Frontier Days, named tops by Daily Herald readers, returns with top music acts

  • Not only can you get corn to enjoy at a leisurely pace, you can also enter a corn-eating contest featuring corn from Goebbert's Farm in South Barrington starting at 3:15 p.m. Saturday, July 6.

    Not only can you get corn to enjoy at a leisurely pace, you can also enter a corn-eating contest featuring corn from Goebbert's Farm in South Barrington starting at 3:15 p.m. Saturday, July 6. Daily Herald file photo

 
By Eileen O. Daday
Daily Herald correspondent
Updated 7/3/2019 10:16 AM

It's been chosen the Best Festival in the Northwest suburbs by Daily Herald readers -- and it returns this week.

Frontier Days in Arlington Heights, which runs July 3-7, features a packed lineup of popular bands, restaurant specialties, an arts and crafts fair, family entertainment, and games and competitions each day for all ages.

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Co-chairs Jim Glueckert and Pat Peery know they walk a delicate line between offering the same attractions that generations of families come back for year after year and adding new features that keep the festival relevant.

Consider some of the new amenities debuting this year: a wine tasting event from 5-7 p.m. Sunday, July 7, and a corn-eating contest featuring corn from Goebbert's Farm in South Barrington starting at 3:15 p.m. Saturday, July 6.

There is a free lunch for veterans right after the July Fourth parade, and new children's shows, including a puppet show and performance by a rope warrior.

"This is one of the premier events that Arlington Heights has, put on all by volunteers," says Glueckert, who formerly was the director of parks and recreation for the Arlington Heights Park District.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 
The dogs may change but the Frisbee contest is a staple of Frontier Days.
The dogs may change but the Frisbee contest is a staple of Frontier Days. - Daily Herald file photo

"It's a great way to give back to the community."

Glueckert and Peery are back for a second term as co-chairs. They ran it together back in the late 1980s, too, but putting on Frontier Days never gets old, the pair says.

"It's great fun watching all the family activity," Peery says. "Just seeing the friends and neighbors coming together at the festival makes it all worthwhile."

One of the things families come for are the interactive competitions. Each day a different challenge awaits them, from soccer, volleyball, Baggo and Spikeball tournaments, to water fights, hockey skills and dog Frisbee.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

On Sunday, the Stampede returns with registration beginning at 7:30 a.m. The annual race draws more than 1,000 participants, who can choose from a 5K run, 10K run, 5K walk, wheelchair 5K or 10K and a quarter-mile kids' dash. The races feature chip timing, T-shirts and USATF certified routes.

Younger children will enjoy the live entertainment on the Family Fun Stage, where they can meet Dave's Traveling World of Reptiles, the Arlington Heights Police Department's K-9 unit, BMX performers, Ben's Bubble Show and more.

Organizers have added more food vendors this year. Visitors to the Food Tent will find booths featuring Sweet Baby Ray's ribs, Taco Factory, Garibaldi's pizza, Chick-fil-A and sweet corn and kettle corn from Goebbert's Farm.

The festival itself also runs food booths, offering traditional burgers, brats, pulled pork sandwiches, Italian beef and Italian sausage sandwiches. Desserts range from funnel cakes and pies, to blizzards and ice cream.

"This is the most food we've every had," Peery says.

Light up the stage

This year's lineup of live bands on the main stage drew a lot of interest when event brochures were handed out along the Memorial Day parade route. Fans seemed to like the return of some popular bands as they make plans for their July Fourth holiday weekend.

"We always try to get the best five days of quality entertainment that we can," Glueckert says, "and work within our budget."

The carnival midway opens at 5 p.m. Wednesday, July 3.
The carnival midway opens at 5 p.m. Wednesday, July 3. - Daily Herald file photo

The stage opens Wednesday night with the popular cover band, 7th heaven. They are one of the most requested bands in the Midwest, playing hits from the '80s through today.

On Thursday, July 4, Scott Stapp takes the stage. He is familiar to Creed fans as a founding member and lead vocalist. Look for him to perform some of the band's classic hits, such as "My Own Prison," "Torn," "What's This Life For" and "One," as well as "Human Clay" and "With Arms Wide Open."

War, the classic rock band from the '70s, is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. Look for the band to play hits from its 1973 bestselling album "The World is a Ghetto," along with more of its huge hit songs when they take the stage at 8 p.m. Friday, July 5.

Glueckert is thrilled the fest is bringing back Bret Michaels, who headlined Frontier Days in 2013. He formerly played with the band Poison, which sold more than 40 million records worldwide, but he also is known to fans as a reality TV star. Michaels takes the main stage at 8 p.m. Saturday.

"He was hugely popular when we had him here back in 2013," Glueckert says, "and we've been trying to work out bringing him back ever since."

