The Marigold Festival began in 1972 as a way to honor one of Pekin's favorite sons. While in Congress, Senator Dirksen tried to make the marigold the national flower. In support of Dirksen, the community began growing marigolds. While Dirksen was unsuccessful in his efforts to make the marigold the national flower, his hometown of Pekin soon became known as the Marigold Capital of the World.
The 2009 Pekin Marigold Festival will be held on September 11th, 12th, and 13th. It's always the weekend after Labor Day.