Oblong is the place for spooky fun this weekend as the 51st annual Fall Follies gets underway Friday.
Food, music, cute kids and creepy critters are on tap, leading up to the largest nighttime parade in Illinois Saturday.
Sponsored by the Oblong Chamber of Commerce, Fall Follies starts with entertainment by Vince Laino in front of the Oblong Municipal Building on South Range from 6 to 9 p.m. Friday. Food booths will be open during the evening and again on Saturday, starting at 9 a.m.
Activities continue Saturday with the eighth annual Oblong Spooktacular 5K Run and Walk at Oblong Park. Check in is 6:45 to 7:45 a.m. Call 592-3633 to register.
Central United Methodist Church, 112 N. Range, will host a sausage gravy and biscuit breakfast from 7 to 9:30 a.m. and the Great Pumpkin Bakeoff will be 8 to 10 a.m. at the municipal building. The winner will be announced at 11 a.m.
The Oblong High School chorus will perform on stage from 9 to 9:45 a.m. and Illini Prairie Quilters will have a quilt show inside the municipal building from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Friends of the Oblong Library will present Creepy Critters at Oblong First Baptist Church, 201 S. Garfield, at 9:30 a.m. The program features spiders, snakes and other "icky" beasties, giving the audience a chance for "hands-on" experience with them and providing information on how they are important to the environment.
A bounce house will open on South Range at 10 a.m. Laino will return to provide more entertainment at the same time.
Also at 10 a.m., the Little Miss and Mister Contest gets underway on the main stage. This is the 31st year for the Little Miss Contest and the 25th year for the Little Mister Contest.
Meanwhile, on the OHS football field, the 22nd annual Spooktacular Band Fest will begin. Ten bands are lined up to compete: Lawrenceville, Vandalia, Bement, Casey-Westfield, Pana, Rich Central, Robinson, Charleston, Newton and Blue Ridge.
The gates open at 10:30 a.m. for the fest, with food and concessions available from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. The field competition will be from 11:45 a.m. to 3 p.m., and the drumline showcase will be from 3 to 3:45 p.m. The Oblong field exhibition will be at 3:30 p.m. Awards will be presented at 4 p.m. There are trolley stops downtown and at the north side of the high school for easy transport to the festival.
Concessions available at the band festival include smoked pulled pork barbecue, hamburgers, porkburgers, pizza, hot dogs, chili, nachos, pop, water, coffee and hot chocolate.
Homemade soup and trimmings will be offered in the EUM Church basement, 201 E. Main, beginning at 10:30 a.m.
There will be a pedal tractor pull at noon and a pancake and sausage supper at the Oblong Fire House from 3 to 7 p.m. A free-will donation will be accepted.
The annual costume judging will be 5:15 p.m. on the stage. The youth category is open to people 18 and younger while the adult category is open to those 19 and older. Prizes will be presented for the ugliest, prettiest and most original costumes, as well as the best TV or movie character, best cartoon character and best miscellaneous. Call 592-4134 for more information.
The annual nighttime parade begins at 7 p.m. This year, it features more than 25 marching bands.