Excepten und Spiel Parade of Johnsburg, the festivities planned for this weekend – Shaw Local
It’s all about drinking and gambling on Sundays at the annual Johnsburg Excepten und Spiel Parade.
The name of the parade in German means exactly that: drink and play. It also pays homage to the city’s German roots, said event chairman Jim Barrett.
For 50 years, the Johnsburg Community Club has hosted the Saven und Spiel Parade and associated events. This year marks the 51st annual event for a club that has been around for 101 years.
It was created in the 1920s to help Johnsburg find new opportunities to receive taxpayer money for better village infrastructure, he said.
The club is credited with raising $150,000 in the 1930s to replace a bridge across the Fox River. In today’s dollars, that’s about $2.6 million.
Money raised by the club from the parade and weekend events once again goes back into the community.
These funds, about $30,000 a year, go to “a number of different organizations in the city: sports, athletics in our schools, independent sports organizations,” Barrett said.
The weekend events, for which there is no entry fee, begin Friday at the Johnsburg Community Club’s Fest Grounds, 2315 Church St.
The black light bean bag tournament begins at 5 p.m. Friday. The panel is striped with reflective tape and the bags glow in the dark, Barrett said.
Up to 48 two-person teams can enter the Double Elimination Sack Tournament. Sponsored by the Johnsburg Community Men’s Club, there is an entry fee of $15 per person. Food and drinks are available for sale.
The Johnsburg Lions Club is sponsoring Saturday’s events. Three bands will perform starting at 5 p.m. Food and beverages will be on sale on the festival grounds.
One of Saturday’s highlights is the glockenspiel, a life-size cuckoo clock. German artists dance to traditional music with axes, Barrett said. The performance acknowledges the event’s German history, noting “it’s comedic and draws the whole crowd there,” he said.
A more recent event is the Mug Holding Contest. Added last year, participants compete to see who can hold a mug of beer the longest.
It was sort of a last-minute addition in 2021 when six men were invited to take the stage and hold a mug, Barrett said. As they waited for them to finish, a group of women lined up for their shot. There will be men’s and women’s categories this year, he said.
“The winner gets their glass and drinks free for the rest of the day,” Barrett said.
On Sundays, the parade departs at noon from Johnsburg Village Hall, 1515 Channel Beach Ave., east on Lakeview Street, then south on Riverview Drive to Channel Beach Avenue, ending at the Fest Grounds.
Bands will begin playing around 1:30 p.m. with food and drink available for purchase. For kids, there are a variety of inflatable features — wristbands for these are $10 each.
At 4 p.m. Sunday the cattle will be released for the annual Cow Drop. Participants buy a $10 ticket and receive a random square number. The cows are parked on a field with drawn squares. The owners of the first three squares where a cow deposits her manure receive a cash prize.
For more information, visit johnsburgcommunityclub.com.