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updated: 8/27/2014 12:04 PM

End the season at Lake in the Hills' Summer Sunset Festival

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  • Livia LaMarca, 10, of Pingree Grove gets the audience to clap along as she performs in the talent contest during last year's Lake in the Hills Summer Sunset Festival.

       Livia LaMarca, 10, of Pingree Grove gets the audience to clap along as she performs in the talent contest during last year's Lake in the Hills Summer Sunset Festival.
    Rick West | Staff Photographer, 2013

  • John Lelonek, 8, of Lake in the Hills blows bubbles at the Kids' Korner at a previous Summer Sunset Festival.

       John Lelonek, 8, of Lake in the Hills blows bubbles at the Kids' Korner at a previous Summer Sunset Festival.
    Rick West | Staff Photographer, 2013

  • Kids of all ages sure to enjoy a scream on the carnival rides at the Lake in the Hills Summer Sunset Festival.

       Kids of all ages sure to enjoy a scream on the carnival rides at the Lake in the Hills Summer Sunset Festival.
    Brian Hill | Staff Photographer, 2011

  • The Melon' Propellin' Contest, in which teams compete to launch watermelons as far as they can, is a popular event at Lake in the Hills Summer Sunset Festival.

       The Melon' Propellin' Contest, in which teams compete to launch watermelons as far as they can, is a popular event at Lake in the Hills Summer Sunset Festival.
    GEORGE LECLAIRE | Staff Photographer ¬

  • A horseshoe competition is one of the offerings at Summer Sunset Festival.

       A horseshoe competition is one of the offerings at Summer Sunset Festival.
    GEORGE LECLAIRE | Staff Photographer ¬

 
 

An expanded wine tasting, a combined business and craft showcase and additional unlimited carnival ride times are some of the changes to Lake in the Hills' Summer Sunset Festival.

The 14th annual festival, which runs Friday, Aug. 29 through Sunday, Aug. 31 at Sunset Park, 5200 Miller Road, Lake in the Hills, is "a great way to end the summer," according to co-chairman Denise Wasserman.

"I love how this is an event that locals look forward to," Wasserman said.

The wine tasting, which was previously held on Friday only, will be held from 4 to 10:30 p.m. Friday, Saturday and Sunday, with five wineries offering tastings and sales -- by the glass, bottle or case. A $10 entry fee per person entitles wine tasters to a souvenir wineglass, wristband/hand stamp, and five tasting tickets. Additional tickets will be available for $1 each.

New carnival wristband hours have been added to allow festivalgoers to ride more at night, Wasserman said. A $25 unlimited ride wristband can be purchased and used from 5 to 9 p.m. Saturday and Sunday nights. The $20 unlimited ride wristband is good for 3 to 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday and noon to 4 p.m. Sunday.

Wasserman said some of the festival's more popular offerings include the car show, the We've Got Talent show and kids' activities.

"Our hugely successful Kids' Korner offers free arts and crafts and activities for school-age kids," Wasserman said.

Live music on the main stage also helps draw the crowds, Wasserman said, as she explained the process by which the festival committee chooses bands.

"Tons of people send us emails and links to YouTube videos," Wasserman said. "In January, we had five people listen and take notes, then we narrowed it down to about 10-12 groups, then narrowed it down to the groups we chose for the fest."

In the end, she said, they chose a good mix of returning favorites and new selections.

"Our Saturday headliner (HiFi Superstar) is a local band," she said.

Other bands include The Class of '68 and Petty Cash on Friday, Sonic 7 on Saturday and ABBA Salute on Sunday, along with crowd pleaser Libido Funk Circus closing out the festival.

"(Libido Funk Circus) is a big fan favorite, and they are going to play through the fireworks show on Sunday night," Wasserman said.

One of the festival's more unique offerings is the Melon Propellin' contest, in which teams compete to fling a 10-12 pound watermelon as far as they can in hopes of winning the $100 prize. This year, Wasserman said there are three or four teams registered, and activities have been planned between catapults to help keep the audience entertained.

"Between launches, there's some down time," as teams get ready to launch their melons, she explained.

Other festival offerings include bags and horseshoe competitions, food and beer sales, a parade and the Sunset 5K run.

Wasserman's favorite aspect of the festival?

"I love that the Summer Sunset Festival draws people from all over -- it is something that gives Lake in the Hills a bit of identity."

Admission is free. For details, see summersunsetfest.com.

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