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10 straw sculptures to be featured

Danica Rogers’ "Headless Horseman", was the winning sculpture from 2018. Photo supplied
Danica Rogers’ "Headless Horseman", was the winning sculpture from 2018. Photo supplied

The fourth annual U.S. National Straw Sculpting Competition, sponsored by Encore! Mt. Morris, opens Friday, Aug. 9 at 6 p.m. in downtown Mt. Morris.

Ten new straw sculptures are coming to the Mt. Morris campus square for another presentation of Fine Art in Straw. 

The sculptures will be on display for public viewing every day through Sunday, Aug. 25. 

This year’s competition will be judged for two awards: People’s Choice — public voting by all visitors, and Artist’s Choice — voting by the competing sculptors. 

The winners will be announced during the festival’s grand finally at StrawFest on Saturday, Aug. 24. 

“The Airbrush, a Place in History,” celebrating the Airbrush patented by Mt. Morris resident Liberty Walkup in 1883 and additional historical displays will be Encore’s Old Sandstone Gallery show for August.

Jamboree music live in the evenings on the band shell presents Kyle Lacy and Harlem River Noise (rockabilly) on Friday, Aug. 9, Boot Leg Flyers (rock & roll) on Saturday, Aug. 10, Chicago Tribute Anthology on Friday, Aug. 16, Aireloom Music Studio (Drum Circle) on Saturday, Aug. 17, the Barb City Stompers (swing jazz) on Friday, Aug. 23, and Illinois Rail (bluegrass) on Saturday, Aug. 24.

StrawFest on Saturday, Aug. 24 will features food trucks, Village Antique Mercantile, blacksmith demos, Wild Bulls (mechanical bull riding), round straw bale races, square dancing in the street (experienced and inexperienced all welcome), vehicle airbrush show, straw sculpting awards, and Illinois Rail (bluegrass) live on the band shell stage, wrapping up the evening. 

On Sunday, Aug. 25, the village will celebrate the 180th anniversary of the founding of the Rock River Seminary on the Mt. Morris Campus.

In additional to the above, the festival includes:

• Big Community Straw Build — Members of the greater community, including visitors, are invited to help build our gigantic “Straw Saxophone a Musical Tribute” starting on Monday, Aug. 12 next to Illinois 64 behind Union Savings Bank. 

See how straw sculptures are built and enjoy some hands-on-time helping create something special.

• The Straw Jam Stage — an informal live music venue in the shade, next to the straw sculptures, will feature various music.

Details and information on all the events is available online at