MONTROSE — In 1870, travelers along the National Road settled in the corner of what would become Effingham County, founding the village of Montrose. To celebrate the 150-year anniversary of the village’s founding, residents from the village and surrounding area are raising funds to host the Montrose Sesquicentennial.
On Saturday, residents organized a tractor ride with 23 tractors, most pulling trailers decked out as mobile patios.
“We’ve been doing fundraisers for the last year,” said Chris “Chopper” Overbeck, who is helping organize events for the celebration.
“Or two years now,” he added, remembering how long the planning and fundraising process has taken for the celebration that was originally to happen last year. “Because of the pandemic, we had to put it on hold.”
The tractor ride is one of the last events before the big celebration, set for Aug. 6, 7 and 8.
The ride took participants through rural roads around Montrose over the course of Saturday afternoon, with four stops along the way.
“We just regroup, hang out and have some refreshments,” said Overbeck.
After the tractor ride, attendees were treated to a concert from the band Southern Comfort at the Montrose Village Park.
“This is just one of the fundraisers we do,” said Overbeck, who added that they’ve done tractor rides in the past, which were well received.
Other events Montrose community has held include Jeep runs, trivia nights, bingo and “Celebrity Bartending,” where teams of amateur bartenders compete to out earn each other in “tips.”
The tractors on Saturday were an eclectic mix of old and new, with their trailers running the gamut from a flatbed with hay bales and plastic chairs to elaborate affairs with decorations and group costuming.
The Wendt family went all out for their trailer and outfits, dressing up in old-time clothes to fit the sesquicentennial theme.
Family and friends connected to the Probst Family Farms wore matching T-shirts made for the occasion.
One simple trailer was decorated by Betty Emmerich, whose sons were also driving old tractors on Saturday.
“They’re tractors that belonged to their grandpa, so it feels nice,” said Emmerich.
Before the official sesquicentennial celebration, there are two more events planned.
A clothing sale is set for June 27, where people can sell clothes and other items from the centennial celebration of 1970. The sale will be at Flach’s Barn.
A Jeep Run is set for July 10, which will feature an entry fee, raffle, food and the chance to buy sesquicentennial merchandise like T-shirts and memorabilia.
The sesquicentennial celebration will feature several kinds of entertainment, in addition to commemorative displays.
“We’ll have food trucks out here, bounce houses, games,” said Keri Will, one of the event’s organizers. “It’s gonna be a big weekend.”
For more information about the sesquicentennial, check the Facebook page “Montrose Sesquicentennial 2020.” For more information about the centennial clothing sale, call Laurie Flach at 217-259-9170.