Three municipalities and a township will combine efforts this summer to put on the first Northwest Fourth-Fest, a five-day Fourth of July celebration at the Sears Centre Arena in Hoffman Estates.
The leaders of Elgin, Hanover Park, Hanover Township and Hoffman Estates announced Wednesday they have committed to partnering with each other to put on the regional event, complete with fireworks, carnival rides, food, drinks and live entertainment.
Ben Gibbs, general manager for the Sears Centre Arena, said he hopes at least 25,000 people attend the event on July 4 alone. The festival runs from Wednesday, July 4, to Sunday, July 8.
Gibbs believes residents from all the participating municipalities and other Northwest suburbs will be drawn to the event by the 6,000 free parking spaces, free admission, and access to indoor plumbing and air conditioning inside the arena, although all the events will take place outside the venue.
Other highlights of the festival include a "sandbar" where people can walk in sand and enjoy a full service bar, and performances by American English and Survivor, among other bands and local acts, on the village green just across the street from the Sears Centre.
The leaders said there are still formalities to be ironed out, but they all have council support to move forward with it.
Hanover Township Supervisor Brian McGuire said the township is contributing $5,000 to the event, plus manpower. Hanover Park Mayor Rodney Craig said his village will be spending $10,000. Elgin Mayor David Kaptain and Hoffman Estates Mayor William McLeod said their communities will both contribute $15,000, along with local vendors and entertainment.
The majority of the contributions will fund fireworks, which are scheduled to begin at 9:30 p.m. July 4. There also will be a light show against the facade of the arena to coordinate with the fireworks.
"They can use bigger shells here," McLeod said. "There'll be more spectacular fireworks."
McLeod said a decision was made a while back to have the Hoffman Estates Fourth of July event at the Sears Centre because the former location outside village hall didn't provide good accommodations for all the people that turned out each year.
"It grew to the point that I felt it really outgrew that site," he said. The village's parade, however, will still be held on Hassell Road this year.
Because Elgin had been without fireworks for a few years and Hanover Park has never had a show, McLeod reached out to them to see if they wanted to collaborate on a joint fireworks display, hoping that in the hard economic times they could still provide Fourth of July entertainment for their residents.
"This will be a first for us," Craig said. "I think the residents will be excited about that."
Kaptain said he is excited for the opportunity because every year his residents ask when the fireworks are coming back.
"It's not going to be perfect, we know that. It's a first-year event," he said. "Next year, we'll see what the communities think, was it everything they expected it was going to be."
McGuire said the event is a good example of what can be accomplished when communities work together.
"I think there's a lot of talk about intergovernmental cooperation, but this is actually intergovernmental cooperation in action," he said. "What this becomes going down the road, the sky's really the limit as you put the resources of all the local units of government together. But just the fact that you can get four bodies to the table and get everything worked out says a lot about the cooperation."
More information on the festival will be available at www.NorthwestFourthFest.com when the website launches Friday.Copyright © 2014 Paddock Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.