Down Some Spinach at the Popeye Picnic

Chester Welcome SignEven those who didn’t grow up with the cartoons know the iconic image of Popeye - the sailor man who defeated obstacles with grit and a can of spinach. From the comic strips, to the cartoons, to the Robin Williams interpretation, Popeye is well known in Western culture, and his hometown is located right in our region in Chester, Illinois where they are celebrating the beloved character with a Popeye Festival.


Popeye artist and creator Elzie Crisler Segar was born and raised in Chester and is honored there to this day with the annual Popeye Picnic, as well as statues situated throughout the town that depict famous Popeye characters. This year a new character will be joining the statue collection, and the celebration is bigger than ever, marking the third year running.

The picnic is a three-day long event packed full of activities including a film festival, carnival rides, and a Popeye Parade. Between events patrons can visit the Popeye Museum and view the spinach can collection. For the kids there’s Sweet Pea’s Petting Zoo, and inflatables to bounce in.

Live music is performed each night, along with a magic show, a puppet show, comedy shows, and more entertainment than you can puff a pipe at. The best part is that nearly all entertainment and events are free, as well as admission and parking.

As a special surprise the Popeye Picnic will also be adding a brand new character statue to the Character Walk. Roughhouse - the hardworking chef - will be joining Olive Oyl, Sinbad, and the others with a special unveiling at Reid’s Harvest House at 1 p.m. on September 12.

Don’t miss this exciting weekend with Popeye and all his friends. The Popeye Picnic runs September 11 - 13 all day long. Visit their website for the full schedule, or check their Facebook page for updates and fun Popeye cartoons.


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