You can expect to see plenty of camouflage at the 2014 Pekin Marigold Festival. Drawing upon one of cable TV’s most popular shows, and Pekin’s unique history of river sports, the Marigold Festival committee announced the theme of the 2014 festival will be “Marigold Dynasty.”
The festival committee also announced the festival’s celebrity guest will be Tim Guraedy, better known as Mountain Man on A & E’s Duck Dynasty.
“Our committee is very excited about the possibilities of this year’s theme,” said Greg Ranney, chairman of the Marigold Festival Committee.
“With our rich river history, the P.S. Olt duck calls, local decoy carvers, Pekin Reels, and a tie to television’s hottest show, we think our festival will be very popular,” Ranney said.
Duck Dynasty star Tim Guraedy is best known to the show’s millions of hard-core fans as Mountain Man, the slow-talking air conditioning repairman/radio host who is a neighbor to the Robertsons, the Louisiana family that made a fortune from its best-selling duck calls, and around which the show is based.
Mountain Man is the only semi-regular cast member who is not a Robertson family member or employee of Duck Commander.
Duck Dynasty has become A&E’s most-watched series in the network’s history. The February 27, 2013 two-episode Season 3 premier tallied 8.6 million viewers, making it the most-watched telecast in network history.
Guraedy lives in Monroe, LA, the small town made famous by Duck Dynasty and Duck Commander. Guraedy’s weekly radio show on local station Z107.5, Big Z Country has become popular all over the globe, with people tuning in via the Internet to hear Mountain Man’s delightful mix of common sense, sports, music – and usually a Bible verse or two.
The Marigold Festival committee is still finalizing plans, but anticipates Mountain Man will ride in the parade and be available for autographs and photographs during the festival weekend. This is a formula that has worked well for the festival in recent years.
“People from all over central Illinois have really enjoyed the opportunity to meet our celebrities,” said Ranney.
Last year Daniel Logan and Tom Kane were the guest celebrities. They both have ties to the Stars Wars movies. Other memorable celebrities who have made a Marigold appearance included actress Cindy Williams, actors Jerry Maren and James Best, and William “The Refrigerator” Perry.
The committee is working with the local chapter of Duck’s Unlimited to host an antique duck decoy and duck call display in the Mineral Springs Park Pavilion. They also hope to coordinate a duck calling contest on the Mineral Springs Park lagoon.
Pekin’s duck calling roots run very deep. In 1904, the P.S. Olt company was founded in the Pekin area, and their duck and goose calls became arguably the most popular call models of all time. Due to Philip S. Olt’s innovation and the popularity of his calls, he is considered the "Father" of the manufactured call.
“I’m anxious to see the Marigold Dynasty theme carried throughout the festival, especially in the parade,” said Ranney.
The Pekin Marigold Festival was first held in 1973 as a way to honor one of Pekin's favorite sons, Senator Everett Dirksen. While in Congress, Dirksen championed the cause to make the marigold the national floral emblem. While unsuccessful in his efforts, his hometown of Pekin soon became known as the Marigold Capital of the World.
A dedicated group of volunteers serve on the Pekin Area Chamber of Commerce’s Marigold Festival committee. They work year-round to plan and organize the annual community festival.
The Pekin Marigold Festival is always the first weekend after Labor Day. The 2014 festival will be on September 4th, 5th, 6th and 7th.