What is the huge festival that Utica has each year that draws such a huge crowd and when is it?
Also the weekend of the 17th of September is the Illinois Wine Festival. They draw huge crowds that weekend as well.
We are going to the Burgoo festival this year and also want to go to Starved Rock. Can anybody tell me if which one we should do first? We will be there at 9am. Is it more crowded in the morning or afternoon at the festival?
I can't answer your question regarding timing because we have never attended the festival.
The entire area will be crowded that weekend, especially Starved Rock State Park. To avoid crowds, there is a relatively unknown area in the back of Matthiessen State Park that has become our new favorite place to hang out. From Utica, take Rt. 178 to Rt. 71 and turn right....turn left into the back entrance of the park. You will pass a row of homes and a golf course. Continue past the course and there is a small picnic shelter and parking lot by Matthiessen Lake. You will see stairs going town to the water where you will see IMHO the best waterfall in the area. Be sure to wear shoes/boots and pants that you don't mind getting a little wet. The trails in the front of the park are also nice, but not quite as impressive.
I hear "through the grapevine" that Utica was having a Mardigras celebration this weekend. (3/1/14). Is that so? If so, what's happening and do people wear costumes/masks?