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ARMSTRONG: 2 new group events in ’15

Later this month the annual Illinois Office of Tourism Road Show, led by Deputy Director of Tourism Jen Hoelzle, will announce the economic impact tourism spending had on Illinois in 2013. Official numbers, including a breakdown by county, will reveal how much revenue was generated by the industry and the number of visitors who came to our state. We eagerly await the announcement from Gov. Pat Quinn.

Here at home in DeKalb County we have been working with two new group events that will take place in 2015.

We are proud to welcome back the Illinois State Square Dance Association after a three-year hiatus. Our bureau has worked with the staff at Holmes Student Center since November to convince them to return to DeKalb County. The group will be here June 24 through 26, 2015. We anticipate booking approximately 450 hotel room nights for 1,500 attendees.

Team Dance Illinois has booked its Midwest Competition with the Northern Illinois University Convocation Center to be held Feb. 14 and 15. Event organizers expect 8,000 people to attend and estimate booking 400 hotel room nights. This competition has traditionally been held in Peoria. We are getting the opportunity to host, because of part of the success of our first IHSA state football championship. That high-profile event resulted in more than $200,000 of free publicity for the area and will continue to draw other event planners to DeKalb County.

The July events calendar for DeKalb County is filled with many annual festivals and events that draw both visitors and residents.

The “Tour de Champions” Drum Corps event returns Sunday to Huskie Stadium and begins at 7:30 p.m. Hosted by FunME Events, it drew 6,000 visitors from 24 states last year. It will feature seven of the world’s top 12 drum and bugle corps. Food will be provided by NIU and Fatty’s Pub and Grille. Tickets range from $25 to $75 and can be purchased through FunME Events at 815-756-1263 or Community volunteers are needed to help host the event and welcome visitors. Volunteers are needed for two shifts – 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. and 7 to 10 p.m. We need ticket takers, stadium workers and gate monitors. To volunteer, call 815-756-1263 and ask for Jacki or email her at

The fifth annual Kishwaukee Fest is a countywide entertainment celebration started by FunME events, a local excursion, event and tour operator company. Running from July 20 through 27, Kishwaukee Fest includes many types of bands, car shows, skate boarding, shopping and dining specials, Baconpalooza – Swine & Wine Fest (sponsored by Fatty’s Pub & Grille and Hy-Vee) and a parade that travels through downtown DeKalb along Lincoln Highway on July 25. The parade kicks off at 7 p.m. and will include drum corps units, queens from the state and county, candy for the kids, local bands and more. There’s still time to send in an application to participate in the parade. Nonprofit groups can participate for free and it’s $50 for other entries. For a complete list of events or to send your application in to be in the parade visit

Sycamore’s Turning Back Time Weekend runs July 25 through 27. Saturday is Cruise Night and activities are planned from 3 to 11 p.m., including live music from The Beaux from 7:30 to 10:30 p.m.

Sunday is the 15th annual Fizz Ehrler Memorial Car Show. Organizers are hoping to showcase 1,000 vintage cars this year. Registration will take place from 8 a.m. until noon with the award presentation at 3 p.m. sharp.

These are just a few of the fun things to do in DeKalb County in July. For a complete list of county wide events visit

We hope to welcome many visitors and see many of our neighbors at these events. Until next time, safe travels.

• Debbie Armstrong is executive director of the DeKalb County Convention and Visitors Bureau. 

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