Browns serve as grand marshals for parade at Du Quoin State Fair
The Illinois Department of Agriculture announced that Gerald and Betty Brown of Jonesboro were named as the grand marshals for the 2018 Du Quoin State Fair Twilight Parade, which was scheduled Friday, Aug. 24.
The Browns were the first family to be honored with the Illinois Department of Agriculture Bicentennial Farm designation.
Gerald Brown is the fifth generation in the same family to own the same farm land in Union County.
His children and grandchildren will be the sixth and seventh generations to be part of this great tradition.
The Brown family has also received sesquicentennial and centennial family farm designations from the Illinois Department of Agriculture.
“Illinois is full of proud, hard-working farm families. The Brown family is just one example of the dedication these families bring to Illinois agriculture,” Gov. Bruce Rauner said.
“We’re proud to honor them with the first Bicentennial Farm designation in 2018, and proud to have them join us as the grand marshals of the Du Quoin State Fair Twilight Parade.”
The journey for the Brown family started back in 1816 when Abraham Brown II, his wife, and three children made the trek from Rowan County, North Carolina, all the way to Union County, Illinois.
Many other families were traveling west to Southern Illinois, and since the land in North Carolina that the Browns were farming was worn out, they decided to join in the journey.
To leave everything and head to a new location at that time took a tremendous amount of courage and survival skills as it was not a short, nor easy, trip.
After their arrival in Union County, Abraham and his family took shelter in a hollow sycamore tree until their cabin was finished.
Shortly after that in 1817, Abraham registered his cattle and land.
That same land parcel has been passed down from generation to generation with at least one member of each generation staying and farming that very same ground.
“Our state was founded on the hard work and dedication of families just like the Browns,” Illinois Department of Agriculture director Raymond Poe said.
“Farm families will continue to sustain our strong agricultural traditions for generations to come, and we’re proud to welcome the Browns to the Du Quoin State Fair to help us celebrate those traditions.”
The Du Quoin State Fair Twilight Parade was set to step off at 6 p.m. Friday.
New this year: the parade route was changed and was contained within the fairgrounds property.
The 2018 Du Quoin State Fair started Aug. 24 and is scheduled to continue through Sept. 3.