Tractor Treat

By Shelby R. Farrell


BELVIDERE – Just like Frankenstein’s monster, Belvidere’s new Halloween event is pieced together with parts of the Boone County Harvest Fest and parts of the Halloween Carnival.

Tractor Treat is slated for Saturday, Oct. 17 between noon and 3 p.m. The Belvidere Park District will host the event, which will be south of the Kishwaukee River, starting at the River’s Edge Recreation Center and stretching along the river at the Belvidere Park.

The Tractor Treat will be the only event in October, unlike previous years when the park district hosted the Harvest Fest in early October and the Halloween Carnival in late October.

Betheny Martin, Recreation Manager Special Events Coordinator for the parks, said the Harvest Fest was held annually for five years as a way to raise money for the Kishwaukee riverfront path.

The event was part of a collaboration effort between several local organizations in Boone County, including the Belvidere Park District, the Boone County Conservation District, the Belvidere Township, Growth Dimensions and many more. However, Martin said the Harvest Fest wasn’t achieving its goal.

“The reason I think we kind of decided to shift gears is we weren’t growing the event, and it seemed like every year that we tried to have the event it would rain us out,” she said. “The most we had one year was like 900 people, which is a good turnout, but it just poured on us, and we weren’t able to do like half of the activities that we wanted to do just because its an outdoor festival.

Tractor Treat 2

“It just really wasn’t feasible anymore, and it wasn’t raising those fund for the path system that we wanted it to do anyway. It was just kind of not even breaking even, so we wanted to really rethink what we were doing and why we were doing it,” Martin continued.

Martin said the Harvest Fest’s goal wasn’t only to raise money, but also to be an event for families in the area, and they wanted to take some of those ideas and refresh them.

She said the groups involved in the collaboration still try to meet a couple times a year, and they all support each other in community events and projects that create more opportunities for families in Boone County.

“The route goal is really just to have a good community event, and that’s really the focus,” she said. “It’s not necessarily bringing in funds, just to have something for families and the community, something family friendly and cheap and enjoyable.”

Some of the Tractor Treat activities include Dr. Jeckyll’s laboratory, scarecrow building, mini-pumpkin chucking and cookie decorating. Martin said cookies are $1 each to decorate, and pumpkins are $1 for three to chuck with the mini-pumpkin launcher. An apple stand will also have treats for sale.

Everything else is free to the public, including Halloween cartoons playing at Rivers Edge Recreation Center and a Halloween costume contest for kids 12 and under.

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While many of these activities are ghosts of October events past, a new part was added to the Frankenstein event – the “touch a truck” activity.

“We’ll have local groups come out and bring their unique, fun vehicles for kids to touch and climb on,” Martin said.

“We’ve got the police department bringing out a Humvee. The fire department’s bringing out some vehicles. Hammertime is bringing out some ATVs, dirt bikes for the kids to climb on. We’ll have our dump truck and hopefully our new Zamboni for our new ice rink, which will all be there for kids to climb on.”

For more information visit the Belvidere Park District website at, and to learn more about volunteering your vehicle for the “touch a truck” activity, contact Martin at

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