August: StrawFest National Sculpting Competition

U.S. National Straw Sculpting Competition
Moves to Mt. Morris, IL 61054

“It was a little village of 2,500 people,” said artist Fran Volz. “They had a brewery and this.” “This,” to Volz’s amazement, was a straw sculpture competition that draws thousands of visitors to the village of Höchenschwand in southern Germany.
It inspired the artist to create his own a straw sculpture, resulting in an impressive 21-foot tall replica of the Statue of Liberty. In 2016, Rochelle hosted the first ever U.S. National Straw Sculpting Competition. In 2017, the competition found it’s permanent home in Mt. Morris, Illinois, where Encore! Mt. Morris added this fine arts event to a growing cultural calendar.
“I’d like to see it grow and attract national and even global sculptors, while keeping it a rural and fine arts event,” explained Volz. “This is a connection between farming and urban societies – taking what farmers produce to create what’s often seen in cities in the form of statues.”
Encore! Mt. Morris will host the Third Annual U.S. National Straw Sculpting Competition August 10–26, 2018 on the former college campus in the center of Mt. Morris. The community development group is working closely with Fran Volz to retain his vision of the contest while expanding it to include more artists and student groups.
“Art is universal. Everyone can participate,” stated Volz. “Young and old. It doesn’t matter what your background is.”
Details about the upcoming competition, photos of the sculptures, and more about Volz’s process for creating straw sculptures can be found here at

Encore! Mt. Morris is a cultural initiative of the Mt. Morris Economic Development Corporation. Composed of volunteers, it’s committed to developing Mt. Morris, Illinois into a unique, thriving rural and cultural arts destination in northwest Illinois.

Learn more about Encore! at
Learn more about Fran Volz at


Historic Downtown Mt. Morris Illinois 61054

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