Elgin's expanded slate of summer fun starts Saturday with Sk8 Jam

Elgin is bringing the festive back to Festival Park this summer, starting with Saturday's Sk8 Jam event.

After being criticized by residents for not holding as many events as surrounding communities has added three new concert events, another fireworks display and more movies in the park to its summer lineup.

Amanda Harris, Elgin's director of cultural arts and special events, said officials listened to the feedback and wanted to provide new events that were "uniquely Elgin."

"Elgin does things that are multifaceted, that are really immersive," she said. "The live music from events like Sk8 Jam is going to be amazing, but we want to be who we are. So there's going to be way more components."

For Saturday's Sk8 Jam, the city enlisted local business Syndicate Skatepark to design and build a temporary 19-piece skatepark in half of Festival Park. Live graffiti art walls will help play up the skate vibe along with four musical acts, including headliner Nora Van Elken.

The free event, which starts at 5 p.m., will have 14 food trucks and food and drink vendors whose offerings will include beer and hard seltzer.

New summer concert series "east side" and "west side" souvenir cups with lights that sync to the music will be available for $10. For $20, you can get a cup with one draft pour and a sticker that gives you $1 off refills all night. The cup will be reusable for other summer events that will use similar stickers.

Beyond Sk8 Jam, the city has brought live music back to its Fourth of July celebration, with a 90s throwback theme before the fireworks. It will offer its second annual End of Summer Bash concert in August.

And in September, the city will honor Hispanic Heritage Month with Canta Con Orgullo, featuring fireworks, music and art activities.

Each event will have something "extra and unique," Harris said. Like a "lite brite" wall for the Fourth of July and Elgin's first synchronous drone show for the End of Summer Bash.

The city also added a pair of movies in the park aimed more toward older kids and adults, "Mean Girls" and "Jurassic World," to the existing lineup of family-friendly films. Harris said people will be encouraged to dress up in pink for "Mean Girls" and inflatable dinosaur costumes for "Jurassic World."

"One of the things that make our movies in the parks for kids a little different is that we have characters come, we have popcorn, just all these little touches that make Elgin unique in what we do," Harris said. "We want to continue that thread through all our programming. Elgin is a weird place. Elgin takes chances, and they say yes to things."

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