With rock’n’roll, beer gardens, a mini antiques mall, Harley demos – not to mention pony rides, a stilt-walker and the giant slide – Madison Street will live up to its larger-than-life reputation this weekend.

On Friday and Saturday, June 4 and 5, it’s SummerFest time again.

“This town really knows how to throw a party,” says event organizer and Two Fish Art Glass co-owner Cec Hardacker.

SummerFest, the chamber’s biggest fundraiser of the year, kicks off on Friday night at 5 p.m. At 7 p.m., Maurice Mahon – Forest Parker, international touring star and WGCI’s pick for Chicago Idol – will be the first performer. Mahon will sing the national anthem.

Expect two live stages, each with adjacent beer gardens and food courts. Food tastings from local restaurants will be available and Forest Park firefighters will be selling firehouse chili with cornbread.

The kids’ stage will be at the Beloit intersection.Village officials expect 8,000 to 10,000 people packing Madison from Circle to Desplaines avenues for the two-day event.

“It grew out of a sidewalk sale years ago, and morphed into this very successful popular event,” says Laurie Kokenes, executive director of the Forest Park Chamber of Commerce. With digital billboards advertising it on the Eisenhower Expressway and ads in local papers, Chicago magazine and on WXRT radio – and a Web site, SummerFest “draws people from all over to discover all that Forest Park has to offer,” Kokenes says.

A true community effort, this year’s festival is a joint venture among the Village of Forest Park, the Park District of Forest Park, the Forest Park Chamber of Commerce and Development, and Two Fish Art Glass. Dozens of businesses from Forest Park and surrounding communities sponsor individual aspects of the festival. The giant slide is sponsored by Forest Park National Bank.










  • 5 to 11 p.m. Friday, June 4
  • Noon to 10 p.m. Saturday, June 5
  • Madison Street, from Circle to DesPlaines

The food vendors

  • Blue Max Coffee
  • Brown Cow Ice Cream
  • Byron’s Hot Dogs
  • Cocina Lobos
  • Corn on the Cobb
  • Damenzo’s Pizza
  • Deko’s
  • Duckfat Tavern and Grill
  • Fraternal Order of the Eagles (cotton candy)
  • Forest Park firefighters (firehouse chili)
  • Forest Park Liquors
  • House Red
  • Paciugo Gelato
  • Jimmy’s Place
  • Francesca’s Fiore
  • Starship Restaurant
  • O’Sullivan’s
  • Public House
  • Bua Hana Restaurant
  • Doc Ryan’s
  • Madly Pop’n
  • R & S Concessions (nachos and Italian ice)

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Jean Lotus loves community journalism. She covers news, features, two school boards, village council, crime, park district and writes obits for Forest Park Review. She also covers the police beat for...