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Frankfort’s Fall Festival closes out summer

Carter Addisdad Casey Cevelfrom Indianapolis Indianwait patiently for start Frankfort Fall Festival parade Sunday September 1 2013.  | Allen

Carter, Addison, and dad Casey Ceveland from Indianapolis, Indiana, wait patiently for the start of the Frankfort Fall Festival parade, Sunday, September 1, 2013. | Allen Cunningham/For Sun-Times Media

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Updated: October 3, 2013 6:28AM



Labor Day weekend in Frankfort is fairly predictable.

Expect an influx of hundreds of thousands of people over three days and a downtown transformed into a haven for art and craft collectors.

Over the last 45 years, the village’s Fall Festival, which is put on by the Frankfort Chamber of Commerce, has become part of the fabric of the community.

Sunday morning, before the festival opened for business at 10 a.m., chairs, tents, even spectators were lined up along downtown curbs in anticipation of the fest’s annual parade.

“We start with breakfast, then we come here,” said Laura Acevedo, of Manhattan, who sat on a bale of hay on White Street Sunday morning, waiting for the rest of her crew — Jackie Lang, of Manhattan, Eve Haupt, of Mokena, Marge Fremouw, of Matteson, Teri Aver, of Homewood, Gail McCormick, of Countryside and Cheryl O’Brien, of South Elgin.

The group makes the Fall Festival an annual date.

“We leave the kids at home, leave the husbands at home. Come and shop. Sometimes with an agenda, sometimes without,” Acevedo said.

“This year I have no agenda, and I have four booths to go pick up stuff (already purchased),” Fremouw said.

Regulars make Frankfort’s Fall Festival what it is today — a massive arts and craft show and carnival that draws 300,000 people to the small town each Labor Day weekend.

Even a downpour Saturday didn’t stop people from shopping, said Corielle Heath, the festival’s public relations chairwoman.

“That speaks to the loyalty of the people who visit the fest,” she said.

This year’s theme, “Fright Festival ... It’s a Thriller,” follows fest chairwoman Colleen Mora’s vision of the event as summer’s last hurrah.

“When I see Fall Fest, I see a change of season and a fresh start,” Mora said. “It’s kind of saying goodbye to summer and hello fall.”

The show is sought-after by crafters, too. This year close to 700 artisans applied for the roughly 400 booths available at the fall fest.

As part of the application, artists must submit photos and descriptions of their creative process to prove their product is handmade.

Dave and Jen Tubbin, of Viroqua, Wis., have had a booth for their business, Second Nature By Hand, for eight years.

The Tubbins make decorative signs from tobacco lath, decorative letters and handbags from old books.

“It’s a great show. Probably the best-run show in the country,” Dave Tubbin said. “The sales are always huge. People love to spend money here.”

This year, the village closed a portion of White Street near the festival, which made it easier for people to walk over to the carnival, Mora said.

The parade, which stepped off at 1 p.m. Sunday, had its first child grand marshal — Cole Cunningham, of Frankfort.

Cunningham, an eighth-grader at Hickory Creek Middle School, was diagnosed with a brain tumor in sixth grade.

He is now officially in remission, Mora said.

“This kid is courageous, he’s humble, and a great example of how to be strong,” she said.

The Fall Fest runs from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday.



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