This one’s a bit of the beaten path but if you’re thinking to yourself, Hmm… I’d like to take a bit of a road trip for some small town family fun, then this is it! Other things of interest on your way or in the area: The Heartland Spa in Gilman, Exploration Station Children’s Museum in Bourbonnais, Timber Creek Bed & Breakfast in Paxton, or Greenhouse Bed & Breakfast in Kempton, and the Chanute Aerospace Museum in Rantoul.
Disclosure: My family received deluxe overnight accommodations with all meals and babysitting provided, as well as wristbands for the carnival from the (unofficial) Cissna Park Tourism Bureau (aka: my parents).
Website: None, but here’s an image of the ad for Old Settlers
Location: downtown Cissna Park (approximately 40 miles south of Kankakee)
Dates: Thursday, Friday, & Saturday, August 15-17
Admission: Free. Tickets for rides are available for purchase or you can purchase a wristband (approximately $20) for unlimited rides.
Parking: Free street parking. You may have to walk a block or two.
Bathrooms: There are port-a-pottys available.
Nursing: No designated nursing area, but there are benches and tables where you can sit.
Handicapped/stroller accessibility: Old Settlers takes place in the town square so the grass & dirt can be a bit bumpy, but it’s accessible.
Other amenities: Fresh country air and small town charm.
Food: Concessions are available from the carnival vendors and the American Legion. Pies and goodies are generally available for sale. There is also a bar, small cafe, and Dairy Queen within walking distance.
- Carnival rides and games
- Kiddie Tractor Pull (Saturday)
- Old Settlers parade (Saturday)
- Pork Supper
- Free dances & live music
- 5K Walk or Run (Saturday)
- Lawn Mower Races
We paid: My parents bought wristbands for the kids to go on unlimited rides. John and I spent about $25 on food, games, and a couple tickets to ride with the kids on a few of the rides.
We try to visit Old Settlers every year; this post is based on our experience in 2012. The highlight of the weekend is the parade. There is a theme every year and anyone can be in the parade so lots of people come up with really creative “floats”. There is always plenty of candy for the kids (some of it even tossed to the crowd from a conveyor) so we make sure to bring a bag for each of the kids.
After the parade the kids love riding on all of the carnival rides and playing games.
Cissna Park is a long drive from Chicago, but we like getting out of the city; it’s like a different world. The carnival is the same you’ll find elsewhere, but there aren’t huge crowds and no long waits for anything.