By Anne Eickstadt, REPORTER

Parade participants were not the only people in costume during the IOU Club’s Annual Halloween Parade on Sunday evening, Oct. 30. Adults and children along the Parade route rejoiced in the opportunity to dress up. The Parade began at the corner of N. State and Boone Streets in Belvidere, and wound up at the Community Building Complex of Boone County, located at 111 W. First St. Once there, everyone received refreshments in the form of hot dogs and ice cream. They had a chance to socialize and chat before the evening festivities ended. “Everything we do is for the children of Boone County,” Bill Wolf said. “The only reason we [the IOU Club] is in existence is for the children.” Wolf is the oldest member of the IOU Club. He joined in 1957 after returning from service in the Korean War. “This is one of our best years for folks along the Parade route,” John Wolf said. “The weather makes such a difference. We had 15 floats.” The IOU Club did not charge a fee for entrants in the Parade, but they did not allow business advertising, political floats or politicking.

One float entry was not any business or organization, but simply a group of friends. Spokesman Jacob Heiser organized the ‘Klown Lives Matter’ float. “We’re just a group of friends always doing Halloween activities,” Heiser said. “We started doing clowns a few years ago. We scaled back a little this year because of creepy clowns in the news, but we didn’t want to give them up.” The IOU Club gave prizes for the best float, best costume, best scary costume, best humorous costume, best famous person costume and more. “We raise between $8,000 to $9,000 per year to put on things like the Halloween Parade,” Mike Wolf said. “We are always looking for money. It takes a lot of money to run these things.”

The Halloween Parade is not the only Community outreach program the IOU Club coordinates. “We do the Easter Egg Hunt, the Halloween Parade, and the First Grade Christmas Party for all of the children in Boone County. We will have the Christmas Party on Dec. 2. We will have 700 kids about 6-years-old.” The Christmas Party also will be held at the Community Building Complex of Boone County. “We take needy kids and their families Christmas shopping,” Bailey said. IOU Club Annual Halloween ParadeThe Halloween Parade and the after party are joined by Boone County Royalty: Miss Boone County Fair Queen Hannah Gustafson, First Runner-Up Shannon Hart, Second Runner-Up Hannah Riley, and Little Miss Boone County Avarie Torres.

About the IOU Club

The IOU Club began in 1923 with a group of Belvidere businessmen who banded together to raise money by performing a minstrel show. They raised enough money to continue operating. They have been making children smile with their help and their special events ever since.


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