Aurora shines spotlight on fossils

Published 7:52 pm Sunday, May 30, 2010

Lifestyles & Features Editor

AURORA — School students, elected officials and those hoping to woo voters this election year were among those taking part in Aurora’s Fossil Festival parade Saturday.
The event was a highlight of the 17th-annual event, which was hosted by the Aurora/Richland Township Chamber of Commerce and the Aurora Fossil Museum.
Volunteers are the backbone of the event, according to this year’s festival chairman, Wayne Sawyer.
“It probably takes about 30 people to do it,” Sawyer said as he waited for the morning’s parade to start. “We could always use more help — you know how it is in a small town.”
The festival is a boost to Aurora’s economy and a promotional aid for the town, Sawyer added.
“It’s the largest crowd draw that we have here,” he said. “Somebody told me there would be about 13 different states represented today, with the vendors and showmen.”
Sawyer also praised PotashCorp for its support of the event.
“They help sponsor this, and it’s a good drawing card for them,” he said. “They’re a good corporate citizen, and they’re friendly for the environment.”
PotashCorp donated tons of mined reject materials that were placed throughout the town, offering those attending the festival the opportunity to search for fossilized treasures.
The festival included its traditional salute to veterans, including parade Grand Marshal Audrey Henries, an Aurora resident. Henries served in the Korean War and Vietnam War, retiring from the Air Force in 1969.
Also featured were PotashCorp mine tours, musical entertainment, craft vendors, carnival and helicopter rides, exhibits, an auction and a series of lectures hosted by the Fossil Museum. Guest lecturers were to include fossil experts Stephen Godfrey, Vince Schneider and John Owen, according to Aurora Fossil Museum Director Andrea Stilley.
Appearing as the 2010 Fossil Master was Sandy Shelton of Salisbury. Shelton is a member of the Friends of the Aurora Fossil Museum organization.
Rounding out the day were a show hosted by Immortal Creations Car &Truck Club and Wal-Mart’s Take a Kid Fishing program.
For more information about the festival and the museum, visit or