Orion Fall Festival has activities for everyone

Mindy Carls
One of the highlights of Orion Fall Festival is the children’s pedal tractor pull. This year’s contest is at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 4, at the parking lot at Kirk, Huggins and Esterdahl Funeral Home.

The 49th annual Orion Fall Festival has a full slate of activities from 5 p.m. tonight to 6 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 5, with most activities in Central Park.

Weekend activities include carnival rides, a food tent, arts and crafts, street dances, an ice cream social, strawberry shortcake dessert, parade, church service, car and tractor shows, pork chop dinner, free entertainment, Soapbox car derby, Orion Community Band performance and events for kids.

The annual pie auction, which raised nearly $22,000 in 2019, returns to kick off the festival at 6:30 p.m. Bonnie VanHoutte’s autumn pple pie won first place in 2019 and was sold to Tom Weber/Osco Tank for $900.

The Charger 10-mile and 5K runs start at 7:30 a.m., Saturday, Sept. 4, and will be held at the Rock Island Conservation Club, Milan. Other morning activities include the Orion Lions Club Bike/Hike4Sight, a candy hunt, the monkey bridge, and a tractor pull for the kids.

The theme of the annual parade is “We’re Back, America Strong”, and it starts at noon, Saturday, Sept. 4, at Orion Middle School. This is a change of time and route. While it has been a tough year, the theme honors the resilience and strength of communities in the Orion school district. Area residents are encouraged to voice their support of community on www.facebook.com/OrionFallFestival.

Deena Johnson, long-time community volunteer, will serve as grand marshal. Johnson has been an active participant in the festival over 25 years serving as festival race director, chairing the annual parade and evening dinners. An antique tractor show will immediately follow the parade on Fourth Street.

The Miss Main Street Orion pageant will be at 2 p.m. Saturday in Central Park. Little Miss and Junior Miss contestants will compete. All entrants must live in the Orion school district.

A cornhole tournament and 3-point and free throw contest will follow. A pork chop dinner served at the food tent near the park shelter begins at 5 p. m.

The Orion Lions Club annual pancake, sausage, biscuit and gravy breakfast starts at 7 a.m. Sunday, followed by a non-denominational church service at the park band shell at 8 a.m. Pastor Ann Cunningham of Orion United Methodist Church will deliver the sermon. The Orion Community Band will perform.

Racing in the Cub Scouts’ Soapbox derby begins at 10 a.m. on 11th Avenue, followed by the annual car show at noon. The car show will be dedicated to Stan Erdmann, the late owner of Triple E Sales and Service.

Rock the Park, featuring the performances of Orion and Quad Cities youth, will start at 2 p.m. in the bandshell.

The festival raffle drawing will be held at 5 p.m. at the bandshell.

Walking tacos and dessert will be served at Orion Methodist at 5 p.m., followed by Comedy Sportz featuring “Guys with Ties.” Admission to the show is free.

Street dances will be held throughout the weekend

Funds raised from festival activities serve community needs such as park improvements, playground equipment, and medical needs of individuals without

adequate insurance. Since 1972, total disbursements to the community have totaled almost $850,000.

For more information, visit www.facebook.com/OrionFallFestival