By JESSICA ARSENAULT RIVENBURG
ILION – Sunday marked the conclusion of another successful Ilion Days and the first in a new post-COVID era.
“We were unsure what exactly to expect when we started planning back in the spring,” said Ilion Days Committee Chair Bettyjean Postiglione, pointing out that for a time, the committee was unsure about whether there would even be an Ilion Days this year.
When word from state and village officials finally came in mid-April giving them the go-ahead, minus the Doo-Dah Parade, committee members quickly got to work. Usually beginning the planning process in February, the committee was already two months behind schedule.
“There was a lot of uncertainty at first,” Postiglione said. “COVID restrictions and rules were changing while we were trying to plan. We weren’t sure what to expect in the end.”
Much to committee members’ and community members’ delight, this year’s Ilion Days proved to be a success despite a few changes. The most notable change being the absence of a parade this year.
“In April, when we were given the go-ahead, we were told, ‘no parade,’” Postiglione said. “By the time state rules relaxed, it was too late for us to get the parade together.”
Also missing were the outdoor movie night, ice cream social and civic band concert. The location of and conditions surrounding the fireworks created some confusion in the community for a time. Traditionally, the firework display takes place following the parade, during a block party with live music and vendors at Whalen Field. Postiglione explained that initially, village officials wanted to prevent people from gathering in a large group and suggested the committee relocate the fireworks. The announcement was made that the display would be fired from Russell Park and that no one would be allowed in the park. Later, officials decided the fireworks could, and would be better placed to go off from Whalen Field as usual, but without the block party.
“Planning was a bit of a rollercoaster this year,” Postiglione said with a laugh.
But in the end, everything went off without a hitch and even the weather cooperated, after a washout of a village-wide garage sale anyway.
Ilion Days week saw the garage sales, princess pageant, Don Taylor Memorial 800 m Run and Mini Track Meet, fireworks, 5K Road Race, dog show, craft fair, Family Fun Day, Classic Car Show and ducky race.
“I’ve gotten a lot of positive feedback from people already, that they’ve enjoyed it this year and it was nice to get back to some normalcy, which is always nice to hear,” Postiglione said.
Next year, committee members hope to be completely back to normal, she added. “But these days, you never know!”