Fans gather to see New Kids on the Block added to 'Wahlk' of Fame at St. Charles Wahlburgers

  • Joey McIntyre signs his name and places a hand print in wet cement during the Wahlk of Fame Ceremony Saturday for New Kids on the Block at the Wahlburgers in St. Charles.

    Joey McIntyre signs his name and places a hand print in wet cement during the Wahlk of Fame Ceremony Saturday for New Kids on the Block at the Wahlburgers in St. Charles. Mark Black/Shaw Media

  • Donnie Wahlberg receives flowers from Jamie Rankin of Ohio as he greets fans before the Wahlk of Fame Ceremony Saturday for New Kids on the Block at the Wahlburgers in St. Charles.

    Donnie Wahlberg receives flowers from Jamie Rankin of Ohio as he greets fans before the Wahlk of Fame Ceremony Saturday for New Kids on the Block at the Wahlburgers in St. Charles. Mark Black/Shaw Media

  • St. Charles Mayor Lora Vitek introduces Donnie Wahlberg and the rest of the New Kids on the Block band during the Wahlk of Fame Ceremony Saturday at the Wahlburgers in St. Charles.

    St. Charles Mayor Lora Vitek introduces Donnie Wahlberg and the rest of the New Kids on the Block band during the Wahlk of Fame Ceremony Saturday at the Wahlburgers in St. Charles. Mark Black/Shaw Media

  • Danny Wood signs his name and places a hand print in wet cement during the Wahlk of Fame Ceremony Saturday for New Kids on the Block at the Wahlburgers in St. Charles.

    Danny Wood signs his name and places a hand print in wet cement during the Wahlk of Fame Ceremony Saturday for New Kids on the Block at the Wahlburgers in St. Charles. Mark Black/Shaw Media

  • Jordan Knight signs his name and places a hand print in wet cement during the Wahlk of Fame Ceremony Saturday for New Kids on the Block at the Wahlburgers in St. Charles.

    Jordan Knight signs his name and places a hand print in wet cement during the Wahlk of Fame Ceremony Saturday for New Kids on the Block at the Wahlburgers in St. Charles. Mark Black/Shaw Media

  • Jonathan Knight signs his name and places a hand print in wet cement during the Wahlk of Fame Ceremony Saturday for New Kids on the Block at the Wahlburgers in St. Charles.

    Jonathan Knight signs his name and places a hand print in wet cement during the Wahlk of Fame Ceremony Saturday for New Kids on the Block at the Wahlburgers in St. Charles. Mark Black/Shaw Media

  • A Wahlk of Fame block was imprinted with the hands of New Kids on the Block band members at the Wahlburgers in St. Charles Saturday.

    A Wahlk of Fame block was imprinted with the hands of New Kids on the Block band members at the Wahlburgers in St. Charles Saturday. Mark Black/Shaw Media

  • The New Kids on the Block Wahlk of Fame is prepared outside the Wahlburgers in St. Charles Saturday.

    The New Kids on the Block Wahlk of Fame is prepared outside the Wahlburgers in St. Charles Saturday. Mark Black/Shaw Media

  • St. Charles Mayor Lora Vitek introduces New Kids on the Block band members, from left, Donnie Wahlberg, Danny Wood, Jordan Knight, Jonathan Knight, Joey McIntyre during the Wahlk of Fame Ceremony Saturday at the Wahlburgers in St. Charles.

    St. Charles Mayor Lora Vitek introduces New Kids on the Block band members, from left, Donnie Wahlberg, Danny Wood, Jordan Knight, Jonathan Knight, Joey McIntyre during the Wahlk of Fame Ceremony Saturday at the Wahlburgers in St. Charles. Mark Black/Shaw Media

  • New Kids on the Block band members, from left, Jonathan Knight, Danny Wood, Donnie Wahlberg, Joey McIntyre and Jordan Knight pose for a photo in front of the Wahlk of Fame at the Wahlburgers in St. Charles Saturday.

    New Kids on the Block band members, from left, Jonathan Knight, Danny Wood, Donnie Wahlberg, Joey McIntyre and Jordan Knight pose for a photo in front of the Wahlk of Fame at the Wahlburgers in St. Charles Saturday. Mark Black/Shaw Media

  • Donnie Wahlberg signs his name and places a hand print in wet cement during the Wahlk of Fame Ceremony Saturday for New Kids on the Block at the Wahlburgers in St. Charles.

