Rock 'N' Run the Runway lands June 29 at Chicago Executive Airport

  • You can run on a normally active taxiway and runway at Rock 'N' Run the Runway, set for Saturday, June 29, at Chicago Executive Airport in Wheeling.

    You can run on a normally active taxiway and runway at Rock 'N' Run the Runway, set for Saturday, June 29, at Chicago Executive Airport in Wheeling. Daily Herald File Photo

  • Wheeling native Haley Reinhart will perform before and after the fireworks at Saturday's Rock 'N' Run the Runway at Chicago Executive Airport.

    Wheeling native Haley Reinhart will perform before and after the fireworks at Saturday's Rock 'N' Run the Runway at Chicago Executive Airport. Associated Press/Jeff Haynes

 
By Jennifer Shea
Daily Herald correspondent
Updated 6/27/2019 10:55 AM

Summer takes off Saturday, June 29, at Wheeling's fifth annual Rock 'N' Run the Runway event.

Food trucks, balloon artists, face painters and musicians will converge on the Chicago Executive Airport for a day of summer festivities.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

The party begins at 8 a.m. with a 5K run and one-mile walk, and ends with fireworks at 9:15 p.m., followed by live music. In between, there will be attractions for children -- such as a kiddie train -- and adults alike. Food truck vendors include Chicago Culinary Kitchen, Grill Chasers, Happy Lobster, Kate & Jan Hotdogs, My Funnel Truck, Perk 'n Pickle, The Tamale Spaceship, Wok 'n Roll, Cupcakes for Courage and Swirl Cafe.

Gates open at 5 p.m. for Rock the Runway. Gone Country will perform from 6 to 7:30 p.m., and Wheeling native Haley Reinhart takes the stage at 8:15 p.m.

"The unique setting of the airport runways makes this a different fireworks event than any other surrounding community," Wheeling Executive Coordinator Lisa Leonteos said. "Coupled with good food and music, it will be a great event for all ages."

Leonteos said the event was a collaboration between Prospect Heights and Wheeling. The airport will remain open, with the runways for the event shut down.

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"As co-owners of the airport, it felt like an appropriate location to hold the event," she said.

At least 300 people have signed up for the 5K run and 1-mile walk. Registration is $35 in advance and $40 on the day of the event. Participants can register online at www.raceentry.com/run-the-runway-at-cea-pwk/race-information.

The race begins near the aircraft hangars then veers off onto various taxiways, and ultimately uses a large portion of the main airport runway. There will be water stations at the 1- and 2-mile points.

"It is a great opportunity to see the airport as the pilots do," Chicago Executive Airport Administrative Assistant Elizabeth Colht said. "It is not every day that you can say that you were able to run and walk on normally active taxiways and runways.

"Also, this is one of the flattest surfaces runners could be running on, and many people each year are able to set a personal best."

For its part, Rock 'N' Run the Runway typically draws about 4,000 to 5,000 people. Admission is free. Leonteos said the event hasn't changed much over the years, but the crowd size varies according to the musical acts.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Rock 'N' Run the Runway has come a long way since it launched as a singular running event. All told, the day will showcase the airport's fun side to locals.

"We have a lot of pride in being a part of the Wheeling and Prospect Heights community, so we're always excited for people to experience a unique, local asset like the airport," Colht said.

Chicago Executive Airport is at 1080 S. Milwaukee Ave., Wheeling. For details about the day's events, including parking information, go to www.rocknruntherunway.com.

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