By Richard Snowden

A lively atmosphere prevailed as swarms of attendees brought Sycamore’s 44th annual Pumpkin Festival to a crescendo over the weekend.

From the youthful screams emanating from the carnival on one end of State Street to the buzz of activity around the DeKalb County Courthouse lawn at the other end, the festival offered a bit of entertainment for everyone.

“I love the carnival; it’s changed a lot this year,” said Sycamore resident Lorna Eriksen as she watched her three children swing around on a ride. “It’s really nice to have good weather. We usually come out here and we’re really cold.”

At the courthouse, long lines of people filed around the colorful pumpkin displays created by local children as music from the Basically Bluegrass Band fueled the fun.

On one edge of the courthouse lawn, Sycamore Lions Club members Tom Henigan and Tom Moline sold raffle tickets from their booth.

“The proceeds from our raffle go to benefit the blind and hearing impaired,” Henigan said. “It’s been going great and the weather has just been tremendous.”

Across from the courthouse, a variety of enticing odors wafted throughout the area courtesy of several food vendors.

At one of the food booths, the Kishwaukees, a local barbershop chorus, sold deep-fried, cinnamon-coated pastries called elephant ears to festival attendees.

“We’re a non-profit group, so we do this to support our chorus,” said Rochelle resident Al Terry, a member of the Kishwaukees. “We’ve been doing this for a number of years.”

Businesses up and down State Street were alive with activity. “Business has been excellent,” said Scott Prutton, owner of Mojo Brew Company, 322 W. State St. “Our sales have probably increased tenfold. I wish Pumpkinfest was every week of the year.”

Marcia Elliott, owner of Made Just For You Handcrafted Gifts, 338 W. State St., said she also was quite busy.

“We haven’t had much chance to participate in Pumpkinfest ourselves since business has been so good,” Elliott said. “We’ll get to see the parade go past our window, but that’s about the only thing we’ll get to do.”

Sycamore High School hosted the Antique, Craft & Flea Market, another event that drew large crowds. Many local craft vendors were on hand, while some came from far away. That’s not surprising, considering the festival usually draws about 100,000 people. But Ecuador?

Julian Chancoso came from Cotacache, an Incan village in the Andes Mountains of Ecuador, to sell native crafts, clothing and CDs of traditional Inca flute music at the market.

“We try to make beautiful items to show to the people,” Chancoso said. “The people like the handmade items, and things have been going very well.”

The craft display represented one part of a family business, Chancoso said.