Real Wealth Society

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Thinking about festivities By Fred Cederholm

Column for on/after September 9th, 2007

I’ve been thinking about festivities. Actually I’ve been thinking Booster Days, diversions, Americana, community, God, volunteerism, friends-fun-food, and Creston, Illinois. Come one, come: all for this coming weekend will mark the 51st Annual Creston Booster Days – a country festival right in our own back yard. This year’s theme focuses on “Fueling our Future through Agriculture.”

You see it is 6:00 AM and I just finished the early morning surfing of my favorite web portals to update myself on the status of statewide, national, and international news and sundry goings-on. Yeecho phooey… how do we find ourselves in so many holes, messes, quagmires, and disasters - all at the same time? Thank goodness this week (at least) our local attention and energies will be focused on putting together the finishing touches for my little hometown’s annual celebration of Booster Days. Hometown celebrations are a true part of real Americana. If the eyes of the world could experience first hand the rites of these indigenous festivities with parades, fireworks, bake and craft sales, local entertainment, carnivals, and fellowship; the sorry global image of US/us would skyrocket upwards. The late “Tip” O’Neill said: “all politics is local.” I would counter that “the real goodness of America is local as well.”

Booster Days marks the end of summer and the end of the community celebrations in our area along Illinois Route 38, the Lincoln Highway. The Village of Malta which boasts the first “seedling mile” of this paved highway in the US is the first. Theirs is followed by Rochelle’s Heritage Fest which celebrates the Hub City’s importance as a transportation and communications center. DeKalb’s Corn Fest marks the return of the students to Northern Illinois University and the community’s historical links to the invention of barbed wire and many hybrids of corn/maize developed by DeKalb Agri-Research which is now a part of Monsanto Corporation. Creston’s claim to fame has been that it is the highest point along the Union Pacific Railroad (formerly the Chicago and Northwestern line) between Chicago and Omaha, Nebraska. Plus, we host Booster Days the third weekend in September each year.

Creston is a very special community. Whether a family spends a few years or a lifetime here, they soon realize what a difference people can (and do) make here. Community action and participation in local projects have accomplished so much for this small mid-western town of roughly 500 people. Our population should more than quadruple for the weekend of events. The Friday night kick-off starts with a steak cookout beginning at 5:00. A karaoke contest begins at 6:00. It is so much fun watching the children (of all ages) sing their hearts out - the entire audience (not just the family members) applaud their efforts vigorously. At its core, Creston is known for being supportive in both good and hard times.

Saturday begins with a pancake breakfast at the fire station from 6 to 10. The kid’s parade follows at 11. Local talent performs on stage at the park from 12 to 1:30 and Skinner’s carnival rides begin at 1. Our BIG auction of donated items and services begins at 2 and is really important for us - so many of the activities are provided for free or at nominal costs that we count on the proceeds of the auction and our local business sponsors to subsidize many of the weekend’s events. We do “net” some money, but the Booster Day weekend is really about community, fellowship, conversation, renewing friendships/acquaintances, and having a good time. The HUGE fireworks display starts at 9:30 PM.

Sunday begins with a community church service worship in the park at 9:30 AM– after which the announcement is made of who is the recipient of the annual Theodore Cederholm Community Service Award. The kitchen opens at 10:30 and Headon’s superb pork chop barbecue commences at 11. Our BIG parade down Main Street starts at 12:30. The rest of the afternoon is spent enjoying rides, food, bingo, live entertainment, a vintage baseball game, and more karaoke performances by the courageous.

Creston is both my hometown and my anchor in these times of change and turmoil. I really can’t imagine living anywhere else. I only wish that the critics and enemies of this nation could experience the simple pleasures and the community of this little town – for this is the real America that I love. I’m Fred Cederholm and I’ve been thinking. You should be thinking, too.

Copyright 2007 Questions, Inc. All rights reserved.



  • Fred ,

    You certainly are a thinker that's for sure . Thanks for the run down on this years activities . Keep thinking Fred !

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 3:10 PM  

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