Fulton cancels Beggar's Walk

Rachael Keating/Clinton HeraldBricks are laid out in the bottom half of Heritage Canyon in Fulton, Ill., on Tuesday.

FULTON, Ill. — Fulton’s annual Beggar’s Walk in Heritage Canyon has been cancelled due to a lack of volunteers to man it and ongoing cleanup of the canyon after flood waters inundated it July 22.

While the water has long gone, and progress has been made, “there’s just so much (mud),” said Brian Tomman, who is Heritage Canyon’s caretaker.

While the city’s Fall Festival is still on — it is set for Sept. 30 and Oct. 1 — most areas in the canyon will be closed off. There will be a path open to the ice cream parlor, where people will be able to enjoy the event.

However, when it comes to the Beggar’s Walk, the mud, its cleanup and a lack of volunteers have combined to knock it off the schedule. In fact, a lack of volunteers three years ago also put the Beggar’s Walk in danger of being cancelled. The Early American Crafters, which assists at the canyon, also feels the crunch of needing more hands and always are looking for volunteers. EAC board member Liz Rice-Keller said there just is not enough manpower available for the Beggar’s Walk, both before and during the event.

“We have too much on our plate,” Rice-Keller said referring to event positions and the damage around the stores.

As they get ready for the Fall Festival, city workers and volunteers are working to remove mud that is “a couple feet” thick, according to Public Works Director Dan Clark. He said hauling it out is a layer-by-layer operation. The city of Fulton reported the cleanup estimate is coming in around $10,000.

LyondellBasell sent over about 20 volunteers to Heritage Canyon, and they made some headway; Clark and Tomman both commented on the amount of work they did while on scene over the weekend.

LyondellBasell personnel worked in the lower canyon, rehabilitating the walkways. The group painted and “did a bunch of work on the shop,” Tomman said.

Rice-Keller hopes the Beggar’s Walk is not gone for good. She is hoping to have a strong return next year. Those who wish to offer their time can contact her at (563) 212-5741.