The Septemberfest parade did not always wind its way down Summit Drive in Schaumburg.  Once upon a time the parade route marched down Weathersfield Way and Springinsguth Road.  Of course, even then in 1980, the parade was made up of

  • Fire engines
  • Eight drum & bugle corps
  • Hundreds of children engaged in the various scouting groups
  • Politicians throwing candy
  • A resplendent Miss Septemberfest Queen riding majestically atop the Jaycees’ float
  •  The Elgin Shrine Cycle Patrol with their fast-moving motorcycles weaving their figure eights on the road
  • And an elephantElephant photo

Wait a minute.  An elephant?  You betcha.  As part of the 1980 Septemberfest celebration, an elephant walked the streets of Schaumburg carrying Charlie O’Neil, a disc jockey at WMAQ radio, who acted as grand marshall.

It would be interesting to know how Mr. O’Neil was selected.  Maybe there was a country theme because it was during this time that WMAQ had a country music format and Mr. O’Neil was one of their popular DJs.

What an exotic addition to the parade!

Photo is courtesy of Copley Record Newspapers. Found in Schaumburg’s 25th Anniversary publication. 1956-1981.

Jane Rozek
Local History Librarian
Schaumburg Township District Library


  1. David Olson Says:

    Regarding elephants, for a couple of summers in the late 50s or very early 60s, a traveling circus came to the little strip mall just west of Parcel A (the first shopping center built in Hoffman Estates) and stayed for for a day or two. They had quite a large tent in the parking lot there, and the circus, while small, had a number of circus performers and a few animal acts. I vaguely recall they had an elephant or two, but I’m not certain of that. It was so exciting for us nine year olds… a real circus coming to our own Hoffman Estates!

    Unfortunately, the second year a strong windstorm came up during the show, and nearly blew the tent down. The ringmaster shouted loudly over his P.A. for all of us to immediately evacuate, which we quickly did. I remember the sound of the ten canvas violently flapping in the wind and the tent poles shaking, with all of us scared out of our wits. That was the last time the traveling circus came to Hoffman Estates, I believe.

  2. Ronald Gliot Says:

    Is there a way to post photos on this site? I have a few from the Septemberfest Parade from around 1979 or so, as I was in it.

    • jrozek Says:

      Hi Ronald,

      There is no way for readers to post photos on the site but, if you’d like to send them to me in an email, I’d be happy to do a blog posting centered around them. I’ve done this a number of times in the past for others who have photos to share. It’s a nice way to get them out there and I love doing it! My email address is jrozek@stdl.org

      Jane Rozek
      Local History Librarian
      Schaumburg Township District Library

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