The Burgoo weekend begins with a large car show Saturday, Oct. 12, sponsored by the Utica Fire Department.
"We have had nearly 100 classic cars participate in previous shows and we expect that number or more again this year," said Utica Fire Chief Ben Brown. "The car show benefits our department and gives us positive exposure to the public."
The origins of the Utica Burgoo can be traced back to an idea brought to the historical society by longtime member Connie Fetzer from an Arenzville fundraiser in Southern Illinois. With the support of society benefactor Edmund Thornton and other members, Fetzer organized the first event to coincide with the fall colors in Starved Rock Country.
Fetzer said the first event was planned to ensure the identity of the celebration was retained by the society as its own to bring resources back to the museum.
In a 1991 Society booklet about the celebration, Fetzer said, "The Burgoo is now a (community) tradition and has its own identity (throughout the Midwest). The uniqueness of the word, Burgoo, the visible commitment of volunteers to be up all night to make the stew, the charm of the village, the hard work of Society members and the folksiness of enjoying, savoring and observing a pioneer activity recreated, has accrued to the success of the Society."