Fall Fest Survival Guide: Longtime Resident Gives Her Tips to Enjoy the Weekend

Jennifer Hawke Lucas has been a festival volunteer and spectator since she was a kid. Now she tells you the best ways to have fun at the event.

Jennifer Hawke Lucas isn't a Frankfort native, but she's seen her share of Fall Festivals.

She moved to Frankfort in 1986 when she was 10 years old and was raised on Hickory Street. She lived in an apartment on Nebraska Street in her 20s, and now Lucas, her husband and two sons reside on Pacific Street.  

In that time, the only Fall Festival she's missed was in 1994, her first year away at college. Given her past history with the event, that one absence probably can be forgiven.

"As a child, it felt like my family hosted a three-day party with people coming in and out of the house all Fall Fest weekend-long," Lucas said. "As a young adult I volunteered as a 'yellow shirt' volunteer. I have served breakfast in the BETA tent, worked the St. Peter's (Christian Church) parking lot, sold Otis Spunkmeyer cookies and walking tacos ..., served as a parade judge, walked in the parade and even drove a car carrying a former mayor in the parade." 

This year Lucas plans to enjoy the Fall Fest, taking her sons on carnival rides, eating the food and watching the parade.

Oh, and one more thing: Providing Patch readers with tips on how to enjoy Fall Festival gleaned from her years of experience.

What you should bring with you if you're spending the day at the fest

There really isn't anything that you need other than cash and credit cards. You can eat drink, rest, enjoy the entertainment, find some shade and get plenty of exercise. Wear comfortable shoes!

Best places to park 

The Boys Scout Lot west of town is one great option because they provide the shuttle. If you want to avoid the shuttle or come into town from the east, the church lots are a great option. I grew up working at the lot to raise money for our youth group. Why not find an easy parking spot and support a local cause. 

Do not drive around the neighborhood looking for a parking space. There isn't enough room to drive down the streets, and kids are not used to all the traffic.  

Best time to go 

If you goal is to look for crafts, the very best time to come is during the parade. Fewer strollers, children and people in general make it much easier to walk around. In the morning, many of the crafters begin to set up about an hour before selling begins. It doesn't hurt to take a walk around before selling begins and see what you like and know what to come back for. 

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Favorite food tents and vendors

All of the food is wonderful! I love the barbecue pork sandwiches (I think serves them) and funnel cakes. Although some of the food is done by professional caterers and some is prepared by the volunteers, it all benefits local organizations.

Best place to watch the parade

I recommend sitting near the beginning of the parade (at Maple and Pacific streets). I've been in the parade many times. It's a long parade, and we have run out of candy and energy about half way through before. Near the viewing stand and video cameras you are going to see the best show, but you are also going to put up with the most traffic and big crowds.

We watch the parade near the corner of Pacific and Oak streets and have found it to be a great spot. I would recommend finding a spot along Oak or Ash streets or near St. Peter's Church. You might even find some shade there if you set up early enough.

Fall Fest etiquette

Be patient and kind! The people that bring their crafts to the fest work SO hard all year round preparing for the fest. Just be respectful and patient with them and the other visitors. 

Also, respect the families that live in the neighborhood. Take care of your garbage and try to avoid walking through yards and landscaping. Downtown Frankfort is a wonderful community and the people work hard to take care of their homes and yards. We have had dirty diapers left in our yard, lawn chairs stolen from our driveway, and flower beds trampled. 

Most underrated part of the fest

I don't know if I would say underrated, but the amazing volunteers often go unnoticed. No one understands how much work goes into making this fest happen until they have worn a "yellow shirt." The volunteers work year round to prepare for the fest and around the clock over festival weekend. I have never met more dedicated individuals, many of whom have been working on the fest for more than 20 years. When you see someone in a blue (youth volunteers) or yellow (adult volunteers) polo shirt who looks tired and hot and still has a smile on their face, stop and thank them for their hard work.

Favorite part of the festival 

My favorite part of the fest is just the feeling of community. I am so proud to live in Frankfort. I'm proud of all of the people, the village, chamber of commerce, police and fire departments, civic organizations, and the residents, who come together to make this festival happen.  There is no other weekend that I am more proud of my Frankfort roots than over Labor Day weekend.

PLEASE VISIT the listings for St. Peter's Christian Church, St. Anthony's Catholic Church and other village businesses in our Patch Places directory.


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