Island Lake officials cancel annual Lakefest celebration
Breaking with annual tradition, Island Lake won't hold a community festival this summer.
Lakefest, which normally is held around Independence Day at Water Tower Park and has featured a carnival, music, fireworks and other activities, has been scratched from the community calendar.
Will Ziegler, the trustee who oversees the village board's parks, recreation and education committee, said the event won't be held this year because it's "too close to the Fourth of July."
"We are seeing more and more families on vacation around the Fourth of July holiday," Ziegler said. "The times are changing; thus, we must change as well."
Ziegler announced the cancellation during Thursday's village board meeting and elaborated on the village's plans Friday in an interview with the Daily Herald.
Trustee Mark Beeson acknowledged attendance at last year's Lakefest and other community events was lower than usual. He blamed poor promotional efforts by organizers.
Even though the festival has been scrubbed, an Independence Day parade and a picnic on July 4 and a fireworks show on July 6 still are planned, Ziegler said.
A separate carnival is planned for late June.
Additionally, Ziegler's committee is planning a family Oktoberfest for Oct. 5.
The changes don't mean Lakefest is gone for good.
"We just want to go a different route this year," Ziegler said.
Lakefest's cancellation was announced at the same meeting officials revealed Island Lake's revenue from taxes, permit fees and other sources is predicted to be about $2 million below expectations for this fiscal year.
Ziegler and other officials insisted the cash shortage isn't behind Lakefest's cancellation. Funding for Lakefest historically has come from community donations, and the necessary labor has, for the most part, been done by volunteers, Beeson said.
The projected revenue shortfall represents about 20 percent of the roughly $8.9 million officials expected to collect.
To balance the budget, officials are reducing spending by delaying or scaling back projects such as a planned expansion of a water treatment plant and water main improvements, Mayor Charles Amrich said.
No layoffs are planned, Amrich said.