Pekin marigold festival

2017 Pekin Marigold Festival
September 7th, 8th, 9th and 10th

It's always the weekend after Labor Day!

In 1972, a group of Pekin residents gathered to investigate the possibility of a local festival. In their discussions, they decided it would be a way to honor Pekin's favorite son, Senator Everett McKinley Dirksen. Throughout his life Senator Dirksen was an avid gardener and enjoyed spending time in his garden. David Burpee, owner of the Burpee Seed Company, learned of Dirksen's strong appreciation for gardening. He contacted Dirksen on numerous occasions, encouraging him to introduce legislation that would name the Marigold the official floral emblem of the United States. Unfortunately, Dirksen's efforts were unsuccessful. But until his death, the Marigold held a special place in his heart. What better way for the people of Pekin to remember Senator Dirksen than to name their festival after something so close to his heart, his beloved flower, the Marigold. The first festival was held in 1973, and now, young and old look forward to our festival. With events and fun throughout Pekin over a span of several days, it is unlikely Everett Dirksen or the members of the original Marigold Festival Committee could have imagined what a fantastic event the Marigold Festival would eventually become!

Our Special Guests for 2016

2016 Marigold Guest Lee Smith!

The Pekin Marigold Festival proudly welcomed Mr. Lee Smith as our 2016 Guest Celebrity.  He will helped us celebrate our festival theme: "Baseball, Hot Dogs, Apple Pie, and Marigolds!"  Lee Smith is a retired right-handed baseball pitcher who played 18 years in Major League Baseball (MLB) for eight teams. Pitching primarily for the Chicago Cubs, with whom he spent his first eight seasons, Lee served mostly as a relief pitcher during his career. One of the dominant closers in baseball history, Smith held the major league record for career saves from 1993 until 2006 with a final total of 478.
A native of Jamestown in north Louisiana, Smith was drafted by the Cubs in 1975. Smith was an intimidating figure on the pitcher's mound at 6’ 6” with a 95-mile per hour fastball.  In 1991, Smith set a National League record with 47 saves for the St. Louis Cardinals, and was runner-up for the league's Cy Young Award; it was the second of three times he led the NL in saves, and he later led the American League once while with the Baltimore Orioles in 1994. He also set the major league career record for games finished (802), and his 1,022 career games pitched were the third-most in history when he retired; he still holds the team records for career saves for the Cubs (180), and he also held the Cardinals record (160) until 2006.                                                 
After the end of his major league career, Smith spent time working as a pitching instructor at the minor-league level with the San Francisco Giants. He then served as the pitching coach for the South Africa national baseball team in the 2006 World Baseball Classic and 2009 World Baseball Classic. Lee currently continues his job as a minor-league roving pitching instructor for the Giants.
Lee Smith appeared Saturday only at the Marigold Festival courtesy of Ray Dennison Chevrolet. He was riding in the Marigold Festival Parade sponsored by Busey Bank, and he signed autographs at the EnviroSafe Celebrity Tent and answered questions during a special Q & A Session.


Marigold Gear

2016 Marigold Merch is still available at the Pekin Area Chamber of Commerce Office

Quarter-Zip Fleece Sweater with a Marigold Festival logo; $35 for S to XL; $40 for 2XL. 
Order yours at the Pekin Area Chamber of Commerce, 402 Court Street, Pekin
(Mon-Fri, 8:30am to 4:30pm)


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