Low interest prompts cancellation of runs to benefit Wauconda's Phil's Beach

  • Charitable races that would have benefited the redevelopment of Phil's Beach in Wauconda have been canceled due to low interest.

      Charitable races that would have benefited the redevelopment of Phil's Beach in Wauconda have been canceled due to low interest. Steve Lundy | Staff Photographer 2016

  • The Bluesmobile drove along Phil's Beach in Wauconda for the film "The Blues Brothers." This amateur photo was taken during filming in 1979.

    The Bluesmobile drove along Phil's Beach in Wauconda for the film "The Blues Brothers." This amateur photo was taken during filming in 1979. Courtesy of Mary Beth Jachec

  • Phils Beach

    Graphic: Phils Beach (click image to open)

 
 
Updated 6/28/2018 4:34 PM

A community running event that would have raised money Sunday for the Wauconda Park District's upcoming redevelopment of Phil's Beach has been canceled due to low interest.

Only seven people had registered for Red, White and Blues, far fewer than the 100 or so who typically sign up for events like this, Park Director Nancy Burton said.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Organizers are disappointed.

"We do not like to cancel any of our programs or events," Burton said. "We want to offer activities (residents) want to participate in and benefit the community."

Red, White and Blues was to feature a 4-mile race, a 2-mile race and a 1-mile kids challenge. Registration fees would have gone toward the $3 million Phil's Beach project.

Payments will be refunded.

Canceling wasn't an easy decision, Burton said. The biggest factor was the potential financial loss for the district.

"When looking at our basic costs versus the number of runners we had preregistered, we didn't want to take a chance on the event losing money," Burton said.

Additionally, organizers didn't want to waste community resources such as the police officers and Community Emergency Response Team volunteers who would have assisted.

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Burton was puzzled by the unusually low public interest.

"Perhaps more marketing was needed, since this was a new event," she said. "It could also be that people are going to be out of town for the holiday weekend or unsure of their plans and didn't want to commit."

Officials hope to hold the races in 2019.

"We know this is an event that people can get behind," Burton said.

On the western shore of Bangs Lake, Phil's Beach was a privately owned and operated tourist destination for decades, but it closed to the public in 1990.

The park district bought the land in 2016, and officials intend to reopen the site. A picnic pavilion, a wading area and a boardwalk are among the planned amenities.

Work could start this fall and finish next spring.

The "Blues" in the canceled event's name reflected the beach's appearance in the 1980 film "The Blues Brothers." In a key scene, Jake and Elwood Blues drive the Bluesmobile on the beach to promote their concert at the fictitious Palace Hotel Ballroom.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

The race event was to feature blues-themed giveaways, blues music was to play at the finish line and "Blues Brothers" costumes were encouraged.

Burton insisted the event's cancellation won't jeopardize the beach project.

"This event would have generated a small amount of revenue compared to the overall budget," she said.

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