by Eric A Thomas
What would the summer be like in central Illinois without hometown celebrations? South Jacksonville will be kicking off the celebration season the first weekend in May with The South Jacksonville Celebration.
The festivities will kick off on Friday evening, May 5 at Prairieland Heritage Museum, 1005 W. Michigan Ave. in South Jacksonville. Starting at 6 p.m. and going until 10 p.m., Conner Family Amusements out of Beardstown will run their carnival. It is free admission, free parking and free carnival rides. Carnival games and food vendors will be at a cost. This will be the second year for the carnival and the number of rides has been increased from 7 to 15, including a Ferris wheel. They provide something for everyone in the family.
In addition to Conner Family Amusements’ two food trucks, additional food vendors will be present. Leo’s Pizza on Wheels, the Zingabad Grotto bus and Mel’s Snack Shack will each have food and drink items available to purchase.
At 10 a.m. on Saturday, May 6, The South Jacksonville Celebration’s parade will kick off at the corner of West Vandalia Road and Sequoia Drive, by the South Jacksonville Police and Fire Department. The parade will proceed west down Vandalia to South Diamond St. and continue on South Diamond until turning west on West Michigan Ave, ultimately ending at the Prairieland Heritage Museum. All entries are welcome. If you would like to enter, contact Amy Oxley with the Village of South Jacksonville at 217-245-4803, option 4.
The fun continues Saturday with two blocks of carnival entertainment times, 1-5 p.m. and 6-10 p.m. As a reminder, the admission, parking and rides for the carnival are free. According to Village of South Jacksonville President Dick Samples, The South Jacksonville Celebration has been in existence in one form or another for over 50 years.
“Our Village partnership with Four Rivers Special Education District gives students with multiple disabilities, including deaf/hard of hearing and the visually impaired, the chance to experience carnival rides, games and food,” stated Paula Stewart, event organizer.
Stewart continued, “The Village remains steadfast in our mission for inclusion in all aspects of equity and diversity within our community and beyond.”
The South Jacksonville Celebration is made possible by the Village of South Jacksonville tourism fund, with the sponsors being Village of South Jacksonville, Conner Family Amusements, Inc., and Four Rivers Special Education District.