Music of the era will mark Vernon Hills Park District's 50th anniversary

Nostalgic musical acts will be featured Saturday night during the upcoming Vernon Hills Days to mark Vernon Hills Park District's 50th anniversary.

Ronnie Rice, the Cryan Shames and The Buckinghams will be on stage July 15 at Century Park for the village's biggest event of the year.

"We wanted to kind of throw a party for the village and the park district," said Executive Director Jeff Fougerousse. "This was something we earmarked a year ago."

The village traditionally sponsors the long-running event formerly known as Summer Celebration, which runs from July 13-16. Officials recently approved an $83,950 contract with Archer Enterprises Inc. for professional services.

However, that doesn't include an estimated $20,000 for the bands on the park district's special night.

"We were trying to get bands from 50 years ago to coincide with the anniversary," Fougerousse said. All have Chicago-area roots, he added.

Rice began as a solo performer in Evanston and in the late 1960s joined the New Colony Six, singing lead vocals on their hits including "I Will Always Think About You" and "Things I'd Like to Say."

The Cryan' Shames were a garage rock band from Hinsdale. Their most successful song was a cover of The Searchers' "Sugar and Spice."

The Buckinghams played across the U.S., including on "The Ed Sullivan Show," and had hits with "Kind of a Drag," "Don't You Care," "Susan," "Hey Baby They're Playing Our Song."

The lineup also includes Six Speed Tranny, a Lake County oldies cover band on Thursday; country artists Bryan White and James Barker Band on Friday; and Mike & Joe, a modern rock cover band, to wrap up on Sunday.

A carnival, fireworks and a variety of kids' events are part of the festivities.

Beginning in 1958, the village provided limited recreational opportunities for residents. In response to a Mundelein Park District intent to annex the New Century Town, including Hawthorn Mall, voters in 1973 overwhelming approved forming the Vernon Hills Park District.

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