63rd Annual Deer Festival – Saturday, November 18th, 2023

When your county is the ‘Deer Capitol of Illinois’ and the bucks are what legendary trophies are made from, you have to celebrate the opening day of deer season with a holiday. That’s right, celebrated on the Friday before Thanksgiving week, Pope County’s Deer Day is cause for school to let out and tree stands to fill as the quest for prize-winning bucks begins on the opening day of 1st shotgun season.

Prize-winning bucks abound in Pope County where the joke is, deer easily outnumber humans 10:1

At the Deer Festival-

Our quintessential hometown Deer Festival Parade is cause to line Golconda’s Main Street as themed floats, classic cars, fire trucks, and marching bands put on a show and throw out tons of candy to the kiddos lining downtown sidewalks. This is a small town treat you don’t want to miss! Held on the Saturday of Deer Fest weekend with the parade starting at 2pm.

Tasty BBQ for a Good Cause Support the Golconda Rotary as they fire up their prize-winning BBQ pit and serve a variety of lip-smacking good food that will make your taste-buds dance and fill your belly. All proceeds go to the Rotary Club’s scholarship funds, presented to graduating Pope County High School students each year!

Shopping check out the Deer Fest Market starting at 10am and then stroll through the courtyard for a wide variety of arts and crafts vendors. Don’t forget the local shops in town too.

Need booth space at the Deer Festival? Click here to fill out the vendor application online today!

Activities Walk down Main Street toward the river and stop by the City Museum rich with local history. From the levee you can cross Lusk Creek on the footbridge to the Oasis on the Ohio marina.

Pope County’s Deer Festival is always the Saturday before Thanksgiving.

Click here for rules and guidelines for participating in this year’s parade

Click here for a downloadable application to join the parade

Vendors interested in participating at the Deer Festival Parade can fill out an online application here