Pope County to hold 63rd Annual Deer Festival

As whitetail hunting season kicks into high gear in southern Illinois, the 63rd Annual Pope County Deer Festival comes racing back for another year
Published: Nov. 12, 2023 at 8:56 PM CST|Updated: Nov. 12, 2023 at 9:52 PM CST
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GOLCONDA, Ill. (KFVS) - As firearm deer hunting season approaches for those in southern Illinois, the Annual Pope County Deer Festival will come back for its 63rd year.

Starting on Thursday, November 16, the Deer Festival starts with two nights of pageantry at the Pope County High School Gymnasium. The two-day pageant is open to youth of all ages and begins Thursday evening with the Baby Photogenic, Little Mister and Miss, Junior Miss, Miss, and Senior Miss Pageant.

On Friday, November 17, high school girls will be taking to stage to compete for the title of 2023 Deer Festival Queen.

For both pageants, doors will open at 6 p.m. and the pageant begins at 7 p.m., with the entry fee being $5. Children 3-years-old or younger enter for free. On Thursday, commemorative hoodie sweatshirts and long-sleeved tee shirts will also be for sale, ranging from $21 to $34.

On Saturday, November 18, the Pope County Courthouse will have vendors setting up for sales beginning at 10 a.m. prior to the Deer Festival Parade starting at 2 p.m.

The parade will head down Main Street in Golconda and start at 2 p.m. on Saturday. According to a release from Mainstreet Golconda, this year’s theme is “The Buck Stops Here.” Those attending are reminded to bring some bags to fill up with candy that will be tossed by passing floats and vehicles. The parade route follows Main Street from the levy down to Franklin Street.

For more information on how to participate in the parade or to pre-order a commemorative shirt, you can visit the Mainstreet Golconda website.