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posted: 7/2/2012 11:30 AM

Taste of Lombard benefits community causes

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  • Taste of Lombard visitors will find plenty to chow down on at the five-day festival, which begins at 5 p.m. Tuesday, July 3, and ends at 11 p.m. Saturday, July 7.

       Taste of Lombard visitors will find plenty to chow down on at the five-day festival, which begins at 5 p.m. Tuesday, July 3, and ends at 11 p.m. Saturday, July 7.
    Paul Michna | Staff Photographer, JULY 2008

  • The main stage at Taste of Lombard will host 17 bands over the festival's five days.

      The main stage at Taste of Lombard will host 17 bands over the festival's five days.
    Daily Herald file photo

  • The 30th annual Taste of Lombard will offer food from 23 vendors, including local restaurants Giagnorio's Pizza, Ellyn's and Salt Creek BBQ.

       The 30th annual Taste of Lombard will offer food from 23 vendors, including local restaurants Giagnorio's Pizza, Ellyn's and Salt Creek BBQ.
    Paul Michna | Staff Photographer, JULY 2008

  • A carnival is part of the fun at the Taste of Lombard, which also offers music, family entertainment, 15 art and craft vendors and 23 food vendors.

       A carnival is part of the fun at the Taste of Lombard, which also offers music, family entertainment, 15 art and craft vendors and 23 food vendors.
    Mark Black | Staff Photographer, JUNE 2011

  • Taste of Lombard's Friday night headliners will help raise funds for the family of 5-year-old Tim Grobart of Lombard, who received a heart transplant June 20. A guitar autographed by George Lynch of the band Lynch Mob will be auctioned, and family and friends of the Grobarts will be selling split-the-pot raffle tickets.

      Taste of Lombard's Friday night headliners will help raise funds for the family of 5-year-old Tim Grobart of Lombard, who received a heart transplant June 20. A guitar autographed by George Lynch of the band Lynch Mob will be auctioned, and family and friends of the Grobarts will be selling split-the-pot raffle tickets.
    Courtesy of Jeff Grobart

 
 

Taste of Lombard visitors know to expect variety from the five-day festival, now in its 30th year.

This year's Taste offers a carnival, fireworks set to music, 23 food vendors, 15 art and craft vendors and the first Lucky Boys Confusion show since the May death of guitarist Joe Sell. Festivities start Tuesday, July 3, and continue through Saturday, July 7, in Madison Meadow Park.

But what many taste attendees don't know is the extent of the event's charitable impact, said Jackie West, president of the Lombard Jaycees, which runs the event. About $30,000 goes back into Lombard-area community groups as a result of the Taste each year.

"That's what a lot of people don't realize about the Taste of Lombard," West said.

Instead of seeking volunteer help to staff the festival and doling out proceeds to community groups later, the Jaycees pay dozens of people who work the event on behalf of their own organizations such as scouting groups, soccer teams or church clubs. Their "salaries" total about $30,000 a year, and all the money is used by their own community groups, West said.

"We pay them to work our fest, so that's how the money goes back into the community."

Another community cause taken up by this year's Taste planners is supporting the family of 5-year-old Tim Grobart of Lombard, who received a heart transplant June 20. Friday night's headlining musical act will help raise funds for his family's medical expenses, West said.

The band Lynch Mob, featuring guitarist George Lynch of the '80s heavy metal band Dokken, will autograph a guitar to be auctioned at the event, with proceeds benefiting Tim's medical expenses as he recovers from his transplant, which his father, Jeff Grobart, told the Daily Herald went "as well as we could hope." Lynch Mob performs on the main stage at 9 p.m. Friday, July 6.

"(Tim's) family and friends will also be at the fest walking around selling raffle tickets to do a split the pot and raise even more money," West said.

The first Lucky Boys Confusion performance since the death of the band's guitarist, Joe Sell of Naperville, is scheduled to be the Taste's grand finale, beginning at 9 p.m. Saturday, July 7.

"We had them last year and they have a really huge following," West said about the band. "I think it's going to be pretty phenomenal."

The musical entertainment planned for Wednesday, July 4, also is expected to draw crowds, West said.

After a flag presentation at noon, the winners of battle of the bands contests at Glenbard East and Willowbrook high schools will take the stage. Willowbrook winner The Pedestrians plays at 1 p.m., followed by Glenbard East champion Sheer Mutilation at 2:30 p.m. American Idol 2012 Hollywood Week contestant Kelsey Montanez of Chicago will perform with her band at 4 p.m. before judging the final round of Lombard Idol at 5:30 p.m.

While she's experienced the harshness of American Idol judges firsthand, Montanez, 20, said she'll be more encouraging and look for contestants' passion for performing to help her choose a winner.

"I want them to shine while their family and friends are going to be there," Montanez said.

Held at the Lombard Park District's Madison Meadow at Madison Street and Ahrens Avenue, the Taste of Lombard runs 5 to 11 p.m. Tuesday, July 3; noon to 11 p.m. Wednesday, July 4; 5 to 11 p.m. Thursday and Friday, July 5 and 6; and noon to 11 p.m. Saturday, July 7.

"It's just better for us to be at this park -- we're in the neighborhood," West said about the event's location. "It gives you the real neighborhood feeling as opposed to being on asphalt."

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