Four days of Old Settlers Days 2024


Grayson Stocker had fun winning several prizes at different games at Old Settlers Days, which was held June 13-16 in Rockton IL.

Mega sized crowds at Old Settlers Days took in four days of fun at Settlers Park in Rockton, IL from June 13-16, 2024.

The festival is run by an all volunteer team of event organizers and committee members.

The Rockton Lions Club works closely with the Village of Rockton, Rockton Fire Protection District, Rockton Village Public Works Department, and Rockton Police Department.

Numerous volunteers come on the scene to help with set up, ticket sales, working in the beer tent, or clean up on the grounds.

Skinner's Amusements returned with rides at varied speeds catering to every age.

On the Midway were a variety of games and activities: Kristi's Hermit Crabs, a water blaster, balloon pop, Gator Grab, a photo booth, E-Claw machines, Lucky Duck, basketball games, Running Water, bass fishing, and Skee Ball.

Macey Paholski and Ethan and Thomas Zawada rode the Cliff Hanger.

Food choices included everything from Chinese fare to burgers, pizza, ice cream and specialty meals.

Vendors offered OSD apparel, hats, and other items for different ages and tastes.

Go Army recruiters greeted the public, provided information about military service, and demonstrated different types of weight lifting, allowing booth visitors to give it a try too.

The action started on Thursday at the American Legion banquet hall with a highly successful blood drive. Rockton Lions John Schamell welcomed 137 donors who together saved 390 lives. Each donor received a festival pass, and were also entered into a drawing for a chance to win a $500 Visa gift card.

As an added bonus the Lions of Illinois Foundation gave free vision screenings during the blood drive.

Special guests took an exclusive spin on the swings at the 2024 Old Settlers Days on Friday night.

Friday night, carnival chair Dan Garlow invited children with special needs and their families from local school districts to take a spin on specifically chosen rides, bringing fun and prompting smiles.

Long lines of fans waited hours to enter the concert area at night. Many held signs, some had song lyrics written along with a full message.

Headliners on the Bryden Country stage began with performer Taylor Austin Dye, who opened for Chase Matthew on Thursday night. Preston James set the stage before Nate Smith on Friday. Saturday night brought Austin Williams and Warren Zeiders into the spotlight.

Christine (Bryden) Lawver was one of the very generous event sponsors.

Logan Crosby warmed up the crowd prior to Parmalee rounding out Sunday night's entertainment.

Nate Smith invited seven year old Henry Combs of Machesney Park to the stage. Henry joined in singing World on Fire.

Combs said, "This was the best concert ever!"

Aubree and Evelyn held up signs while they waited in a long line for Friday night's Nate Smith with Preston James concert. Their signs held special lyrics from Nate Smith songs.

Austin Williams generously donated one hundred percent of the proceeds from his merchandise sales back to the Rockton Lions Club.

In the Apex General Contracting beer tent, the audience enjoyed different styles and genres of music, with performances by Lola Blu Band, Blind Date, Dirt Road Rebelz, Rollin Whiskey, Carson Hall, and Hanks Neighbors.

Blind Date entertained with an upbeat pop rock vibe.

The weather was perfect every day - with the exception of a short time on Sunday afternoon. Extreme winds rolled in followed by a brief rainstorm, causing all festival goers and everyone to evacuate the grounds.

Before the storm, the SMTD shuttle bus safely transported everyone to Hononegah Community High School, where school resource officer Emily Harrison let them in. Thanks to the quick thinking of all authorities and SMTD executive director Sharon Hecox, everyone remained safe. The festival resumed within a half an hour, with weather clearing for a beautiful night.

Hecox reflects, "It is always nice to see young and old come together to enjoy boot stomping, at the family friendly Old Settlers Days! This year we saw lots of happy and excited faces both coming and going on the SMTD shuttle. A huge Yee-ha to the Lions Club for OSD 24!"

Children in the Petrie and Paul families had prepared to have fun on Friday night at the Rockton Lions Club Old Settlers Days.

Profits of the OSD festival will be given back to the community. Some of the organizations that have been assisted by the Rockton Lions Club include Carrie Lynn Center, Boy Scout Troop #619, Girl Scouts, and Talcott Library.

Each day of the festival, the Rockton Lions Club presented a check to a different community organization. They gave a $10,000 donation to the Rockton Police Department, $5,000 to the Leader Dog program, $10,000 to the Center for Sight & Hearing,  plus $10,500 to the Old Stone Church Food Pantry.

As always, Rockton Lions collected old eyeglasses. June 1 was recognized as Helen Keller Day by Lions International.

The Rockton Lions Club Old Settlers Days festival draws thousands of people into Rockton every year. In 2018 the Rockton Lions Club was presented with a RAMI (Rockford Area Music Industry) People's Choice Award for Best Festival.

High level sponsors were able to enter the Lions Club VIP tent to enjoy food, beverage choices and ideal seating for concerts.

Two children rode in a colorful car at OSD 2024.

New this year: anyone who had festival passes was able to get into the races at the Blackhawk Classics event at Blackhawk Raceway.

Volunteer Cory Magnus returned from Texas to help out. "It is impressive - a wonderful group of volunteers doing what they do,"  Magnus said.

Volunteer and Rockton American Legion Auxiliary President Nicole Walker said, "There were massive crowds on Saturday but everyone was very patient, kind and generous while tipping for Wimpy's Fund in the beer tent. The time I worked serving refreshments flew by. The entertainment was great which always brings people in."

Volunteer Bonnie Estrada worked in the ride ticket booth. "I was pleased that most everyone, young and old, were very polite. Management of the booth by the Lions Club was well organized and put in a lot of work."

This year the winner of the 50/50 raffle won $2,000.

Rockton Lion Kerri Wallace, who spent many years in a leadership position with the festival said, "It is such a great time and people work so hard, the public has no idea how many volunteer hours go into this festival and all of the profits are given away!"

The 2024 Rockton Lions Club Old Settlers Days festival created family fun all four days, concluding with a spectacular fireworks display.

Zero Gravity was one of the faster rides that brave and daring festival attendees rode.
Families rode in the fire truck, one of a few rides reserved for early Friday night guests.
The Riley family landed safely at the end of the Super Slide.
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