Looking back on Old Settlers Days
Today’s Old Settlers Days has little resemblance to its humble origins in the early 1980’s.
The event was held in downtown Rockton. Local country and rock bands provided musical entertainment. One of the highlights of the early OSD weekend was the children’s Big Wheel Race on Main St.
According to Steve Pomahac, who was chairman of the event between 2000-2019, a number of downtown business owners were not happy about the festival location. They felt the location was too confining. It was crowded and hurt their businesses.
On the other hand, bars and restaurants along Main Street did very well in the downtown location.
“Two of the local Main Street bars brought in a third of their yearly revenue during OSD weekend,” Pomahac said.
In 2019, the Rockton Lion’s Club took over production and sponsorship of OSD.
The Lion’s Club decided to move the festival to Settlers Park on Hawick Street. The property needed a lot of work. Members, including Pomahac and former Rockton Village President Dale Adams, hauled in gravel and graded the uneven land.
Eventually, Macktown Bank, now First National Bank, donated a parcel of land near Hawick and Sonoco donated a second parcel. The Lions also decided to move the date to June instead of July.
Long-time Rockton resident Charlotte Larrison said Lion’s Club members work hard to make OSD a success. “They have done a great job of promoting the festival. It’s family-oriented and all the money earned goes back to the Rockton community.”
Old Settlers Day has blossomed into what is now one of the Midwest’s biggest summer music events. Many well-known country and rock musicians entertain enthusiastic crowds throughout the four-day festival.
This year’s lineup includes: Ashley McBride, Jordan Davis, LOCASH, Sean Stemaly, Carylee Hammack, Shy Carter, Spencer Crandall, Ashley and Cooper Allen.
Local bands: Minimal, Chico and the Man, Dirt Road Rebelz, Over the Limit, Bree Morgan and Dirty Fishnet Stockings will perform in the beer tent.
The celebration begins Thursday evening, June 16, and runs through Sunday evening, June 19.
Check out oldsettlersdays.com for ticket information. Visitors can also purchase tickets at the gate.