Organizers of the summer's annual Glendale Heights Fest are challenging residents to step up and grab the bull by the horns for a good cause.
The mechanical bull, that is.
"It's a popular ride, it's a fun thing to do and it's a great way for us just to help more people in the community," said Family in Faith Christian Church Pastor Steve Kass of Carol Stream.
On Friday, July 8, the Family in Faith Christian Church in Glendale Heights will man the mechanical beast for the second year to raise funds for a permanent food pantry.
The Family in Faith food pantry has distributed more than 600,000 pounds of food to local families through visits from the Northern Illinois Food Bank mobile food truck, providing exactly the support many need in "tremendously dire times," said Gina Thorson, public relations manager for the village of Glendale Heights.
"We've been working with the village to figure out creative ways to get the community behind supporting the pantry financially," Kass said.
Last year the church raised between $700 and $800 for the food pantry building fund through the mechanical bull rides, a total Kass said the organization hopes to double at this year's fest.
The popular event will return to the fest from 6 to 11:30 p.m. on Friday, July 8. A ride will cost daring adults $5 and gutsy kids $3.
Thorson believes that the volunteer-run event provides more than a sense of community and contribution to the pantry for the Glendale Heights Fest, running Wednesday through Sunday, July 6 to 10, in Camera Park, 101 E. Fullerton Avenue. The safe environment and responsible running of the machinery ensure that thrill seekers of any age can take to the bull for a bit of fun, organizers say.
"We had one 82-year-old lady hop on the bull," Thorson said. "She did darn good."
With luck, the church will raise enough money to cease use of the mobile food truck from the Northern Illinois Food Bank.
A 30-foot-by-60-foot concrete foundation will be constructed in late July and a steel building is planned for September, Kass said.
For less adventurous festival-goers, the five-day fest offers an array of other exciting activities.
The free event will feature live bands like Seven Bridge Road and Chicago Rockhouse as well as festival favorites 7th Heaven and Infinity.
"When Infinity gets on stage everybody is 17," Thorson said.
For a talented few, the Glendale Idol competition is scheduled for 4:30 p.m. Saturday, July 9, and will allow performers the opportunity to face off for the title.
The fest also will feature two nights of fireworks displays for residents to enjoy -- at dusk Wednesday, July 6, and Sunday, July 10.
Though a car show has been a tradition on the last day of the festival, Thorson said this year the show was moved to Sunday, Aug. 7, as a separate event.
A carnival featuring rides for all ages will run throughout the fest's five days. Single-day unlimited ride wristbands can be purchased for $19 in advance at the village hall or Sports Hub or for $22 at the ticket booth during the festival.
Whether you love spectacular skyward spectacles or the rhythms of rock 'n' roll, the Glendale Heights Fest offers something for everyone.
"It's a truly family-oriented event," Thorson said.