8th annual Kishwaukee Fest to feature parade, wine-and-bacon tasting, car show
DeKALB – As Kishwaukee Fest prepares for its eighth year, festival director Mike Embrey beams with pride.
The annual festival is held from Wednesday to Sunday throughout downtown DeKalb and Sycamore, and features concerts, a parade, a wine-and-bacon tasting and a car show.
Embrey encouraged DeKalb county community members to take part in the “end-of-summer fling.”
“We have the most units we’ve ever had in the parade this year,” Embrey said. “We still have many vendors who want to be part of the parade who haven’t turned in their forms yet. It’s really an exciting time…we hope to end summer on the best note.”
Kishwaukee Fest will hold its annual parade on Friday evening. This year’s parade boasts more than 90 floats and groups. Embrey said Kish Fest’s parade stands out because of its unique participants. The parade includes a large motorcycle core, a group of miniature F-15 jets and is capped by an appearance from Santa.
The parade begins on Seventh Street, proceeds to Lincoln Highway and ends on Second Street in downtown DeKalb.
“The parade is a hit with all the kids,” he said. “They love the different units. … The big cars and trucks are always a hit. A lot of parade participants throw out candy to the kids so there’s a big sugar rush, too. We end the parade with Santa – everyone loves it.”
Last week, the Kishwaukee Fest committee tabbed DeKalb Police Commander Craig “Woody” Woodruff as the official honorary parade marshal for Friday’s parade. Woodruff, a 20-year veteran of the DeKalb Police Department, recently was diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer.
DeKalb Chief of Police Gene Lowery said Woodruff’s presence should make a special impact on the community. Marine Lance Cpl. and Sycamore native Hunter T. Munch also was selected as the military parade marshal.
“(Woodruff) is an exceptionally intelligent, solid police officer, mentor to many and an exemplary leader who always has his heart in the right place,” Lowery said.
The festival concludes Sunday with one of the biggest car shows in the area, Embrey said. He expects 700 cars and 300 motorcycles to participate in the show, which is held in downtown Sycamore.
DeKalb county police estimated 5,000 people attended last year’s Kishwaukee Fest, Embrey said, which marked the festival’s largest attendance since the event began in 2010. He’s hoping to exceed that number this weekend.
“Kish Fest has really become a staple event in DeKalb county,” Embrey said. “I’ve seen parades all over the country, but this one is so unique and special to the community. With school starting back up soon, we’re hoping many families can make it out.
“In previous years, we had people coming out to just one event throughout the weekend. Now they’re coming out for multiple, if not all the events. It’s a really cool festival to end the summer.”