Thousands travel to Arthur for annual cheese festival

ARTHUR—Thousands came to Central Illinois this weekend to fill up on cheese for one of the highest attended festivals in a small village's history.

Aaron Bronson traveled to Arthur, Illinois for one reason.

“I love cheese, absolutely love cheese,” said Bronson, a Decatur resident. “So it seemed like the perfect place to go.”

This weekend, every kind from cheddar to “Country Cheese and More” is available in abundance on the village's downtown streets.

“We give away over 700 pounds of cheese,” said Bob Doan, the Arthur Area Community Development Coordinator.

 At the annual Arthur Cheese Festival: a three-day celebration that began 42 years ago, when the village houses a production plant for the dairy delicacy. It's no longer in operation, but the food, fun, and festivities live on each year to honor the history.

“We just kind of keep on reaching out for different events, the cheese curd spitting just started two to three years ago,” said Doan.

While cheese carving just started last year. Bronson had never heard about it before Sunday.

“They've been announcing it all morning, they were going to do a cheese carving contest,” said Bronson. “I've never done anything like that before, but I love cheese so I thought why not, let's give it a whirl.”

Or better yet, a slice. And once Bronson started chipping away at his block of cheddar, inspiration came to him.

“I thought, you know, what goes better with cheese in Illinois, than corn?” said Bronson.

The judges agreed, giving his cheesy corn creation the first place prize.

“It feels pretty good, now I want to go do it again,” said Bronson. “Absolutely be back next year for sure.”

But there's still time to get your cheesy fill at this year's event. It runs through Monday evening.

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