ALEDO, Ill. — An annual tradition that took a brief hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic returned this Fourth of July to downtown Aledo.
The 30th annual Dr. Ford Frog Races took place at 9 a.m. Monday in Aledo's Central Park. The event, hosted by the Exchange Club with the help of the Mercer County Jaycees and Aledo American Legion, brings crowds of locals and out-of-towners to the downtown area each year.
"It's exciting (to be back), and the weather's great," said Dwight Reynolds with the Alito Exchange Club. "We were worried about the rain, but it's a little cooler, and the frogs like that."
Several hundred community members came in the cloudy weather with their own frogs or rented one for $1 at the light-hearted event that goes its name from Exchange Club Member Dr. Charles Ford.
The club buys frogs from suppliers specifically for the July 4 event. At the end of the races, they're all set free in the pond nearby. So be warned, Aledo residents. There might be some extra loud ribbets for the next few evenings.
American Legion and Legion Auxiliary provided lunch and drinks following this year's races, and the Aledo Community Band played music for the crowd.
The City of Aledo will continue its Fourth of July celebrations with a firework display at dusk Monday at the Mercer County Fairgrounds.