Grasshopper Falls Day will be a mixture of the old, the new, and the revived

by Clarke Davis

Grasshopper Falls Day will be a mixture of the old, the new, and the revived.

Grasshopper Falls Day 2009

2009 File: Opening the Doodlebug Trail

Saturday’s events in Valley Falls start early with the annual fishing derby and a 5K and 1-mile fun run.

Smoke from the barbecue pits will add aroma to the downtown area as the second annual Backyard Barbecue Cookoff gets under way.

Registration in the cookoff starts Friday from 7 to 8 p.m. Judging will be in seven categories, appetizers, baked beans, chicken, pork, ribs, brisket, and dessert.

“We had 10 entries last year and expect more this year,” said Jeri Clark, chairwoman of the Valley Falls Recreation Commission.

The sixth annual Helen Stewart Memorial Fishing Derby will be held at the Tillery family pond near Blue Mound Road south of town. Registration starts at 8 a.m. and the derby runs for two hours, 8:30 to 10:30 a.m.

The 5K run and fun run begin with registration at 7 a.m. with 7:30 and 8 start times. Both will begin at the Kendall State Bank and the route will use part of the Doodlebug walking trail dedicated last year. The runs, popular at Valley Falls in the 1980s, are back after more than 20 years.

All of the activities with the exception of the fishing derby will be located in the downtown area. Back at the township hall again will be the Lutheran’s Chocolate Hint of Heaven that starts at 1 p.m. Students of the Entertainment Dance Co., Nortonville, will perform at noon and a car, truck, and motorcycle show will begin at 11 a.m.

Flamingo Too owner Jose Chavez is in charge of the car and motorcycle show that will be held in the 300 block of Broadway. People who attend the show will vote by ballot to determine the winner.

Chavez said there will not be an entry fee this year and he will come up with some prizes. Prizes will be awarded at 5:30 p.m.

A number of activities for children are planned, according to Clark, including frog races.

“The kids can bring their own frog or pick one out. We plan to have several available,” she said.

A year ago local citizens were asked to have their memories of the Doodlebug train recorded for posterity.

The city’s new walking trail was dedicated during Grasshopper Falls festivities and it was named after the train that carried passengers back and forth to the capital city.

A video of those people has been produced in DVD form and will be available at the Valley Falls Historical Society Museum Saturday.

Society President Betty Jane Wilson reports the disc includes pictures of the Doodlebug and the Santa Fe depot.

Susan Phillips was the videographer and interviewer. Julie Durand engineered the video production.

Those shown being interviewed are Leota Bolz, Patty Brown, Mary Huffman, Irene Hurst, Rosalind Jackson, Pat Jackson, Geneva Lonard, Jessie Mae Montgomery, Ted Montgomery, Ellen Schrick, and Dorothy Sullivan.

Clark reports that all activities will be held downtown from Walnut to Maple streets. These streets will be closed off except for the north side for entrance into the Valley Falls Historical Society and the Valley Falls Pharmacy. Entrances onto main from Sycamore, both north and south side, will be closed also.

The 5K race will start at 7:30 a.m. in front of the bank. Runners head east to the walking trail and take the trail south to K-16 highway. Runners will then head west on the highway to Sycamore, then south to 11th street, jog west and then south on Sycamore again to 12th street, west to Oak Street, south on Oak up to 19th, west to Blue Mound Road, and then north to highway 16. Runners will then go east on 16 to Linn Street, north to Broadway, and east on Broadway to the Oak Street finish line.

The Fun Run will also begin at the bank and go east to the walking trail, south to K-16, west to Sycamore, north to Maple Street, Maple to Broadway, and then east back to the bank.

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