Fall Fest 2011, a three-day, family-friendly festival and marketplace is back for a third year Sept. 16-18, bigger and better than ever.
The fest, hosted by the Des Plaines Chamber of Commerce, the Des Plaines History Center, and the Des Plaines Park District takes place at Lake Park, 2200 Lee St. Hours are 6-11 p.m. Friday, Sept. 16; noon-11 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 17 and noon-8 p.m. Sunday.
Free admission, free parking, and free concerts are just the beginning: A full carnival with rides, games and a kid's midway; delicious food and beverages, including beer and a European-style Wine Garden; a KidZone! with crafts, pony rides, entertainment, and activities; adult Baggo tournaments and 50/50 raffles; two custom car shows; an open-air marketplace; a fishing derby; Country Fair Tent; pie eating and feats of skill contests for all ages.
The band IPOP kicks off the free live entertainment lineup at 6:30 p.m. Friday. "This is a great cover band that plays something for everyone, from Blondie and Rihanna to Big N Rich," said Linda Traina, superintendent of recreation for the park district. "We wanted to start off the weekend with a group that would create a hands-in-the-air party atmosphere," she said.
"They are followed by Hairbanger's Ball with their versions of hits from Poison, Gun 'n Roses, Bon Jovi, Motley Crue, and Def Leppard."
Saturday, from noon-4 p.m. there are unlimited carnival rides for $20 per person. Entertainment begins at 12:30 p.m. with the Sol Azteca Dancers. At 2 p.m., Shades of a Light Year will perform alternative and experimental rock. At 4 p.m. Fall Fest presents the high-powered, 12-piece show band, BloozeBrothers.
At 6:30 p.m. HiFi Superstar will play crunchy, modern pop-rock tunes. Don't miss ARRA at 9 p.m., back for a return engagement, playing the best classic rock from Journey, Styx, REO Speedwagon, Boston, Foreigner, and more.
Unlimited carnival rides for $20 per person are also offered on Sunday from noon-4 p.m. At noon, The Artistry in Motion Dancers will perform a selection of award-winning choreography. Chicago based singer/songwriter Dan Tedesco, follows at 1:30 p.m. and at 3:45 p.m. Libido Funk Circus will play disco, Motown magic, and dance and rock hits from the '60s to today.
The Billboard chart-topping band 7th Heaven will be back for a second year to close out the Fest's live entertainment from 6:15-8 p.m. Saturday
The Chicagoland Classic Car Club hosts two custom car shows open to classic, antique, American muscle and hot rods, from noon-4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Same-day registration for the trophy competition begins at 10 a.m. and is $20 per entry. Admission is free to the public.
"The free entertainment is not the only draw to Fall Fest 2011," said Barbara Ryan, chamber of commerce director. "What festival would be complete without food?"
Patrons can feast on delicacies prepared by Giuseppe's La Cantina, Ye Olde Town Inn, The Malt Shoppe, Miss Cindy's Concessions and Tasty Vending. Fest goers can sample pizza, hot dogs, hamburgers, ice cream creations, brats, fries, and traditional festival foods.
"The open-air marketplace is always one of our most popular attractions," continued Ryan. "We invite everyone to browse through the many booths that feature handmade craft items, jewelry, clothing, toys, and home décor; plus, we have a tarot card reader.
Kids and families are the focus of Fall Fest each year. KidZone! is specially designed area for kids of all ages with pony rides, a hay maze, face painting, animal shows, walk around characters, entertainment that includes a stilt walker, and kids' fall craft projects. KidZone! is open on Saturday and Sunday from noon-6 p.m.
Children can also compete in the Friends of the Park Lake Opeka Fishing Derby from noon-3 p.m. Saturday. Prizes are awarded, in two age categories, for the most fish caught and the largest fish caught. Fishing poles and bait will be provided.
On Saturday at 1 p.m. the Izaak Walton League presents the Animals for Awareness show, with live animals and lots of hands-on fun.
KidZone! will also feature story telling, a balloon artist, music, a puppet show, a martial arts demonstration, a marionette variety show, and our favorite clowns, Jewels and Kiwi.
On Saturday and Sunday, the Des Plaines History Center Country Fair Tent will have costumed interpreters demonstrating early American crafts and trades; a special presentation by Owl Dancer Mark Pfeiffer all about the North American fur trade in the 17th and 18th centuries; and a hands-on activity and display about Des Plaines 100 years ago. Handmade crafts from the History Center craft group will be available for purchase.
Ryan said they have had a great deal of cooperation from Public Works, the Police and Fire Departments, the City of Des Plaines, and the Emergency Management Agency to make this a safe event.
"We could not put on a festival this grand, however, without our sponsors Millennium Bank, Chiro One Wellness, The Optimist Club of Des Plaines, Rivers Casino, and W-T Engineering," Ryan added.
A complete schedule of events is at www.fallfestdesplaines.com Call (847) 391-5700.