Founders' Days organizers expect better festival this year
It's the end of July, which means that in Algonquin, its biggest celebration is about to begin.
Algonquin will be hosting the 51st annual Algonquin Founders' Days starting today and continuing through Sunday at Towne Park in the downtown area.
Anywhere between 25,000 to 35,000 people are expected to attend during the three days, said Founders' Days Committee President Jeff Krajewski. He expects the weather to cooperate this year, unlike last year.
"We had rain that Friday, and then flooding during the next two days," Krajewski said of last year's festivities, severely affecting last year's attendance.
This year, though, he hopes more people are intrigued by new entertainment acts and continuing traditions. This year, Founders' Days plays host to a regional Illinois Battle of the Bands competition. Five bands will be competing for a spot on the main stage at the Illinois State Fair and the Illinois State Battle of the Bands competition in August.
"We were working with the Battle of the Bands people trying to set something up, and then we found out we were selected," Krajewski said.
Pirates over 40, Mike & Joe, Sixteen Candles, American English, 25 or 6 to 4, and The Lounge Puppets will all be playing the main stage of the festival as part of the musical entertainment.
Other highlights include carnival rides, bags tournament, beer garden, Taste of Founders and Saturday parade and Sunday fireworks. The parade will be led by Grand Marshall Kelly Elizabeth Frank, Founders' Favorite Dr. Tim Stirneman and Founders' Honoree Jerry Glogowski.
The parade starts at 11 a.m. Saturday on Eastgate Drive and Route 62. The fireworks show starts at 9 p.m. Sunday from Riverfront Park.
There will also be the Algonquin Founders' Run on Sunday, which consists of four races for all age groups. Registration is still available for the four races up through race day, which include the mile run, 5K walk, 5K and 10K runs. Race day registration opens at 7 a.m. on Sunday at Algonquin Middle School, 520 Longwood Drive, with the first race starting at 8 a.m.
Children with special needs and their families can ride carnival rides free from 4-6 p.m. today, July 28.
Kristin Lange, administrative manager, said there are between 350 and 400 volunteers, most of them residents. The strong number of resident volunteers, Lange added, shows the dedication of the village to its long-standing celebration.
"It's about the community coming together and putting on the event for the community," Lange said.
"There's a sense of camaraderie and a chance to meet neighbors," Krajewski said. "I've seen the festival grow over the years and we didn't want it to be just another beer and music festival. We wanted to maintain its family focus."
For details, visit algonquinfoundersdays.com.
If you goWhat: 51st annual Algonquin Founders' Days
When: 4-10 p.m. today, 9 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. Friday, 11 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. Saturday, 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday, July 28-31
Where: Towne Park and Riverfront Park, along Route 62 and Main Street, Algonquin
Cost: Gate fees $4 adult and $2 children on Friday and Saturday; $2 adult and $1 children on Sunday; carnival wristbands $20 during select hours; $4 tickets for beer garden
Details: (847) 658-5340; algonquinfoundersdays.com