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updated: 4/14/2014 5:57 PM

Des Plaines plans beer garden, ice cream socials with aldermen, in 2014

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Des Plaines' special events commission has released its list of upcoming events, which for the first time includes a beer garden festival and ice cream socials throughout town.

The beer garden, part of a "harvest-microbrew festival," is being planned for a still-to-be-determined Saturday inside a greenhouse at Pesche's, 170 S. River Road. Details are still being worked out, according to Katie Merkle, the commission's chair.

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"Sunday Scoop" ice cream socials will be held at local parks on June 8, June 15, July 20 and August 10. City aldermen have been asked to scoop out the ice cream to their constituents at each social, which will give residents a chance to discuss issues with their elected officials in an informal setting, Merkle said.

This year's Summer Fling is being reduced from three days to two since attendance numbers have shown to decline on Sundays, while the carnival portion of the festival is being discontinued altogether because of low turnout and price point, organizers said.

The city is contracting with Chicago-based Special Events Management Inc. to run the festival, scheduled for June 27-28 on Ellinwood Street from Lee to Pearson streets. Last week, the city council approved a $9,000 contract with the company in lieu of an entrance fee.

The city has outsourced the festival the past three years, but Mayor Matt Bogusz said the volunteer special events commission members plan to "learn and develop some muscle memory" about the event that could eventually lead to them running it on their own.

"They started the year with a much broader (event) list, and I think the intention is for 2014 to do a bunch of things really well versus too many things really poorly," Bogusz said at a recent council meeting. "One of the learning opportunities that was identified was the Summer Fling."

The fest will include a food truck competition featuring about eight trucks. Attendees will be able to vote on which one is their favorite.

On June 27, the Summer Fling will feature entertainment from Kashmir, a Led Zeppelin tribute band, and The Lounge Puppets, which plays music from 1980s hair bands. The next day, two country bands are expected to perform.

Other events planned in Des Plaines this year include the Pooch, Pet and Pedal Parade on May 17 at the Prairie Lakes Community Center; a First Lady's event at Cafe la Cave in September; and Cool Cruisers and Hot Dogs at Rand Red Hots on Sept. 28.

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