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Atwood Apple Dumpling Festival/Sesquicentennial Huge Success

Staff Writer

The 29th Atwood Apple Dumpling Festival is behind us and the town has celebrated their Sesquicentennial, 150 years of good (and bad) changes. The hype of planning the Sesquicentennial Kick-off in June and continuing the Apple Dumpling Festival and Sesquicentennial in August is a big job, but the Atwood Chamber of Commerce and Atwood Sesquicentennial Committee, plus many volunteers, pulled it off with great success.

Approximately 54 regular vendors provided quality merchandise for festival-goers, and approximately 12 food vendors had a lot of mouths to feed. There were several new vendors this year. Two food vendors in particular were the talk of the town, first the pork chop on a stick by the Atwood Firemen was a big hit and I can tell you they were delicious. Next were the Bronuts (mini donuts). You can eat them like popcorn. There was other great food for the festival, but these were new and caught a lot of attention.

The parade was a huge hit and brought over 80 entries. The Apple Dumpling parade is always great and this year was even better with the multiple entries. A highlight of the parade was having the 1973 Village President Bob Beery and Centennial Queen Sue Luck Falk as co-Grand Marshals of the parade. Having the Quick Family ancestors on a float was so impressive. It was great they were being a part of the past and future. The A-H 50-Year Class (1973) was well represented with so many classmates returning for the event. I was told they had a great time and glad to be a part of the festival.

The Sesquicentennial committee closed out their months of work by being on a float. Thank you, gals, for a great job. Calamity Jane made quite an impression with festival goers. “Howdy” Calamity, nice to have you with us.

The Henningsens brought back a lot of hometown people and there were people as far as the eye could see to enjoy their concert.

Sesquicentennial Village and their many games were a huge addition. The committee worked hard to “uncover” treasures from the past and had them on display in the former Village Hall.

What a great car show, hosted by Bill Fleming and the First Baptist Church of Atwood. There were 43 cars and one motorcycle in the show. Best of Show award went to Mike Green of Arthur with his 1937 Ford Custom Roadster. Other winners included:

Top 3 Winners of 1934 cars and older: Larry Leitch, Mattoon, 1932 Chevy Confederate; Ron Schnouf, Decatur, 1934 3-window Coupe; Billy & Tonya Barrow, Newman, 1929 Studebaker Commander.

Top 5 Overall Winners: Mick Price, Atwood, 1969 ZL-1 Camaro; Bill & Jan Jones, Atwood, 1961 Ford Starliner; Mike Orndorff, Newman, 1939 Ford 2-door Sedan; Neal Fentress, Hammond, 1957 Chevy Belair; Ron Miller, Tuscola, 1954 Ford Customline.
Pastor’s Choice: Dale & Celeste Conner, Camargo, 1967 Pontiac, GTO Tribute.

Michael’s Tavern was busy inside and out with bands, outdoor bar and Corn Hole. Winners in the Corn Hole game were Lacey Thompson, 1st, and Caleb Perry, 2nd. Congratulations to these winners.

For the first time in the history of the Apple Dumpling Festival, Vernita Henson, owner of Top Knot Dog Grooming, had an outstanding dog show. The crowd was truly into the show and enjoyed the dogs. Winners in the dog contest were: Waggiest Tail-Precious, a Chinese Hairless Crested owned by Michael Rogers and shown by his mom and daughter, Lisa Bowlin and Sarah Rogers; Best Trick: Trigger, a Standard Poodle, owned by Melinda McCray of Atwood; Best Look-a-like, Stella, a German Shepherd owned by Michael Cox of Charleston; and 2023 Apple Dumpling Dog (Crowd Favorite), Earl, a Great Dane, owned by Katy Patient of Atwood. This was a huge addition to the festival.

Winner of the Framed Prints of Mackville, IL by acclaimed local artist Bob Day was Dale Hammel of Atwood. The prints were donated by Kendal (Day) & Mike Helfrich.

Danny Powell of rural Arthur was the winner of the Atwood American Legion #770 50/50 raffle. Danny graciously donated the money back to the legion.

The Impact Life Bloodmobile blood drive was a huge success with 10 units collected, saving 30 lives. Jami & Ryan Bowles started this five years ago to bring awareness to Kawasaki’s Disease. Their daughter Mackenzi, now 20, was diagnosed with KD when she was 2 years old. Mackenzi is now a healthy young woman with a happy life.

Over 1,000 apple dumplings were sold by the Atwood American Legion Auxiliary and the United Church of Atwood sold 60 gallon of homemade ice cream. Needless to say, it was all delicious.

The food at the Atwood Christian Church was delicious as well. The breakfast at the United Church brought in a big crowd.

To put everything in a nutshell, so to speak, the Apple Dumpling Festival and Sesquicentennial celebrations were wonderful. Mother Nature couldn’t have been better to Atwood with great weather.

A special thank you to EVERYONE who participated in any way. For example, those who attended, worked, vendors, parade participants, antique tractors, beautiful cars in the car show, kiddie tractor pull, and on and on. If I have missed anyone, I apologize. There was so much going on, it is hard to keep track of everything.

The chamber would like to thank Markus Deel and his fiancé Keeley, for all their work. Markus is invaluable when it comes to knowing what needs to be done before we think about it. They even started picking up the street on Saturday night, getting a head start on Sunday.

Next year, 2024, the Atwood Chamber of Commerce will celebrate 30 years. If you have any ideas for something special to do, please contact a chamber member right away and let them know. Work begins on next year’s festival right after this year’s event ends.

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