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History

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Pike County Color Drive history

The Pike County Color Drive was an idea that just popped in the minds of a couple of Pike County residents Gordon and Kay Samson when they were on their short fall trip into Iowa, north of Dubuque. People had various items of food, fruit, and several types of flea market items. They got out, browsed the area and after getting back in their car they started discussing that Pike County could do the same only on a larger scale, perhaps County Wide.

The more they talked about it the better the idea sounded.  Originally they discussed the idea that it would be a good way to provide individuals of Pike County an opportunity to make a little extra cash by providing goods and services to Pike County visitors who could enjoy the beauty of Pike County and at the same time patronize that people who wished to provide various items and food for sale.

They had been to the Spoon River drive and felt that Pike County , a land between the two great rivers of Illinois, had a lot more to offer in the way of scenery than did the Spoon River Country. Similar to Spoon River, the Pike area has a very rich history and they felt that could also be something that could be an advantage to draw people to the area.

Pike County had been a well kept secret throughout the state, not necessarily intentional, and it was felt that if people from other areas could only see what is to be offered here they might also want to consider re-locating here either for business reasons, retirement, or just plain good living.

"We thought the concept should be that each town would do whatever it wanted to do. The idea wasn't so much to have craft fairs as was to bring people into the county and keep them moving." Samson took the idea to a Pike County Chamber meeting and told Ted Bear about it while we were waiting for the meeting to start. Baer and Samson set up a meeting and invited people who we knew would be interested in the idea. The two members made it a point to contact town boards, city councils, community clubs, etc in each of the communities in the county and promote the idea. A county-wide committee was formed and started meeting in the basement meeting room of the CIPS building in Pittsfield. This hardworking committee did the ground work, brainstorming, putting articles in local newspapers, etc. It was decided to call the event the Pike County Color Tour and was so named for the first two years. The committee decided on a name change after the second year it became the Pike County Color Drive. The Committee also attempted to predict when the leaves on the trees would be at their peak in changing colors but found out that was literally impossible to predict. After some deliberation the third weekend of October was chosen as the permanent date for the Color Drive.

The group organized, had brochures printed and advertised. That first year we ran out of everything," Baer said. And we did it with only area advertising and word of mouth.

Gordon painted the signs and I hung them. It took $1500 to get the first one off the ground.

The first year was not too big but it was considered successful enough to continue to promote it. There was some interest in various communities and it took off. Pike County is a beautiful place and people need to come and see it, I think it was a well kept secret until Color Drive."

Contact Information

Telephone
Peggy Hill
217-491-2208
Postal address
        PO Box 283
Pittsfield, IL 62363
The Flag
Be sure to keep an eye out for the Color Drive Flag.  Each official welcome booth will be displaying this flag during the Color Drive Weekend.