This year marks the 50 year anniversary for the Dixon Petunia Festival. The festival will be located on River Road between Peoria and Galena Avenue and on Hennepin from First Street to River Road. We will be featuring a main entertainment stage across River Road near the Dixon Tourism building and will have a tent set up on River Road for seating. The carnival will be on Page Drive. This year we will feature local and out of town food vendors. View the Festival Map
Each year, the residents of Dixon, Illinois, honor a group of public spirited men and their project which has earned the town national recognition and as the State of Illinois official "Petunia City." Thousands of pink petunias line more than two miles of Dixon highway approaches and main thoroughfares, giving the city a warm glow of color from early May until late fall.
It all began in the late 1950s when a combination of Dutch Elm disease and major highway expansion caused the removal of all trees along the communitys major roadways. The Dixon Mens Garden Club, which for several years has worked on small flower beds scattered throughout the city, decided to do something about the barren look of the highway approaches.
In 1960 and 1961, the club planted 4,000 petunias along both sides of about one-half mile of the principal north-south route, South Galena Avenue. The next year, the club members put 6,000 more petunias on the three-quarters of a mile of North Galena Avenue.
Today, Dixon Area Garden Club and the Rock River Garden Club are major financial contributors to the The Dixon In Bloom Committee who is responsible for the fundraising, planting, and hanging of the petunia baskets in downtown Dixon. The first hanging baskets of petunias were placed on the Galena and Peoria Avenue bridges in June 2011. Dixon In Bloom has now increased the number of baskets to 265 and includes Galena Avenue, Peoria Avenue, First Street, and a portion of Second Street.