Rockton’s Old Settlers Days festival to go on this weekend

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ROCKTON, Ill. (WTVO) — The Chemtool factory fire will not impact Rockton’s plans to hold its annual Old Settlers Days festival this weekend.

“There’s always a concern, when you have a catastrophe like the Chemtool fire … You’re never sure of where it’s going to go. We just made it through the pandemic and jumped through Phase 5 and were hoping our luck would stay with us, we’re so close,” said the festival’s media spokesperson, Carol Wright.

Organizers of the festival said the aftermath of the Chemtool factory fire on Monday is not stopping them from setting up for this weekend.

“We are doing really well,” Wright said. “We’re in the middle of setup right now and it’s almost done. We’re almost ahead of schedule on things, vendors are coming in.”

The Winnebago County Health Department (WCHD) gave the event the green light to be held this weekend.

“The event organizers have been working diligently with the Emergency Operations Center to prepare for the event, so it can be held safely,” said WCHD director, Dr. Sandra Martell. “So, it’s outside of the [one-mile evacuation zone]. The masking recommendation has been lifted, but if you’re an individual with underlying respiratory conditions, you should continue to wear a mask.”

Wright said any debris from the Chemtool explosion will be cleaned up before the gates open, and say Old Settlers Days will be safe for people to attend.

“We’re several miles away from the evacuation area, so we’re in a good place. And, with the cleaner air and the smoke settling down, I think that part is behind us, and won’t effect us at all,” Wright said. “So, come on out and enjoy being with people! Enjoy some great music! Enjoy some wonderful food. Ride the rides and have a great time! Come out and support the community and support the Rockton Lions.”

Old Settlers Days says it is not issuing refunds at this time. Money raised from the event will go toward the Rockton Lions Club, which uses the funds to support local needy organizations.

Old Settlers Days runs June 17-20th, and features headlining performances from Granger Smith featuring Earl Dibbles, Jr, Jimmie Allen, Riley Green, and Gabby Barrett.

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