Monday, October 17, 2011

Can you say "Burgoo"?

Every October the town of Utica, Illinois hosts the "Burgoo Festival". What the heck is "Burgoo" you ask? I know, I scratched my head on that word, myself. Burgoo is a thick stew that the pioneers used to make. It is made with chicken, beef, or small game, vegetables, tomatoes and a lot of seasoning. The Burgoo Festival also offers a chance for many vendors to sell their wares. Many vendors - to the tune of over 200!

For some reason or another, Jim and I have missed this festival each year, even though it is held in the same town as the campground we stay at; either we are already out of the area or we have other plans on that weekend. Well, FINALLY we were going to be able to attend. Yippee!

I happened to speak to a couple in the campground a couple of days before the festival. (The campground was totally full due to the festival.) The man recommended that we plan to leave for the festival no later than 9:30 am because it gets SO crowded and parking is a rare commodity. In fact, people start parking miles away from the festival, pay $5, and get BUSSED to the area.

I mentioned to my daughter what our plans were, and since her husband was busy on Saturday, Jessica thought she'd come out with Lily (granddaughter), and we'd drive to the festival in her car. Jess arrived around 9:20 am on Saturday, we piled in the car, and off we went. I was surprised that we drove  right into town and there was parking available.

"Wow," I said. "We really got here early."

There wasn't much happening. We saw a group of people down the street and walked down to see what was happening there.

There was an auction going on.

We turned around and walked down the main street, turned down another street when we saw some booths being set up.

I have to admit that I was a wee bit disappointed. You call this a festival?

I stopped to ask some passerby what was going on.

"Excuse me. Are you from around here?"

"Yes, I live in this town," the woman answered, standing next to I assume her mother.

"Well, when does the festival start? It looks pretty dead around here." I said.

"The festival is TOMORROW." She was kind enough not to laugh at me.

"Really? How did I miss that?"

So Saturday was a practice run. (You know, come to think of it, I DID think it was funny that the couple who told us to leave early was still at their camper when we left!)

Unfortunately Jessica had plans for Sunday, so Jim and I had to take Big Blue and drive down.

We decided it best if we left even earlier.

So we were on our way by 9:00 am.

We got about a mile from the campground and saw people already parking in a remote parking area.


But we took our chances and continued into town.

The good news is that we found parking right up front.

The bad news is that we paid $10 to park.

But we could leave when we wanted to and not have to wait for a shuttle bus.

I'm glad we came when we did. It wasn't too crowded yet.

The streets that were barren the day before were now lined with wall-to-wall vendors selling all kinds of things like:

Painted saws

airplanes made from pop cans

Or do you prefer Coke?
beautiful hand-made wooden rolling pins
See the turkey in the leaf?
I have to be careful when I am at a craft show. I ALWAYS ask if I can take a photo of a person's craft, and I sometimes add that it is for my blog. ONE TIME I was asked not to take photos. The woman as adamant and I assume she thought I was stealing her idea. If she only knew that I had NOT ONE crafty bone in my body! But I respected her wishes and after that incident I ALWAYS ask!

Here's someone who said "YES" when I asked.

Meet Michael Kilby.

He is a young entrepreneur and CEO of the company Subtle Tees, a fun T-shirt company. Here's the way it works:

Shirt Color + Word = a phrase = a SubtleTee

For example: Solid Gold, Sky Blue, etc.. Get it?
Aren't these fun?
If you'd like to order one of these t-shirts or just get more information, visit Michael's website here.

There is all kinds of food available at the festival. Starting with breakfast.

This is before the lunch rush.

Mmmmm......can't you just smell those brats cooking?

I was tempted, but I wanted to taste the Burgoo, because, c'mon it IS the Burgoo Festival, right?

It was a beautiful, extremely warm fall day, and I felt sorry for the cooks of the burgoo, stirring the stew over hot coals.

Jim gobbling up the burgoo
Jim really liked the burgoo; I thought it was good but definitely spicy!

This is a shot of Main Street before it got really crowded.

One thing I love to do is capture the feeling of the crowd; to try to get some photos of people unaware, or to ask if I can take their photos. The following are just that.

Awesome paint job!
Doesn't this just warm your heart?

When I asked the woman in this next photo if I could take her picture she said, "You KNOW why I'm wearing this hat, right? I'm selling them! I don't normally walk around with a hat like this!" The name of her booth? "STUFF"

Some people brought their dogs; this woman chose to CARRY hers!

Man blowing into a lizard's's kind of a flute. whatever!

Doesn't everybody dye their hair to match their pants?

I don't care what anybody says....this is downright freaky!

And finally, here's a middle-aged couple taking time out to rest and sip on their bloody mary drinks. Hey - doesn't matter that it was about 10:00 am. It's 5 o'clock SOMEWHERE, right?

I hope you enjoyed spending the day with me at the Burgoo Festival!


Anonymous said...

what fun, you always take us to the best places:)

thanks for the heads up on the tee's I'm heading to his sight now, way cool :)

Country Gal said...

How fun. love the photos. We have a yearly craft show here and it is in a huge ware house in town and houses over 400 venders there is everything in it, we love it , its a great day out all kinds of home made crafts of all kinds for every season from wood working to foods . I get some of the best stuff there. Have a wonderful day !

Eva Gallant said...

Wow! Looks like quite an event! Thanks for taking us with you!

Brian Miller said...

oh wow lots to see, glad you went back the next day...i have done that before by the way...those shirts are pretty cool...i really like the aluminum planes...neat stuff...

WhisperingWriter said...

I would LOVE that festival. How fun. Those painted saws are amazing.

Ami said...

I love EVERYTHING... except the word 'burgoo'. It sounds like something that drains from one of a person's orifices. And that's sort of scary.

labbie1 said...

How interesting! I love the huge pots that the burgoo was cooking in! PLEASE tell me that the last woman in the wheel barrow was a MANNEQUIN!!!! PLEASE!!!!! Yikes! LOL

Kathryn Dyche Dechairo said...

Festivals are such fun, turning up a day early is the kind of thing I'd do. Glad you got to enjoy it and found parking nearby.

Gail said...

Again, I was able to travel to a wonderful place full of exciting things with only a night gown on! Thanks.

Fragrant Liar said...


And salud! Looked like a fun festival. I love that word, burgoo. Next time you're there, can you pick me up one of those rolling pins? Those are awesome!

Teresa - in the Middle Side of Life said...

awesome photos! you go to the best places and get the best pictures. looks like loads of fun!

Kathy's Klothesline said...

Burgoo, huh? Really needs a new name, it conjures up images of nose creatures. Sounds a little like my Brunswick Stew.

Sounds like a lot of fun.

Kathy's Klothesline said...

Burgoo, huh? Really needs a new name, it conjures up images of nose creatures. Sounds a little like my Brunswick Stew.

Sounds like a lot of fun.

AVCr8teur said...

Looks like a fun festival! The saws are too beautiful to be used. Those are the largest vats of stews I have ever seen. There's enough there to feed several towns. :)

Pieces of Sunshine said...

Love the rolling pins and the plane from coke cans. Those vats of stew look amazing!

Little Ms Blogger said...

Sounds like a fun day, but Burgoo sounds like a fancy name for stew.

The mannequin is a bit creepy. I'm not sure why a vendor would put it out.

It looks like you had beautiful weather to enjoy an outdoor festival.

Lynda said...

I LOVE a craft festival. And the attenders always seem to be in a festive mood. I see lots I want to buy but have finally gotten to the point where I can honestly say, "I don't need that." What a fun day you both had.