The 53rd annual Algonquin Founders' Days will be at a new, larger location at Algonquin Lakes Park, and to take advantage of the extra space, new activities have been added.
Sue Bazdor, the festival's secretary, said organizers added a Stand-Up Paddleboard Challenge, an expanded Kids Korner, more carnival rides and a Family Olympics competition.
The festival kicks off at 4 p.m. Thursday, July 25, with a full day of activities Friday, Saturday and Sunday, ending with the Fireworks Spectacular at Riverfront Park 9 p.m. Sunday.
Over the course of the four-day festival, locals can enjoy their favorites, including the dog and cat show, musical entertainment at the Founders' Main Stage, a petting zoo, the parade, the pig roast, cardboard boat regatta, a bags tournament, the social garden, Sunday's Founders' Runs and the bake-off competition.
Get ready to rock because for the third year, the festival will host the regional Battle of the Bands competition at 12:30 p.m. Sunday. Other popular acts performing at the Main Stage include The Lounge Puppets, Mike and Joe, and 7th heaven.
At the social garden, where beer is served, Advocate Good Shepherd Hospital will offer a Designated Driver program to make sure everyone gets home safely. Drivers must be of legal drinking age to participate and receive a free water or pop with wristband.
Put on your apron and grab your whisk to participate in the annual bake-off. Anyone is welcome to participate -- just bring your baked good and recipe.
The juniors competition for kids 12 and younger has been a big success, Bazdor said.
"We've got some really great bakers in the area, so it's always a close competition," Bazdor said.
On Saturday, the first Stand-Up Paddleboard Competition will take place at Riverfront Park Gazebo at 3 p.m., with a check-in at 2:30 p.m. Participation costs $20.
The competition will be geared toward first-timers, assured Bazdor. Instructors from Alpine Accessories will assist first-timers on the ins and outs of paddle boarding, prior to the competition.
Bazdor said festival organizers expanded the Kids Korner as part of their family-themed Sunday lineup.
In addition to the yearly lineup of kids crafts, face painters, caricature artists, and a baby crawling contest will be added to activities for the kids.
Also on Sunday, Dave Rudin, a pastor for the Lifeline Christian Church in Algonquin, will be heading up the Family Olympics at 1:30 p.m.
"Sunday is the family day and we're a family-oriented church," Rudin said.
When he moved to Crystal Lake to be a pastor at the new church three years ago, he knew he wanted to be more involved in the community and being a part of Founders' Days seemed ideal.
The Family Olympics is a free event for families, and will include activities like a water balloon toss, shooting water guns, a three-legged race and minute-to-win-it competitions.
Organizers are creating events that will take away people's competitive or athletic advantage, Rudin said.
"We want to put a fun little twist on everything, so it's fair for everybody," he said.
There will also be opening and closing ceremonies, and they will be silly to keep the mood light, he said.
The goal, Rudin said, is "to help families have fun together."
For details, visit www.algonquinfoundersdays.com/.