MINOOKA – The village’s big party, Minooka Summerfest, kicks off this week and runs through Saturday with bands, a parade, a beanbag competition, a 5K, kids’ events, good food and a lot more.
Run by the Minooka Lions Club, member Scott Lemke said the festival is the organization’s biggest fundraiser.
“We put a lot of effort into it,” he said, “and it’s nice to see the community so involved in it every year.”
New this year are some of the stage acts, such as dancers from the Irish Music School of Chicago, line dancers for Friday’s Country Night and the School of Rock.
Lemke organizes the 5K run for Saturday morning, which is predicted to have cool weather for the participants.
“We had 177 run last year,” he said, “and we’re hoping to hit 200 or 210 this year.”
The Rev. Nate Ferguson and the Village Christian Church are organizing the Kiddie Parade, a much-anticipated staple of the festival.
“It’s the event that officially starts Summerfest,” Ferguson said.
The parade is open to kids from babies through junior high age, and parents may accompany them. Ferguson said many of the participants decorate their bikes or scooters, and parents sometimes have a lot of fun decorating strollers and wagons. Decorations will be judged for prizes just before the parade and announced at the opening ceremonies at 10:40 a.m. Saturday morning.
The parade is open to individuals, as well as groups, and Ferguson said he already has some church groups and Girl Scouts signed up. Registration for the parade is Saturday starting at 9 a.m. Judging is at 9:45 a.m., and the parade begins at 10:15 a.m., all in the Minooka Community High School’s Central Campus parking lot.
The parade will begin at the high school and run along Wabena Avenue to Cookie’s Restaurant, across from the main stage. The Minooka Police Department will lead off the parade, which also will include the Minooka Junior High School marching band, bagpipe players and antique tractors, and the Minooka Fire Department will take up the rear.
Kids in the parade will be given bags of candy to pass out to those along the route.
Ferguson said the Summerfest is something he and his family always look forward to.
“We love it because it’s outside, and they have lots of stuff for the whole family,” he said. “There are so many things for the kids, and the adults get to hang out and see their neighbors and their friends. With school just out, it’s a great way for the kids to get to see each other, too.”
Ferguson said the festival is a wonderful small-town celebration of summer and community in a safe environment. The pastor also will be delivering the invocation during the opening ceremonies. He’s also a new member of the Minooka Lions Club and has praises for the organization.
“I just joined the Lions Club,” he said. “It’s a great way to get involved. They are a premier service organization in our community.”
For information and event listings, visit www.minookalionsclub.com.
SUMMERFEST SAMPLING OF EVENTS
THURSDAY• Show it off Car Show, at the Ace Hardware parking lot, 5 to 9 p.m.
FRIDAY• “Headin’ West” band and line dancers at the fest’s Country Night• Beer Garden opens at 7 p.m.• Minooka Teens Battle of the Bands, 5 to 10 p.m.
SATURDAY• 5K race. Registration begins at 6:45 a.m. Race begins at 8 a.m.• Kiddie Parade. Registration begins at 9 a.m.; judging is at 9:45 a.m.; and parade begins at 10:15 a.m. at the Minooka Community High School’s Central Campus parking lot.• Bean bag tournament. Registration begins at 10 a.m. Tournament begins at 11 a.m.• Pork chop dinner. 4:30 to 7 p.m.• Food and beer tent open all day.• Fun events and craft fair: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.• Pop tab dump: All day.• Karaoke contest: 4 to 6 p.m.• Bands: “Lounge Puppets” and “ARRA,” from 6:30 – 11:30 p.m.