1908 Fish Fry & Carnival

Looking east, toward the corner of 2nd and State, August 21, 1908 –


Fish Fry, long looked forward to, long remembered, dawned bright and clear, and the early morning brought a line of teams from every road leading into town. By ten o’clock the streets were crowded, and the noon trains brought added thousands to spend the day.

The Beardstown Cadet band rendered excellent concerts during the day, and the different places of amusements did a rushing business. It was estimated that 6,000 people were served fish at noontime.

The usual scenes attending the serving of the fish and bread were re-enacted this year and it was one grand rush from the time of serving of the fish until the last bit had been disposed of.

Miss Mazie Link, a young lady very popular among the younger set, was elected queen of the Carnival, after a contest of about two weeks’ duration. A great deal of interest was manifested in Miss Link from the first and her success was no surprise. Miss Blanche Hagerstrom was second. The vote stood: Miss Mazie Link, 7,997; Miss Blanche Hagerstrom, 5,500; Miss Gertrude Evans, 3,198; Miss Chloe Miller, 2,100.

The queen crowning ceremony will take place in the Wild Animal show at 9 o’clock this evening.

The Cosmopolitan Shows have demonstrated their ability to entertain the crowds, and a cleaner, more agreeable and acceptable Carnival company never visited the city. All the shows are good, and are well worth the price of admission. The Wild Animal show in particular is a feature attraction, and draws large crowds. The three free attractions are well worth seeing and are given twice daily. One is at the corner of Main and Jefferson, another at the corner of Main and Lafayette, and the third at the corner of Third and Washington.

During the early part of the week not much interest was manifested, but Thursday the usual Carnival conditions prevailed, and the people commenced to arrive from everywhere. The weather is ideal and barring Wednesday, has been good all the week. The mayor by his warning as to confetti, has removed one of the most objectionable features of the Carnival, and tonight, the big night of all, will undoubtedly be one of the best ever given here.

Kennedy’s Window the Best
It was the decision of the judges that had been appointed, that the window of C. F. Kennedy’s store was the best in the city. The window in purple and white was the one awarded the prize, and the attractive display of the goods for sale was the basis of decision.

Confetti Warning
L. W. Pilger, Chief of Police:
I hereby ask you to instruct all police officers under you to arrest any one found or caught throwing confetti or other articles in people’s faces or at them in any way.
R. H. Garm, Mayor

LOST – A purple crochet money bag trimmed with beads. Finder can have money if purse is returned to Mrs. C. J. Baujan.
The Illinoian-Star – Friday, August 21, 1908


With the closing performance of the different carnival attractions the Cosmopolitan Company, like the silent Arab, will quietly fold its tent and steal away in the night, bound for Burlington, Iowa, where they will hold forth next week.

It has been a good week taking all things into consideration, and the attractions furnished by the Cosmopolitan Company have been morally clean. The streets this morning were quiet as compared with yesterday, but during the afternoon the crowds increased in size. But after all, there is only one banner day in a week’s celebration, and that is Fish Fry day. This one day in Beardstown history has become familiar to people residing for many miles in all directions. It was established years ago, away back in Aug. 1891, when the first public free fish fry was given on Thursday, August 27, under the direction of the Illinois Rivermen’s Protective Association and attracted some 2,000 or 3,000 visitors from nearby towns. The fish and bread were served from 10 o’clock in the morning until 1 o’clock in the afternoon. The Browning Band furnished the music.

In 1892 there was no celebration, but in 1893 the business men gathered together and had a rousing celebration on the twenty-third of August. The next year it was held at what was then known as Woodland Park, near Wood Slough, but the following year the business men again took a hold of the affair and it has been an annual event each year. . . . .
The Illinoian-Star – Saturday, August 22, 1908