The Lake Villa Days community festival will celebrate its 80th anniversary this year with the usual traditions, including local firefighters battling with water, food, live music and a friendly atmosphere.
The festival will be in Lehmann Park, off Cedar Avenue in downtown Lake Villa, starting Thursday at 6 p.m. and ending Sunday at 10 p.m. Lake Villa Fire Department Capt. Brock Millsop said the festival is solely run by the fire department and has been since the 1930s.
"Just knowing that the event has been held there at the same site for 80 years, it's phenomenal," Millsop said.
There is no cost for admission for the festival. Features include bingo every night, carnival rides and games, and the water fights, which involve two teams fighting to push a barrel with the water pressure from fire hoses.
The first competition, which will pit local firefighters against firefighters from other stations, will start at 5 p.m. Saturday. Businesses can register their own water fight team for $50 starting on Sunday at 11 a.m. up until the deadline at noon when the games start.
Millsop said with the long history of the water fights at the festival, games can get quite competitive.
"Some people've been competing for 10 or 15 years," he said.
Millsop said both musical acts at the festival came from Lake Villa originally. Bella Cain will perform at 9 p.m. Friday, and Modern Day Romeos will perform at the same time Saturday.
All of the proceeds from the festival go to the purchase of new equipment for the Lake Villa Fire Department. Millsop said they would use some of the funds from this year's Lake Villa Days to buy specialized equipment for the new fire station they've been working to open on Route 59.
"The attraction is the entertainment, the small-town atmosphere and the rekindling old friendships," Millsop said. "It's about bringing the community together, without the high price of Six Flags."
For more information on the festival, call the Lake Villa Fire Department at (847) 356-2525.