Toulon Old Settler’s Days continuing 143 year tradition

Local News

Toulon, Illinois is keeping a summer tradition alive despite the pandemic.

“It’s important to continue tradition,” Don Schmidt, Stark County Historic Society board member said. “Sometimes if you skip a tradition, it doesn’t ever start up again.”

Organizers say that Stark County’s low number of cases–only 8–since February, gives them a chance to bring the community out for fun.

“Well maybe we can do it because we’re small, and people know one another, and we do practice safe distancing, and the events that are being held are outside,” Jim Nowlan said.

Don Schmidt says one of the biggest things the festival does is help people celebrate their family’s stories.

“A lot of the families that are still farming, had ancestors that were early settlers,” Schmidt said. “So there’s a lot of people who are living now that have that direct lineal connection to the earliest settlers of Stark County.”

Schmidt is happy to keep the tradition going for his 100 year old mom, who was an Old Settler’s Days badge recipient 20 years ago.

“I saw her this afternoon, talked to her about it, and she’s pleased that it’s still going on.”

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