Organizers are hoping this year’s expanded Summerfest celebration on Madison Street will draw record crowds for a weekend of outdoor music, games, food, drink and socialization.
Since growing out of a sidewalk sale in the early 1990s, the Summerfest has traditionally occupied Madison Street between Desplaines and Circle avenues. This year, according to event Chairman Mark Hosty, the party will double in size and occupy Madison Street from Circle Avenue to Harlem Avenue.
“I’m pretty excited about it,” Hosty said. “We’ve always talked about expanding it.”
With the bigger venue come bigger expectations. Hosty is hoping to draw between 6,000 and 10,000 people to Summerfest this year. In years past, the event pulled a crowd of about 5,000, he said. Also, the need for volunteers has expanded. Hosty, a member of the village council, said he shamelessly plugged the event during a council meeting in hopes of getting each of the elected officials to participate.
Summerfest serves as the largest fundraising event of the year for the Chamber of Commerce.
The fun begins Friday, June 8 from 5 p.m. until 11 p.m. On Saturday, June 9 the venues open at noon and are expected to run until 10 p.m. Admission is free, though tickets will need to be purchased to participate in many of the activities. Rides, games for kids, beer and soda will require tickets that can be purchased at various locations. The roughly 20 food vendors participating in Summerfest will accept cash, Hosty said.
Among the bands performing at Summerfest is R-Gang, a rhythm and blues group scheduled to take the stage Saturday evening at Constitution Court.