The festival ends with its traditional closer, American English. The Beatles tribute band takes fans from the group's early hits -- "She Loves You," "Twist and Shout" and "I Want to Hold Your Hand" -- to Sgt. Pepper and the Magical Mystery Tour.

"They remain as popular as ever," Glueckert says. "It's just a great way to mellow out at the end of the festival with Beatles' favorites."

Thousands camp out to await the Main Stage acts each night of the fest.
Thousands camp out to await the Main Stage acts each night of the fest. - Daily Herald file photo
Army of volunteers

While Glueckert and Peery codirect the festival, they work hand-in-hand with a team of more than 20 committee heads and 250 red shirt volunteers who serve as marshals on-site during the festival run.

The committee works year-round planning all the details for the festival, and once this year's event ends they will begin planning next year's celebration.

"It just amazes me that we have so many dedicated volunteers year after year," Peery says. "They are all community-oriented, very kind and giving. We're all here for the same purpose, which is to give the community a family festival where they can come and have fun."

Of course, she adds, they are always looking for more volunteers, and even have spots open for this year's festival. Visit www.Frontierdays.org and look for the volunteer tab across the top.

Schedule of events

July 3

Festival hours: 5 p.m. to midnight

5 p.m. Festival and carnival open (carnival bargain rides all night)

5-7:30 p.m. Beer service in main food tent

5 p.m. Pony rides and petting zoo (pony rides, $5)

5-6:30 p.m. Hockey skills on the tennis court (no roller blades)

5:30-8 p.m. Dog Frisbee Catch & Fetch in Meyer Baseball outfield. Registration at 5:30 p.m.; competition at 6:15 p.m. Dogs must be leashed. Info: mgrassi@ahpd.org.

7:45 p.m. Scholarship Awards, on Main Stage.

8 p.m. Main Stage, 7th heaven. Original music, plus top hits from the 80s to today.

9:45-11:45 p.m. Exit 147, Frontier Stage. Classic rock, metal and pop.

Midnight. Park closes for the day.

July 4

Festival hours,: Noon-11 p.m.

10 a.m. Fourth of July Parade, "Hats Off to America!" from Oakton/Dunton to Miner to Recreation Park. No reserving parade route viewing spots before 7 p.m. on July 3. And no tarps!

Noon. Festival and carnival open. Bargain carnival rides noon-5 p.m.

Noon-7:30 p.m. Beer service in Food Tent

Noon. Pony rides and petting zoo (pony rides, $5)

Noon-3 p.m. Free lunch for veterans at the Festival Faire in the main Food Tent.

Noon-4 p.m. Bingo at the Frontier Stage. Card sales at noon; games at 12:30 p.m. Must be 18.

12:30-1 p.m. Jesse White Tumblers at the tennis courts.

1-3 p.m. Frisbee Golf and skills, at the Hickory soccer field

1-4 p.m. Face painting.

1:30-2:30 p.m. Mike Mauthe, juggling, magic and balloon sculptures. At the Family Fun Stage.

2:30-3:30 p.m. Pie-eating contest at Family Fun Stage. Ages 10-adult. Register at 2 p.m. contestants will be grouped into age-appropriate categories.

3:30-4:15 p.m. Mark Nichols puppet show, Family Fun Stage

4:30-5:15 p.m. Rope Warrior David Fisher, Family Fun Stage

5:15-5:45 p.m. Rib eating at Family Fun Stage. Age groups 12-17 and 18+. Check in at 5 p.m.

5:30-7:30 p.m. The Lid Flippers Band, Frontier Stage. R&R, jazz-influenced Americana rock.

8 p.m. Main Stage, Scott Stapp of Creed. Debut album "My Own Prison" in 1997 sold over 6 million copies.

9:45-11 p.m. Big Dog Mercer Band, Frontier Stage. Blues Hall of Famer.

11 p.m. Park closes for the day.

July 5

Festival hours: 5 p.m.-midnight

4:30-7 p.m. Baggo Tournament on Hickory soccer field. Registration closes 5 p.m. June 28. Info: email nwirth@ahpd.org.

5 p.m. Fest and carnival open (carnival bargain rides all night)

5-6:30 p.m. Baseball/softball skills, at Hickory Street baseball field. Pitching, hitting, base-running contests for ages 6-12.

5-7:30 p.m. Beer service in main Food Tent.

5 p.m. Pony rides and petting zoo (pony rides, $5)

6-7:45 p.m. Jagged Little Pill Band, on Frontier Stage. Alanis Morissette tribute band.

8 p.m. Main Stage, War. In their 50th year, WAR has 17 gold, platinum or multiplatinum albums and has sold over 50 million units.

9:45-11:45 p.m. My Metal Heart, Frontier Stage. Metal band.

Midnight. Park closes for the day.

