Hillsboro Old Settlers
(Courtesy photo, Hillsboro Old Settlers Association/Facebook)

HILLSBORO (Heartland Newsfeed) — Hillsboro will be missing out on their annual Old Settlers Days celebration as a result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

The Hillsboro Old Settlers Association made an announcement Sunday that this year’s celebration will not be taking place, following a majority vote in favor of the decision.

Association president Lisa Ervin spoke with local officials, which included Montgomery County Health Department administrator Hugh Satterlee. Satterlee spoke against holding such a large public gathering. This is despite the fact that there could be some relaxing of physical distancing guidelines by August.

“He told me he felt like it would be irresponsible for us to hold Old Settlers at this time,” Ervin said. “This is our home. Do we really want to invite 20,000 people from out of the area into our town and risk another spike?”

The celebration was to take place on August 2, as well as August 5 and 6, in downtown Hillsboro.

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Old Settlers Queen contest canceled

The Old Settlers Queen contest, which comprises half the proceeds toward the Association, normally kicks off this month. However, with the current shelter-in-place mandate, starting the competition is currently impossible.

“We cannot wait any longer to cancel this year’s event, as it simply can’t be thrown together at two weeks’ notice,” Ervin states.

Currently, there is much uncertainty about whether physical distancing guidelines will still be in place all summer.

Music acts could still play even in downtown Hillsboro, even after cancellation

Entertainment committee chair Zach Wygal states they have already paid a deposit on their entertainment acts scheduled to play at the celebration. Currently, Chicago Farmer is set to play on Wednesday, Aug. 5, with Fleetwood Mac tribute band Big Love playing the following day on August 6.

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Wygal states the committee could still host both concerts downtown should there be a relaxing of physical distancing guidelines.

Plans for 2021 celebration to begin in January

The Association is looking forward to making plans for the 2021 celebration. Celebration planning should begin sometime in January 2021. The Association additionally notes they are always seeking volunteers to help make the celebration’s festivities a success.

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Potential impacts on other events planned for this summer

With the current uncertainties surrounding the pandemic, this recent cancellation potentially endangers the Montgomery County Fair. Other events that could face significant impact include local Independence Day celebrations and the annual Nokomis Homecoming celebration.

The Montgomery County Fair in Butler is currently holding solid on their scheduled dates of June 19-23. The fair’s website does not express anything that resembles a cancellation or postponement. There were no return communications from attempts to reach Montgomery County Fair Association board members for comment.

The Nokomis Homecoming is to take place July 10 through July 12. The Nokomis Homecoming Association was unable to meet virtually on April 6, so a final decision from the committee is pending.

Additionally under consideration are the ongoing lawsuits against Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker. Lawsuits in court or pending contest that Pritzker abused executive privilege regarding the extension of executive orders. These are according to lawsuits filed by state Reps. Darren Bailey and John Cabello. A lawsuit is pending in Federal circuit court and was filed by Christian County Board member Ray Koonce, according to a report from WAND-TV.

To date, Montgomery County has 30 positive cases with only one death. However, at least 16 cases have had a full recovery.

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For more local news, follow Jake Leonard @JakeLeonardWPMD and Heartland Newsfeed @HLNF_Bulletin on Twitter. Additionally, you can follow Heartland Newsfeed on Facebook and Reddit among other platforms.

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Jake Leonard, a broadcast media and journalism veteran, is the editor-in-chief of Heartland Newsfeed. Leonard is also GM and program director of Heartland Newsfeed Radio Network and a contributing writer for My Sports Vote, Ambush Sports and Midwest Sports Network. He resides at home in Nokomis, Ill. with his dogs Sparky and Buster.

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