    Donnie Wahlberg signs his name and places a hand print in wet cement during the Wahlk of Fame Ceremony Saturday for New Kids on the Block at the Wahlburgers in St. Charles. Mark Black/Shaw Media

  • New Kids on the Block fans fill the parking lot outside the Wahlburgers in St. Charles Saturday for the Wahlk of Fame Ceremony.

    New Kids on the Block fans fill the parking lot outside the Wahlburgers in St. Charles Saturday for the Wahlk of Fame Ceremony. Mark Black/Shaw Media

  • A New Kids on the Block fan holds up dolls of the band as she waits see them during the Wahlk of Fame Ceremony Saturday at the Wahlburgers in St. Charles.

    A New Kids on the Block fan holds up dolls of the band as she waits see them during the Wahlk of Fame Ceremony Saturday at the Wahlburgers in St. Charles. Mark Black/Shaw Media

  • New Kids on the Block fans wait for the Wahlk of Fame Ceremony for the band members to start Saturday at the Wahlburgers in St. Charles.

    New Kids on the Block fans wait for the Wahlk of Fame Ceremony for the band members to start Saturday at the Wahlburgers in St. Charles. Mark Black/Shaw Media

  • New Kids on the Block band members, from left, Donnie Wahlberg, Danny Wood, Jordan Knight, Jonathan Knight, Joey McIntyre take the stage for the Wahlk of Fame Ceremony Saturday at the Wahlburgers in St. Charles.

    New Kids on the Block band members, from left, Donnie Wahlberg, Danny Wood, Jordan Knight, Jonathan Knight, Joey McIntyre take the stage for the Wahlk of Fame Ceremony Saturday at the Wahlburgers in St. Charles. Mark Black/Shaw Media

  • Donnie Wahlberg speaks to the fans gathered outside Wahlburgers restaurant Saturday for the Wahlk of Fame Ceremony for New Kids on the Block in St. Charles.

    Donnie Wahlberg speaks to the fans gathered outside Wahlburgers restaurant Saturday for the Wahlk of Fame Ceremony for New Kids on the Block in St. Charles. Mark Black/Shaw Media

 
 
Updated 6/18/2022 1:53 PM

Members of New Kids on the Block were at the St. Charles Wahlburgers Saturday morning to press their hands into wet cement and become the first inductees of the eatery's "Wahlk" of Fame as hundreds of fans cheered them on.

Donnie Wahlberg, who co-owns the burger franchise with his brothers, film star Mark Wahlberg and chef Paul Wahlberg, told the assembly of fans they were blown away by the support the restaurant has received since opening during the pandemic.

 

Wahlberg said it was his dream that the St. Charles location would be a place centrally located in the country for their fans to hang out.

"This is the blockhead clubhouse, the unofficial hangout for blockheads across the country," Donnie Wahlberg declared at the ceremony, using a nickname for fans of the popular late-'80s and '90s-era boy band, whose other members are brothers Jonathan and Jordan Knight, Joey McIntyre and Danny Wood.

One by one, each man pressed his hands into wet cement to the roar of the crowd cheering, clapping and recording the proceedings with their cellphones.

The Saturday morning ceremony coincided with the group's performances as co-headliners with Salt-N-Pepa, En Vogue and Rick Astley at the All-State Arena Friday and Saturday nights.

St. Charles Mayor Lora Vitek introduced the ceremony around 11 a.m. By that point many fans had been standing in the parking lot for hours to get a good spot, including Nicole Nardulli of New Lenox, a fan since the '90s, who had arrived at 6:50 a.m.

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Further back from the action stood Nancy Seale and Christy Ankeny who got there around 9 a.m. Seale, of Florida, and Ankeny, of Virginia Beach, Virginia met in the military and connected over their shared NKOTB fandom.

"Donnie's message is always about kindness, spreading love, trying to bring the fan kingdom together," Seale said. "It's one happy family, most of the time."

The pair had planned the trip to Chicago to see the band perform for months and said watching the ceremony outside Wahlbergers was like a cherry on top.

"This was our pilgrimage to the mecca of Wahlberg," Seale joked.

Considered to be the first modern boy band, New Kids on the Block formed in 1984, disbanded in 1994 before reuniting in 2007. St. Charles isn't the only place they've been honored; The group received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2014.

Wahlberg told the crowd after the ceremony Saturday the band would give tickets out to anyone who didn't have them already.

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