with the traditional central-Illinois favorite Battle Creek Country. The band has been performing country music since 1985 with a family friendly program representing elements of a Branson theater, the Grand Ole Opry, and a Texas dance hall. The members blend old and new country music with original songs, a little rock ’n‘ roll, and “down-home” humor. The group of four will play until 9 p.m. on the north side of the square.
In addition, from 8 p.m. until midnight, the group Backflash will perform in the Sons of the American Legion beer tent on the south side of the square.
Following Saturday’s 11 a.m. parade along Main Street and Central Avenue, free family friendly entertainment sponsored by Edgar County Bank and First Bank & Trust will continue throughout the afternoon on the north side of the square in front of the Edgar County Bank. (The Kiwanis pancake tent is scheduled as the rain location.) The first group of entertainers will be the Troy Stone Band, which plays acoustic rock, pop and some country rock. Sounds are similar to Bon Jovi and Keith Urban songs. The band will play from noon to 2 p.m.
Following the Troy Stone Band will be another local favorite, Tanner Laughlin, who will be playing from from 2 to 4 p.m. The group sings and plays in the Christian country style.
Once again, Switchback will conclude the evening downtown in the Sons of the American Legion tent from 8 p.m. to midnight.
For more information on the bands, visit the Honeybee Festival Facebook page at facebook.com/honeybeefestival or honeybeefestival.com.
Sunday’s events include vendors until 3 p.m. and the Kymaerica Spelling Bee in the alley next to Teri’s Threads at 2.
This year, shuttle service will be available between the fairgrounds and downtown on Saturday only. The service will be provided by RIDES Mass Transit District. Pickup schedule is 9 to 11 a.m. and noon to 4 p.m. No service will be provided during the parade. Pickup will be behind the Edgar County Bank on Morgan Drive and Main Street and at the American Legion parking lot across from the fairgrounds on Illinois 1. Donations will be accepted and will be given to the United Way.
The Kiwanis portion of the downtown Honeybee Festival is planned entirely by volunteers from the Kiwanis Club of Paris and its Honeybee Committee, which is chaired by Brian Blair. Money raised from Kiwanis-festival events is used to support children, primarily locally, as evidenced by the Kiwanis International theme, “Serving the Children of the World.”