Pumpkin Festival starts Wednesday

SYCAMORE – The 51st annual Sycamore Pumpkin Festival officially starts Oct. 24.

This will be the first festival since the death of its founder Wally “Mr. Pumpkin” Thurow earlier this year. Jerry Malmassari, president of the festival, recalled how Thurow strived to bring national attention to the annual event.

“He wanted to be on Jay Leno and to bring some national acts (to Sycamore),” Malmassari said. One national act will make its Pumpkin Festival debut this year – the Radio Disney Road Show will be on stage in the 100 block of Somonauk Street near NB&T from 2 to 3:30 p.m. on Saturday, Malmassari said.

Another new event will be a live broadcast by a radio show from Atlanta, Ga.

“Chef and the Fatman are going to do a live radio show from Sycamore High School on Saturday,” said Denis Jagodzinski, this year’s Friend of the Festival. The Georgia duo host the nation’s only call-in radio cooking show. They will sell autographed copies of their cookbook, “Chef and the Fatman: The Red, White, and Blue Collar Cookbook,” to raise money for a Wally Thurow memorial in Sycamore. The show will be streamed live online at

The complete schedule and parade route is online at

Pumpkin Festival Events

Daily: Pumpkin display on the courthouse lawn. Free.

Wednesday, Oct. 24
• 4-9 p.m. Pumpkin Check-in at the courthouse lawn
• 4:30-6:30 p.m. Trick-or-treating at downtown businesses. Free.
• 5 p.m. Giant cake cutting ceremony, North Maple Street at the courthouse. Free.

Thursday, Oct. 25
• 7-8:30 a.m. Kiwanis Prayer Breakfast, Sycamore United Methodist Church, 160 Johnson Ave.
• 5-10 p.m. Teen Carnival at Sacramento and State streets and Kiddie Carnival at Somonauk and Elm streets. $20 unlimited ride special from 5 to 9 p.m. at the teen carnival.
• 7 p.m. Frightening Tales in the Library, Sycamore Public Library. Very scary stories for kids 5-12. Free.

Friday, Oct. 26
• 5-11 p.m. Teen and kiddie carnivals
• Noon-5:30 p.m. United Methodist Church Craft Show, 160 Johnson Ave. Food served.
• 1:30-5 p.m. Blood drive on South Maple Street

Saturday, Oct. 27
• 7-11 a.m. Rotary pancake breakfast, Federated Church, 612 W. State St.
• 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Blood drive on South Maple Street
• 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Autumn Craft & Treasures Market, Sycamore High School. Adults $2, seniors and students $1.
• 9 a.m.-5 p.m. United Methodist Church Craft Show. Food served.
• 10 a.m. Giant pumpkin contest, courthouse lawn. Free.
• 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Historic homes tour. Adults $20, under 12 free. Tickets available at the Sycamore History Museum, 1730 N. Main St., and at homes on the walk.
• 10 a.m.-11 p.m. Teen and kiddie carnivals. $20 unlimited ride special noon to 4 p.m.
• 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Burger luncheon, Bethel Assembly of God Church, 131 W. Elm St.
• 1-5 p.m. Zombie miniature golf, Sycamore Public Library. $10 per person, $25 for a family. Not recommended for those who scare easily.
• 2-3:30 p.m. Radio Disney Road Show, 100 block of Somonauk Street. Free.
• 4 p.m. Kiwanis pie-eating contest, courthouse lawn
• 6 p.m. Scary stories in the cemetery, Elmwood Cemetery. Bring chairs, blankets and flashlights. This event is not for children; stories are very scary. Free.

Sunday, Oct. 28
• 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Autumn Craft & Treasures Market, Sycamore High School. Adults $2, seniors and students $1.
• 9:35 a.m. Pumpkin Festival 10k
• 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Teen and kiddie carnivals. $20 unlimited ride special 10 a.m.-2 p.m.
• 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Burger luncheon, Bethel Assembly of God church
• 11 a.m.-3 p.m. St. Mary’s Church food booth, Waterman and Somonauk streets
• 11 a.m.-3 p.m. St. Peter’s Church food booth, 218 Somonauk St.
• 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Stilt juggler Jason Kollum and magician and balloon artist Magic Matt will perform along the parade route and downtown. Free.
• 1 p.m. Pumpkin Festival Parade. Route travels Somonauk, Elm, California, State and Main streets. Free.
• 4-6 p.m. Sycamore Park District Halloween costume contest and entertainment for kids 2 to 12, Sycamore Middle School. Free.

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