Old Settlers Days carried out traditions of rides, music, food and fun in 2022


Surely the thrills are about to begin - the Cliffhanger was a popular ride once again.

Four days of family fun happened at the 2022 Old Settlers Days festival from June 16-19. Settlers Park in Rockton was where the main action took place.

This long-time tradition was made possible by volunteers from the Rockton Lions Club and the community.

Carol Wright and Andy Honkamp served as co-chairs for the overall event. Each was accompanied by a team of co-chairs. In addition to the Rockton Lions Club committee, volunteers helped with setting up, staffing the beer tent, selling ride tickets, helping at the front entrance, or working in other capacities.

Each day perfect weather conditions set the scene for this year's event.

Four day passes allowed entry into the festival gates. Ride tickets let brave visitors ride the dragon coaster, bumble bees, the Scrambler, the Cliffhanger, or other cool ride options offered by Skinners Amusements.

Other game options on the midway included a frog pond, a “Break a Bottle” game, a duck pond, popping balloons, Skee Ball, and football and basketball games.

The OSD blood drive welcomed 154 donors who gave the gift of life. This year's drive was organized by John Schamell. All who gave received a free festival admission pass. To earn additional passes, participants donated old eyeglasses.

Saturday morning started off with the 5K Fun Run/walk to benefit the Carrie Lynn Center. Action kicked off at Hononegah High School with a colors presentation and our national anthem. Participants were treated to breakfast at the Rockton Fire station. Runner earned awards in different categories.

Saturday afternoon produced a fun, festive parade that rolled down Main Street with 22 entries. The Rockton American Legion Walter Graham Post #332 Rifle Squad marched on route, with the Ladies Auxiliary following closely behind. Rockton Lions District Governor Tami Verstraete was honored as the Grand Marshal. Remote control cars, Fearfest, rollerbladers, Hammy the Ice Hog, The Old Stone Church and Winnebago County Fair Queen along with Little Miss and Jr. Miss recipients only tap the surface of what was seen in the parade. Behind the parade's success were chairs Rockton Police Chief Matt Hollinger and Lion Jeff Schreck.

The winner of the Hefty 50/50 raffle was Natalie Gifford of Machesney Park.

Pizza, corn dogs, beverages or specialty foods offered energy for festival goers.

Country music hit the main stage each night drawing solid crowds of fans. Thursday night Ashley Cooke, Spencer Crandall and Cooper Alan took the stage. LOCASH and Sean Stemaly were Friday night's entertainment.

Saturday night's concert lineup changed when Ashley McBryde had to cancel her show due to unforeseen circumstances. Rockton Lions Club organizers were ready with a new plan as they welcomed Tyler Rich with special guest Kameron Marlowe on Saturday night. Sunday night Jordan Davis welcomed Shy Carter to share the spotlight.

Local talents of Minimal, Chico and the Man, Dirt Road Rebelz, Over the Limit, Bree Morgan and Dirty Fishnet Stockings were featured in the beer tent. Each had their own style and performed different genres of music.

Vendors offered unique products for purchase.

Parking was available in the Hononegah High School's parking lot. First Student bus shuttles got visitors safely to the gates.

A stunning fireworks display lit up the night sky on Sunday night, rounding out a highly successful event.

All proceeds from the Old Settlers Days festival go back into supporting community organizations and projects.

The Rockton Lions Club Old Settlers Days festival draws thousands of people into Rockton every year. In 2018 and 2022 the Rockton Lions Club was presented with a RAMI (Rockford Area Music Industry) Peoples Choice Award for Best Special Event in the Rockford area.

Profits of the OSD festival will be given back to the community through various donations. Organizations that receive assistance by the Rockton Lions Club include but are not limited to The Center for Sight and Hearing, Carrie Lynn Children's Center, Boy Scout Troop 619, Girl Scouts, and Talcott Free Library.

Boy Scout Troop 619 partnered with the Rockton Lions Club during the festival by cleaning up the grounds and by separating aluminum cans. In exchange the troop is allowed to keep the funds from collecting the aluminum cans.

Rockton Lions Club member and former Trustee Cory Magnus and his family made the trek from their new home in Texas to help with set up and anywhere help was needed. The Magnus family relocated to Spring Texas because of the Chemtool fire last year. Cory Magnus has remained a strong community volunteer throughout the years. With that relocation he had to give up many of the hats that he wore while living in Rockton. The Old Settlers Days festival is one of those areas that Magnus has a strong attachment to as he has been helping with the grounds and layout since 2009.

“I felt that I needed to assist this year and not leave those in charge to figure it out alone... Many have asked if we might make this a yearly family trip; it is something to consider. It was great to see many family and friends,” Magnus said.

Thanks to the dedication of volunteers, with a heart for helping others, the Old Settlers Days festival came to life in 2022.

Parker, Ellie and Nate were joined by Scott, Payton and Trish, Kat and Katlyn who enjoyed a variety of festival foods while relaxing on the Old Settlers Days grounds on Saturday, June 18.

Young festival goer Laura Lynn waves to her dad as she took a ride in a pink car.

The dragon coaster always remains a popular ride option offered by Skinners Amusements.

Ryan Guspie, Chris Born, Bristel Foselballs, Galeb Hocien, Brendon Flores, Ava Stremmel, Cailey Richardson, and Adrianna Plancarte had fun together as they collected winnings from playing various games including a football toss.

School bus company First Student got into the full spirit of the weekend. They had an informational booth, participated in the parade in a detailed float and gave shuttle rides to the festival gates.

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