In the weeks since record flooding forced the cancellation of a popular Algonquin festival, organizers say they have been working vigorously to put on a new event centered around raising money for flood victims in their community.
Live entertainment, food and beverage vendors, contests and family-friendly activities are among the highlights of this weekend's River Relief Benefit at Riverfront Park and along North Harrison Street. The event is intended to serve as a scaled-back version of Algonquin Founders' Days, which was called off days before it was slated to begin in July, festival board President Dan Barton said.
"It's like planning a full festival within a month," he said. "It's been pretty crazy."
The benefit, which takes place Friday to Sunday, Sept. 8-10, won't include a handful of Founders' Days favorites, Barton said. The carnival, parade, fireworks show and cardboard boat regatta have been left off the schedule to avoid overburdening the village's resources.
However, he said, the event will still feature an outdoor market on Saturday, a 5K walk and run on Sunday, and daily performances by entertainers such as Hi Infidelity, Lynch Mob, and Mr. Capone's Bootlegger Band.
Above all else, Barton said, he hopes one element of the festival will serve as its biggest draw: It's all for a good cause.
A portion of the festival proceeds, as well as all the money collected through raffles and tip jar donations, will go to a local chapter of a disaster relief organization that has been assisting flood victims, he said.
The "Fight the Flood" fundraising campaign has already raised more than $1,000 on Crowdrise. Barton said his goal is to add another $30,000 to that number by the end of the event.
The benefit will take place from 4 to 11 p.m. Friday; 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. Saturday; and 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday. The schedule also includes a bake-off, a bike decorating contest, a bags tournament, a dog and cat show, and a family Olympics competition.
Admission for attendees ages 11 and older costs $5 each day, though the price rises to $10 starting at 7 p.m. on Friday. Kids ages 10 and younger are admitted free.