Enjoy carnival rides and more along the river at South Elgin Riverfest Express

  • The South Elgin Riverfest Express festival includes popular carnival rides such as bumper cars.

    The South Elgin Riverfest Express festival includes popular carnival rides such as bumper cars. John Starks | Staff Photographer, 2018

  • Violet Steinberg, 4, plays a plastic horn that she just won on the midway at the South Elgin Riverfest Express. She was with her family from St. Charles.

    Violet Steinberg, 4, plays a plastic horn that she just won on the midway at the South Elgin Riverfest Express. She was with her family from St. Charles. John Starks | Staff Photographer, 2018

  • Riders enjoy the "Sky Rider" during South Elgin Riverfest Express.

    Riders enjoy the "Sky Rider" during South Elgin Riverfest Express. Daily Herald File Photo

 
By Ann Piccininni
Daily Herald correspondent
Updated 8/16/2019 6:32 AM

Ferris wheel riders at South Elgin's Riverfest Express festival will be treated to a special treat Saturday -- the sight of fireworks bursting across the night sky from their perch high above the Fox River's reflecting waters.

The festival starts Friday, Aug. 16, and goes through Sunday, Aug. 18, at Panton Mill Park and will feature carnival rides, live music, a craft show, a small business expo, food and beer tents and, in a departure from typical summer community fairs, also will offer trolley rides and model railroad displays, said Craig Pierce, village communications specialist. Fireworks are scheduled for 9:30 p.m. Saturday.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

"It is South Elgin's annual summer festival," said Pierce.

Coordinated by the village, the festival is presented through the cooperative efforts of local businesses, individuals and a volunteer special events committee. Admission is free.

"It started out as a celebration of the village's 100th birthday in 1997," said Pierce.

The event has attracted bigger crowds each year. This year's edition will feature several new food vendors.

"We have Rex Italian Foods, which is a deli from Norridge," said Pierce.

Also on the food vendor roster is a gourmet popcorn peddler from Galena, along with dishes from Salt Creek Barbecue and chicken fingers prepared by the Village Tavern.

An expanded concert schedule is on the menu this year, Pierce said, with three bands playing Friday, including headliner Lava Rock. Saturday's lineup starts at 1 p.m. and wraps up with a 9 p.m. show featuring Sixteen Candles. The music continues Sunday with four bands beginning at 1 p.m. and rolling through a 7 p.m. performance from Smokin' Gunz.

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A different batch of cars will be on display on each of the two days of a car show, which runs from 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

The carnival midway, with rides and games, will be open 5 to 11 p.m. Friday; 1 to 10:30 p.m. Saturday; and 1 to 9 p.m. Sunday.

The festival will host a craft show and business expo from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

Trolley rides will take adventurers through a two-and-a-half-mile journey, Pierce said.

"Vintage trolley rides through the woods and along the Fox River run about every 40 minutes for a small fee. It's kind of stepping back in time," he said.

He said the Fox Valley Trolley Museum will have a booth where visitors can spin the wheel for a chance to win a free trolley ride.

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