Old Settlers Days festival to kick off Thursday despite Chemtool fire

If all goes on as scheduled, gates open Thursday at 4 p.m. with live music starting at 7:30 p.m.
Updated: Jun. 16, 2021 at 9:38 PM CDT
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ROCKTON, Ill. (WIFR) - As the state entered phase five of the restore Illinois plan, excitement grew for Stateliners who frequent Old Settlers Days. A catastrophic explosion at the Chemtool plant put everything on hold.

“I just think the community needs this we’ve had a rough year,” Village of Rockton President John Peterson said. “We had that very frank conversation, if it’s unsafe just tell us and we will cancel the event.”

Settlers Park was included in the first evacuation zone map released by the village. Peterson expects a new map will be drawn before Thursday’s kickoff.

“We’re going to have a new map actually Thursday,” Peterson said. “We’ll be well outside of the evacuation area with the new map.”

Even if a new map is drawn some community members feel it might not be the best idea for the festival to take place.

“It’s very confusing,” Rockton resident Alyssa King said. “You are telling us that we can’t come home today, you don’t have a time frame until we are technically allowed to come home, but you are going to continue on with Old Settlers Days.”

Peterson says the four-day music fest would not go on if it was not safe, and specialists are evaluating the conditions.

“We had EPA air testing people on site today taking real live readings here on OSD’s grounds,” Peterson said.

King goes to the festival every year. She says she would love to continue that tradition but for now, health is more important.

“It sucks that I can’t go but I have to keep myself and my children safe that’s more important to me,” King said.

If all goes on as scheduled, gates open Thursday at 4 p.m. with live music starting at 7:30 p.m.

For more details, visit oldsettlersdays.com

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