Those involved in producing this year’s Summerfest hailed the festival as a huge success – enjoyed by many and one of the more profitable fundraisers for the Forest Park Chamber of Commerce, which sponsored the event. What’s more, chamber members do not think a large fight that broke out on Summerfest’s closing night will likely impact future events.
The weekend festival, held earlier this month, netted the chamber some $22,000, according to Executive Director Laurie Kokenes, money that will be used to promote Forest Park and future chamber events.
“Good crowds turned out … the weather turned out well … it resulted in a financially successful event,” said Mark Hosty, village commissioner and chamber member who donated a lot of time and effort to the promotion and production of the event.
But on the night of June 4, as the two-day festival neared an end, a fight erupted on the 400 block of Ferdinand Avenue, near the McDonald’s restaurant. According to a police report, a crowd of about 100-200 people gathered, and a teen who was reportedly inciting the crowd was shocked with a Taser three times before being arrested.
When asked if the incident would affect future events, both Hosty and Kokenes said it was a police matter; Hosty added that it happened off of Madison Street, outside the boundaries of Summerfest.
The Forest Park Police Department did not return numerous phone calls and emails sent over the last two weeks seeking comment on the event. The Forest Park Review asked Police Chief Jim Ryan at the June 13 village council meeting about the incident and whether there would be any changes to security at future events.
“We analyze and see what we can do to improve,” said Ryan before walking away, adding that he had a meeting with the chamber the next day.
Kokenes said the meeting was largely a recap of what made the event successful and that the matter is in the police department’s hands.