Rebecca Tybor looks forward to the Glendale Heights Fest every year if for no other reason than to see the smiles on her grandchildren's faces as they exit the carnival rides.
But besides the jubilant grins of children, there will be much to look forward to as this year the festival celebrates its 30th anniversary. The event begins Wednesday, July 10, and runs through Sunday, July 14, at Camera Park, 101 E. Fullerton Ave., Glendale Heights.
If you goWhat: Glendale Heights Fest
When: 6 to 11 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday, July 10 and 11; 6 p.m. to midnight Friday, July 12; 11 a.m. to midnight Saturday, July 13; 3 to 11 p.m. Sunday, July 14
Where: Camera Park, 101 E. Fullerton Ave., Glendale Heights
Cost: Free admission; $25 for carnival wristbands
Tybor, a member of the Founders' Day Committee in charge of organizing the event, said one thing that continues to draw crowds is the fireworks show. Wednesday and Sunday nights will feature fireworks shows, with Sunday's show being the popular date for viewers.
"There will be thousands at Sunday's show," Tybor said. "You can't even move; it's packed. I've been told that we have better fireworks than downtown Chicago. And we're definitely the best in the suburbs."
The fest also will feature a carnival, food and drink vendors, and live performances each night.
The carnival runs throughout the festival. Wristbands for unlimited rides are available for $25 at the festival ticket booths. The carnival will be similar to what it has been in past years, but it will feature a new ride.
"Freak Out" is a monstrous metal pendulum that swings riders 127 degrees into the air as if they were dangling from a grandfather clock, all while spinning at dizzying rates as high as 15 rotations per minute. Tybor said the new attraction is definitely for the thrill-seeking festival goers.
Additionally, this year's Glendale Heights Fest will feature country night on Friday and International Day on Saturday.
Country night will once again play host to mechanical bull rides. Family in Faith Christian Church in Glendale Heights will run the mechanical bull and all proceeds will go toward building a permanent food pantry. Bull rides are $5 for adults and $3 for kids.
The Family in Faith food pantry has provided more than 900,000 pounds of food to families in need in the past nine years through a mobile food truck provided by the Northern Illinois Food Bank. Family in Faith has been working for the past three years to raise money to construct its own permanent food pantry. The group has raised $62,192 and has to raise an estimated $78,000 to fund the pantry. Site coordinator Don Summers is hopeful that construction can begin as early as next spring.
"We'll start whenever we get enough funds," Summers said. "Glendale Heights is all behind us, the mayor and the village board. They provide the bull and we run it for them."
International Day, which debuted at last year's fest, will return this year.
"Ethnic groups can come out and bring their food and dress in their native costumes and do some song and dance," said Marge Linnane, also a Founders' Day Committee member.
The Glendale Heights Idol Competition will highlight Saturday's events. Individuals, duets and singing groups will compete for the crown of Glendale Heights Idol. Tybor said the competition is popular because, unlike other idol contests in the area, the Glendale Heights Idol Competition doesn't require participants to be from Glendale Heights.
But visitors looking for musical entertainment won't have to settle for amateur performers. Live music is always a big draw and this year's headliners include Forget Hannah, Back Country Roads, Infinity and 7th Heaven.
"A lot of people make this an annual visit," Tybor said. "We look forward to having this every year. Our rides are safe, they go through strict tests from the fire department. And there's something going on every day, which is pretty awesome."