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Morgan Miller crowned Illinois Festival Queen

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The Illinois Festival Queen, Junior Miss, Pre-Teen and Princess Pageant was hosted at the Civic Center during Decatur Celebration on Sunday.

Morgan Miller was crowned as the 2017 Illinois Festival Queen. First runner-up was Brittany Rader and second runner-up was Cassidy Tucker.

Sarah Buckner was crowned the 2017 Illinois Festival Junior Miss with Mia Brandenburg first runner-up.

Grace Moeller was crowed as the 2017 Illinois Festival Pre-Teen and Brooklynn Syrcle was first runner-up and second runner-up was Andrea Dehart.

All girls in the 2017 Illinois Festival Parade of Princesses received a trophy and prizes.

– Tony Reid

Gas leak

Firefighters blocked off Mill Street in Decatur Sunday afternoon while they dealt with a gas leak within 100 yards of the downtown Decatur Celebration.

The leak was caused about 4:30 p.m. when a woman trying to park her car rammed a gas meter and broke the pipe below the valve. Decatur Police helped firefighters clear the road and fire crews monitored the air until Ameren Illinois crews arrived within 45 minutes to shut the gas supply off.

"Our concern was preventing any type of spark that could set the gas off before we got the leak shutdown," said Decatur Fire Department Battalion Chief Mike McGeehon.

– Tony Reid

Scream change

The Decatur Celebration board already has changes in store for future events.

One of the Celebration's fall fundraiser, The Scream Haunted Adventure, is moving to the old Sears in the Hickory Point Mall this year. Sturgill is happy about the move.

“There is a lot of logistical things out there for us,” she said. “For example, the new facility will have better parking.”

She believes the activities at the haunted house will go more smoothly at the mall. The owner of the building on Eldorado Street has other plans for the area allowing for the move.

“It made sense,” Sturgill said. “And it was time for us to go.”

– Donnette Beckett

Year-long trek to prize

Would you be willing to wear a Celebration wristband for a year if there were the chance of a good-sized prize at the end of 12 months?

That's a question WSOY radio host Aric Lee asked, and he has 20 competitors who have pledged to do just that.

A selection of entrants to a spontaneous Celebration 365/ contest have been selected, after answering a series of Lee's questions. Most specifically, potential entrants were asked if they were sure they were willing to have their Celebration VIP wristbands on for a year.

“One guy responded, 'I've worn this wedding ring for 13 years, so one year will be nothing',” Lee said.

The contestants have been instructed to provide pictures throughout the year to show they still have it on. “I want to see something from a family Thanksgiving dinner,” Lee said, “or a wedding.”

The prize to the contest's winner is $1,000 cash and a Celebration prize package valued at $400. As long as the wristbands stay on, contestants will receive additional perks throughout the year.

– Tim Cain

Free sunglasses

Nothing moves faster than free stuff at Decatur Celebration.

Decatur company Morse Driveways Inc had the inspired idea of laying down a trail of good publicity by handing out free pairs of wraparound sunglasses emblazoned with the company name.

Five gallon buckets of the glasses were delivered to gate checkpoints in the newly fenced Celebration and the shades flew away like a cloud across the sun. “Oh, they go really, really fast,” said Celebration gate volunteer Teresa Weybright. “People hear 'free' and they're all over them.”

Weybright was working the William Street Celebration entrance with trusty assistant Hailey Sellers, 14, as part of a fundraiser for the Elite Energy Show Choir. “Sunglasses,” mused Weybright. “It's a fantastic idea to get your name out there – and they're nice glasses, too.”

– Tony Reid


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