July 6

Festival hours: Noon to midnight

8:30 a.m.-4 p.m. 3v3 soccer tournament; Miner School fields host recreation and open divisions. Registration closed June 25.

10 a.m.-7 p.m. Arts & Crafts Marketplace and Nonprofit Fair/Showcase.

10 a.m.-1 p.m. Citizens with Disabilities Day. Must register by July 2 at frontierdays.org. Check in near Recreation Pool entrance. Carnival rides, 10-11:15 a.m.; lunch and entertainment 11 a.m.-1 p.m.

10:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Teen Volleyball Tournament, at Meyer baseball field. Ages 12-18, coed teams. Must register by July 5 at frontierdays.org. Info: Morris, (224) 202-0789.

Noon. Festival and carnival open (carnival bargain rides, noon-5 p.m.)

Noon-7:30 p.m. Beer service in main Food Tent.

Noon-11:30 p.m. Beer and wine service in Beer Garden.

Noon. Pony rides and petting zoo (pony rides, $5)

Noon-1 p.m. Aqua challenge, Recreation Pool. Inflatable obstacle course. For ages 6 and older, must be able to swim in 4.5 feet of water without assistance. Register by July 2.

Noon-1 p.m. Miss Jaimie's Farm, Family Fun Stage.

1-4 p.m. Face painting.

1-2 p.m. Decorated cake contest. Theme: Fourth of July. Bring finished cake to Family Fun Area by 1 p.m. Judging at 1:30 p.m., based on decoration and taste.

2-3 p.m. Meet the K-9 unit of the AHPD, Family Fun Stage.

2-4 p.m. Ultimate Frisbee, Hickory Street fields. 4 players per team; register at 2 p.m., games at 2:30 p.m.

3:15-3:45 p.m. Corn eating contest, at Family Fun Area. Ages groups 12-17 and 18+.

4-5 p.m. Dave's Traveling World of Reptiles, at Family Fun Stage.

5:30-7:15 p.m. Sofa Kings Band, Frontier Stage. Rock.

8 p.m. Main Stage, Bret Michaels. Rock icon of the glam metal band, Poison.

9:45-11:45 p.m. ARRA, on Frontier Stage. Classic rock covers.

Midnight. Park closes for the day.

July 7

Festival hours: Noon-10 p.m.

7:30 a.m. Frontier Days Stampede Run, Recreation Park. 5K or 10K run with chip timing, 5K walk and kids dash. Online entry at frontierdaysstampederun.itsyourrace.com/register/. Race day registration at 6:15 a.m.

9 a.m.-5 p.m. 3v3 Soccer Tournament, Miner School fields. Registration closed on June 25. Info: Matt Healy, mhealy@ahpd.org.

10 a.m.-6 p.m. Arts & Crafts Marketplace and Nonprofit Fair/Showcase.

10 a.m.-noon. Pet Parade, in Recreation Park. Register at 10 a.m.; parade at 10:30 a.m. Dogs must be leashed and out of the park by noon.

Noon. Festival and carnival opens (carnival bargain rides noon-5 p.m.)

Noon. Pony rides and petting zoo (pony rides, $5)

Noon-2 p.m. Pottery fun, at Family Fun Stage.

Noon-3 p.m. Decorated mirror competition. Bring mirror by noon, judging at 2 p.m.

Noon-4 p.m. Adult Volleyball Tournament, at Meyer baseball field. Ages 19+, coed teams of 6-10 players. Registration at 11 a.m.; games at noon. Info: Morris, (224) 202-0789.

Noon-4 p.m. Bingo at Frontier Stage. Card sales at noon; games at 12:30 p.m. Must be 18 to play.

Noon-7:30 p.m. Beer service in main Food Tent.

Noon-9:30 p.m. Beer and wine service in Beer Garden.

1-4 p.m. Face painting.

1:30-2:30 p.m. Exotic Animal Encounter, at Family Fun Stage. Tropical birds, chinchilla, tarantulas, armadillos and more.

2-4 p.m. Spikeball Tournament, Hickory Street field. Age-appropriate groups. Register at sports@frontierdays.org.

2-4:30 p.m. Water Fights, Haddow and Miner streets. Register at 1 p.m.; fights start at 2 p.m.

2:30-3 p.m. Chicken Wing Eating Contest, at Family Fun Area. Check-in at 2:15 p.m. Groups are 12-17 and 18+.

3:15-3:45 p.m. Buttons The Clown, Family Fun Stage.

4-5 p.m. David's Dinosaur Show, Family Fun Area. Authentic fossils and bones!

5-7 p.m. Wine Tasting at Frontier Stage. $5 fee; music.

7:30 p.m. Main Stage, American English. Covering all the Beatles classics.

10 p.m. Festival closes for 2019.

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