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MONTICELLO — Collaboration has been building for the annual late-September celebrations in Monticello for years, but it seems to have hit a peak this year with “Make It Monticello,” which from today through Sunday will feature everything from train rides to an Allerton Park concert.

The annual downtown Monticellobration is also a key part on Saturday, with a Monticello Theatre Association production also part of the festive weekend.

“It’s a communitywide effort in the truest sense. We’ve got Monticello Main Street, we have the railway museum, we have Allerton, we have the theatre,” said Monticello Main Street Director Stefanie McLeese, who added that the marketing campaign for the four-day celebration has been a combined effort as well.

“It’s really exciting to see our community pull together this experience for individuals and families across central Illinois who want to spend quality time together and make some memories,” said Denise Flaar, director of the Monticello Chamber of Commerce.

“People will have the chance to enjoy goods from local farmers and makers, be entertained by local, regional and national performers, ride on vintage trains that have been meticulously preserved, and engage in all kinds of free family fun in our charming historic downtown,” added Flaar.

And while a Washington Street streetscape and pedestrian crossing will not be finished by this weekend, City of Monticello Director of Community Development Callie Jo McFarland thinks the ongoing effort will speak well to visitors.

“This project will completely change the appearance of downtown from passersby on Market Street, and allow a safe place to cross the street,” McFarland said.

The streetscape is nearly complete, with decorative railings the final touch. Temporary wood railings will be erected to put the two-level walkway to use during Monticellobration.

McLeese thanked business owner Samantha Koon for having the foresight to purchase the “Make It Monticello” website domain several years ago. It’s being put to full use now.

“It can be such a great marketing tool,” McLeese said of



— 3:30-6:30 p.m.: Monticello Farmers’ Market, 102 E. Livingston St.


— 6 p.m.: Prairie Sky Concert at Allerton Park and Retreat Center, featuring The Barefoot Movement and country music star Deana Carter.


— All day: Monticellobration (see below).

All weekend

— 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.: Railroad Days at the Monticello Railway Museum. Passenger and freight train rides, food trucks, vintage Hodge Hand Cars.

Friday-Sunday; Sept. 28-29

— “Witness For the Prosecution” at the Monticello Theatre Association. For tickets, go to


A closer look at Saturday’s Monticellobration:

— 8 a.m.: Community breakfast.

— 9 a.m.: Yoga on courthouse lawn.

— 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.: Shopping, games, Kirby Kids Corner and tractor pull, face painting, dunk tank, food vendors, First State Bank Young Entrepreneurs Row, Sundowners Car Show.

— 12:30 to 1:30 p.m.: Apex Clean Energy Kids Dance Party with DJ Billy Unzicker.

— 3:30 p.m.: Kickin’ & Pickin’ (outdoor music).

— 4 p.m.: Speed painter John Jansky.

— 5 p.m. to midnight: Downtown libation open.

— 5 p.m.: Matthew Curry (outdoor music).

— 6:45 p.m.: 3 Gun Whiskey (outdoor music).

— 8 p.m. to midnight: 90-Yard Drive at East End Pub.

— 8:45 p.m.: Sunset Strip (outdoor music).

— 10:30 p.m.: Tyler Stephens (outdoor music).

Make It Monticello Carter