While uncertainty lingers over the fate of this year’s Marigold Festival, the Pekin Public Library and the Tazewell County Farm Bureau are co-sponsoring a summer event that will hopefully help lend a touch of festivity to Pekin’s summer.


The Pekin Marigold Festival Garden Contest began Monday. Applications are being accepted until Aug. 1. According to Beth Wegner, coordinator of Early Literacy and Story Book Garden programming at the Pekin Public Library, the contest has been something of an on-again, off-again event over the years.


“There were several years when it did not take place in the community,” Wegner said. “Since I have been developing the Story Book Garden at Pekin Public Library, I thought it would be a fun opportunity to teach children about this important festival and our special flower, the marigold. Farm Bureau had sponsored the garden contest in the past, and the library decided to co-sponsor the contest to get kids involved in growing marigolds to show their civic pride.”


Wegner added that the library and Farm Bureau decided to proceed with this year’s contest to give participants a chance decided to go ahead with the contest this year as a way for participants to engage with the Marigold Festival despite the COVID-19 pandemic.


“We don't know what the future holds as far as the pandemic goes, but we can all connect virtually and we can all beautify our community in our own special way,” she said.


Categories for adult entries include three residential garden classifications with prizes of $30 each, and a business category with a $50 prize. Pekin children can submit container gardens to win gift baskets in various age groups ranging from first grade to high school.


“The only rules for the gardens are (they) must feature marigolds and just have fun,” said Wegner. “Use your creativity and imagination. We include a container garden option for residential, business and children's categories since not everyone has a yard.”


The contest is restricted to Pekin residents, Applications are available at www.pekinpubliclibrary.org. Completed applications can be mailed to 301 S. Fourth St., Pekin, or can be deposited in the library’s book drop box, and should be marked Attn: Beth Wegner. Judging will take place in August at a time to be determined.