MORRIS – The Grundy County Courthouse lawn was transformed into a child’s paradise Friday afternoon, complete with bounce houses, carnival food, train rides, crafts and more for the Liberty Days children’s fair.
The fair wouldn’t be complete, however, without a special appearance by Giggles the Clown, who has performed at the past eight Liberty Days.
“We have so much fun out here together,” Giggles said of her and the kids at the event. “I call myself a different kind of clown because I bring crafts to actually get the kids involved instead of just doing balloon animals.”
Giggles and Patriots 4 Heroes put together the children’s activities, which included tables full of play dough and patriotic-themed crafts.
The free, four-hour event brought out parents in droves, including Erica Cowell of Morris, who brought her son Griffyn.
“We come every year,” Cowell said. “It’s something free that gets the kids out of the house, keeps them occupied and gets some of their energy out.”
As it does for the Grundy County Corn Festival, the Christian Youth Center of Morris organized family train rides through the downtown area.
The train rides cost $3 with all proceeds going back to the youth center, said the center’s president, Art Degraaf.
“It’s a lot of fun. The little kids are hilarious,” he said.
Those who didn’t make it out Friday can still catch Giggles and other Liberty Days events today and Sunday.
Liberty Days, formerly known as Nostalgia Days, is organized annually by the Morris Downtown Development Partnership and will officially wrap up next Thursday with the Liberty Days 5K road race.
This year’s lineup features new events including a Sunday concert, Saturday’s art fair and the life of Abraham Lincoln told through song. The Abraham Lincoln impersonator will present both the Emancipation Proclamation and the Gettysburg Address and will discuss past trips to Morris.
“It’s family oriented and brings a lot of people to our downtown,” said Julie Applegate, executive director with the Morris Downtown Development Partnership. “We have events that appeal to many different types of people.”
Liberty Days in Morris schedule of events
• 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. – Junk in the Trunk. Washington and Franklin streets. Check out antiques, crafts, household items, art and more.
• 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. – Liberty Days Art’s Festival, Grundy County Courthouse lawn.
• 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. – President and Mrs. Lincoln, Courthouse lawn. The Lincolns will visit the Grundy County Historical Society Museum from noon to 1 p.m.
• 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. - Children’s activities with Patriots 4 Heroes and “Giggles the Clown,” Courthouse lawn.
• 10 a.m. to noon and 1 to 3 p.m. – Carriage Rides, boarding at the courthouse and Grundy County Historical Society Museum.
• 11 to 11:20 a.m. – Selections from “Xanadu,” courthouse lawn. Performers from the Morris Theatre Guild will present selections from their upcoming musical, “Xanadu.”
• Noon to 12:40 p.m. – Selections from “Rent,” courthouse lawn. Enjoy musical selections from Small Town Theatrics’ summer musical production of “Rent.”
• 1 to 4 p.m. – Touch A Truck, Franklin Street, between Illinois Avenue and Washington Street.
• 1:30 to 3 p.m. – Abraham Lincoln in Song, Grundy County Courthouse.
• 4 to 5:30 p.m. – Morris Area Community Band, courthouse lawn. Rain location, Living Water Church of the Nazarene, 118 W. Jefferson.
• 5 to 9 p.m. – Liberty Days Cruise-In. West Sheriff’s Lot, Illinois Ave.
• 6:25 p.m. – Drawing for downtown retailers gift certificates, courthouse lawn.
• 6:30 p.m. – The Janglers, courthouse lawn. Rain location is Living Water Church of the Nazarene - 118 W. Jefferson.
• 6:30 p.m., Air National Guard Band of the Midwest, Grundy County Courthouse lawn. Rain location, Living Water Church of the Nazarene, 118 W. Jefferson.