Weekend Update, June 7, 2014: Raggedy revival
For nearly 20 years, the village of Arcola celebrated native son Johnny Gruelle, an artist who created Raggedy Ann and Andy, with the Raggedy Ann and Andy Festival. It ended a few years back, but now there's a replacement: the Raggedy Ann and Andy Rally from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. today at Rockome Gardens west of Arcola. Here's what's up, courtesy staff writer Melissa Merli:
1. Gruelle's granddaughter, Joni Gruelle Wannamaker, came up with the idea for the rally. From 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. in the Old Schoolhouse, Wannamaker will give an art lesson and read a story about the origin of the dolls her grandfather created. There also will be a coloring contest for kids. Rockome also has pony rides, a tree house and other activities for the young 'uns.
2. Kids also will have a chance to decorate cookies (not real ones) to place on a cookie tree; one of Gruelle's Raggedy Ann stories was about a cookie tree. There will be plenty of real edibles, too; the restaurant at Rockome offers an Amish buffet, and Elvin's Ice Cream Shop will be selling hot dogs, brats and pulled pork. Rockome's Country Food Store has a deli.
3. The sales room in the Rockome Gardens barn will be open all day, with 45 tables of Raggedy Ann and Andy dolls and collectibles. There will also be an auction and a Raggedy Ann Makeover Contest, with women competing for the best "re-dress" of a Raggedy Ann doll. People also can be made up as Raggedy Ann or Andy.
4. The rally will also have a photo op: Visitors may pose with people dressed as Raggedy Ann and Andy. And live music: The State Line band will perform from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. and from 3 to 4 p.m. Between sets, folk singer Patty Hall will sit in with State Line and play her guitar and sing. She also will sell her books about Gruelle, who died in 1938.
5. Wannamaker and the folks at Rockome Gardens hope to make the rally an annual event and also start a Raggedy Ann and Andy museum next year.
"It's a perfect fit for Raggedy Ann and Andy to be out here," Wannamaker said. Entrance to the rally: $10 for adults younger than 60; $8, adults older than 60; $6, children; free, children younger than 5.