The Stevens County fairgrounds will once again be buzzing with activity this weekend. The first annual Prairie Harvest Fest will be held Friday through Sunday, September 16-18, with the majority of activities at the fairgrounds. Entry, parking, and activities are all free thanks to the sponsors of the event. This event is replacing the former Prairie Pioneer Days that was not continued after last year.
“I saw the articles in the newspaper and Friday Facts of the Chamber asking the community to take over Prairie Pioneer Days,’ said Dan Dripps of Heartland Motor Co. “I was really hoping it would continue and we could help be a part of it somehow as well. I know it takes a lot of time, money, and resources, but once I saw an event was not going to continue, I thought, why not us? The people of Morris have been there to support three generations of my family. I felt it was a perfect time to give back and continue some traditions started years ago.”
Dan remembers that his grandfather, George Dripps, was such an influential person in his life. “Years ago he would park a truck on which he’d mount a makeshift screen in order to show outdoor movies at the Eagles baseball field, which eventually helped get the old outdoor theater going. This year I am excited to bring that back to Morris, along with our 6th Annual Car Show, in hopes that I can follow in his footsteps and continue his legacy for years to come.”
Dripps will kick off the weekend doing that with an outdoor showing of the movie ‘Minions.” This will be held in the parking lot of Heartland Motor Company on Friday, September 17 starting at 8 p.m. This is sponsored by UMM Student Activities and the Morris Theater Co-op. The theater will be selling popcorn, candy, and pop and giving away movie posters.
Saturday is full of activity starting out with a golf tournament at Pomme de Terre Golf Course and a retail crawl of downtown businesses. Roughly 60 craft and retail vendors will be setting up booths in the Homemakers, Open Class and 4-H buildings at the fairgrounds. Several food vendors will also be set up there. From 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. there will be many activities in the grass for kids at the fairgrounds including a medallion hunt, bounce houses, corn pit, carnival games, face painting and much more.
The American Legion will be holding a Bean Bag Tourney starting at 10 a.m and a soccer tourney will take place at Green River Park from 1 – 3 p.m. Back at the fairgrounds the American Legion beer garden will be open, there will be a car show, Magic Mentoring Mile, and free music.
The grand parade will take place at 4:30 p.m. and this year will start at the southeast end of the fairgrounds, continuing onto County road 22 to go past the Lee Center and the railroad tracks, and then heading north down Atlantic Ave to 10th Street. Everyone is invited to return to the fairgrounds where there will be a live band of “Six to Midnight” in the grandstand and fireworks at dark.
The next morning, Sunday, September 18, the Morris Fire Department will hold their pancake feed and Septemberfest will be held at Assumption Church from 9 a.m. – 3 p.m.
“I knew I couldn’t do this alone,” Dripps added. “Debbie and Jerilyn have worked at Heartland for several years and are not from here but I knew if anyone could make this work, it would be them. The positive response from the community has been overwhelming. From volunteering to run activities, sponsoring with monetary donations, and promotion of the event overall, this wouldn’t be happening without the town coming together. Morris is a small town but a widely diverse population from all over the world due to our agriculture, industrial, and University opportunities. I am hoping this event can once again bring us all together.”