The big weekend has finally arrived. A jam-packed weekend of music acts will soon fill Main Street with headliners such as Rodney Atkins and Mark Chesnutt during the Mahomet Music Festival (today and Saturday).
"We've never brought anybody in as big as that obviously," festival chairman David Parsons said. "People are really excited for our acts this year. Mark Chesnutt had a last-minute cancellation last year due to Hurricane Harvey in Houston. We have a lot of positive feedback that we're going to bring him back, and Rodney Atkins is a household name so people are really excited about that.
Preparations leading up to the free festival are always "hectic." Parsons spent much of his time last week checking off items on his preliminary checklist.
"As much as you want to make sure you have your bases covered, you always have something last minute that will pop up," he said. "My day usually starts with checking emails and ends in the evening with constant phone calls. It's prime time."
New to the festival this year will be the addition of event space south of the beer garden area. Tickets are once again available for purchase for the party tent experience, sponsored by Tatman's Towing. Tickets are $30 each or $140 for a pack of five or $275 for a pack of 10.
The party tent experience includes a private tent with a direct view of the main stage, five drink tickets per ticketholder, light dinner and snacks and a private port-a-potty.
Festival staples include a carnival, food vendors and a parade Saturday at 9 a.m. beginning a Lincoln Trail Elementary School and continuing down south on Division Street, east on Union Street, north on Elm Street and finishing out west on Franklin Street.
"It's a good old-fashioned hometown parade," Parsons said. "We're keeping it at a norm."
Road closures began Thursday along Main Street. Areas of Division, Elm, Franklin, Jefferson and Union streets will also be closed at various times through the festival. Free parking and a shuttle service are offered in the grass area along Eastwood Drive by the Mahomet IGA. For a map of road closures and additional free parking, visit mahometmusicfest.com/road-closures-parking.
Approximately 70 volunteers are needed to make the festival run smoothly.
"It takes a lot of people and a lot of effort to make it all run smoothly," Parsons said.
The festival committeeman hopes to secure a few more volunteers. To sign up, visit mahometmusicfest.com/volunteers.
But more than anything, Parsons hopes for a solid turnout and good weather.
"I'm very proud that this festival has a longstanding tradition," he said. "It's kind of always been a chance for family fun," he added. "You pray for great weather, and if you have great weather, you're going to have great attendance."