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Vandalia’s biggest celebration weekend of the year is this Friday and Saturday with the Grande Levée and Harvest Festival.
The weekend also includes an inaugural band competition at Vandalia Community High School.
The 43rd annual Grande Levée at the Vandalia Statehouse kicks off at 5 p.m. with a ham and beans dinner, and entertainment.
The ham and beans dinner, sponsored by the Vandalia Ministerial Alliance, will be held on the Vandalia Statehouse grounds, with the Mother of Dolors Parish Center at Seventh and St. Clair streets being an alternate location in the event of bad weather.
The Friday evening entertainment includes the Budabi Brothers Jugglers and bluegrass music by Thrashin Grass.
The Saturday activities include:
• Period arts and crafts demonstrations, and selling of wares; stage coach rides; and food vendors, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
Artisans will include a blacksmith, pottery maker, broom maker, spinner, cook, tartan shawl maker, woodworkers, basket weaver and a copper artisan.
• Budabi Brothers Jugglers, 10 a.m., 12:30 p.m. and 2 p.m.
• A young Abraham Lincoln arrives by stage coach, 10:30 a.m.
• Abraham Lincoln speaks in the House of Representatives, 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.
• DePriest Puppets, noon and 3 p.m.
• Bluegrass music by Thrashin Grass, 2 p.m. and 5 p.m.
• Barbecue cook-off, sponsored by Givens Meat Market, 5 p.m.
The Vandalia Tourism Commission is hosting the Harvest Festival, formerly known as Corn Day, from 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
The festival includes:
• Vendors, including those selling kettle corn and pork rinds, jewelry, Miche purses, Pampered Chef items, handmade items and a beauty booth with bows and flip-flops. At least three bake sales will be held.
• Sales held by downtown merchants.
• “Junk in the Trunk” will be held parking lot of The Gallery, next to Family Video, on Gallatin Street, . Spaces are free, and setup begins at 7 a.m., and sales begin at 8 a.m.
• Kids’ activities, including two corn pits, car-painting, and bounce house and inflatable obstacle course (all-day arm bands available for $3).
• National Road Interpretive Center 5K Walk/Run. Runners should meet and register at Ruemmelin Park at Locust and Jefferson streets, beginning at 8 a.m. The walk/run begins at 9 a.m. The entry fee is $25. The first five males and first five females will receive awards. For more information, call 283-9380.
• Soroptimist International of Vandalia will again have its Build a Scarecrow booth, and it is also taking bids on an Abraham Lincoln scarecrow, which is on display in the window of the Habitat for Humanity store in the 400 block of West Gallatin Street.
• Totally You Salon is sponsoring Little Miss, Little Mister and Miss pageants at 11 a.m. at Lincoln Park.
Marching Vandals Invitational
The inaugural marching band competition at Vandalia Community High School begins with a parade at 11 a.m. that goes south on Eighth Street from the high school to Lincoln School.
The field competition gets under way at 1:30 p.m. and includes bands from McCluer North, Casey-Westfield, East Richland, Centralia, Mascoutah and Champaign Centennial.
The Marching Vandals, under the direction of Tony Hicks, will perform at 3:30 p.m.
Admission for the field show competition is $6 for adults, $4 for children ages 5-12 and $4 for senior citizens; children under 5 will be admitted free.