With the school year about to begin, Wood Dale is giving festival-goers another chance to take a spin on a carnival ride, watch fireworks and see bands perform cover versions of familiar songs.
The city's annual Prairie Fest opens Thursday, Aug. 8, and runs through Sunday, Aug. 11, in Town Square at the intersection of Wood Dale Road and Commercial Street.
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What: Wood Dale Prairie Fest
When: 6 to 11 p.m. Thursday and Friday, Aug. 8 and 9; 1 to 11 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 10, and 1 to 10 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 11
Where: Town Square, Commercial Street and Wood Dale Road
Cost: Free admission
Mayor Nunzio Pulice said the four-day festival serves as "the last hurrah" for many families before students return to school.
"It's just a nice community event," said Pulice, who works with several aldermen and city officials to plan the festival. "People like to come out, hang out and listen to the music."
More than 10,000 people are expected to attend the festival, according to Pulice. "We draw from all over," he said.
To ensure all those people like what they hear, organizers have booked six tribute bands, including acts that play songs by AC/DC and Creedence Clearwater Revival. Several cover bands also will cater to various musical tastes.
This year's festival has two bands on Friday, five bands on Saturday and four on Sunday. Downpour and Slippery When Wet are scheduled to take the stage Friday. Saturday's lineup is In Session, The Chauffeurs, Heartache Tonight, Journey Unauthorized and Wedding Banned. Sunday's finale features Rubber, Fortunate Sons, Generation and Marrakesh Express.
Instead of having a deejay on Thursday's opening night, the festival is going to have performances by local bands.
Thursday also will be "resident appreciation night," officials said. Wood Dale residents who show their identification will get $4 food vouchers and a discount when they buy single-day carnival ride passes.
As for the carnival, it runs throughout the four-day festival. Mega passes good for the entire weekend will be $50.
Meanwhile, 10 vendors will serve a diverse menu of food, from ribs by Sweet Baby Ray's to hot dogs and burgers from Salt Creek Golf Club, to Hawaiian shaved ice from The Tidal Crave. The other vendors are Ice Lolly Cafe, Ashley Food's, Tacqueria Azteca, Bob's Awesome Lemon Shake Ups, White Cottage, Yanni's Grill and Pasta Vinno's.
Pulice said one of the festival highlights will be at 9:30 p.m. Saturday when the city sponsors a 15-minute fireworks display.
Other opportunities for fun at the festival include bingo, children's games and a Sunday night trivia contest.
Admission to Prairie Fest and parking is free, but there are fees for food and some activities.
To see a schedule of events, visit wooddale.com.