Art & Garden 2016-06-11 302
Local News

Thousands attended Homewood’s 2016 events, commission reports

If you live in Homewood, or are a visitor, you know one thing for sure: There is never a dull moment in Home Sweet Homewood, thanks to the village’s Community Relations Commission.

In its annual report, presented at the Feb. 28 village board meeting, the commission reported that it had produced 10 major events throughout 2016 and co-sponsored two events.

  Homewood’s Community Relations Committee reports 
  that the annual Fourth of July Parade was the most 
  popular of the village’s events in 2016.

 

If you live in Homewood, or are a visitor, you know one thing for sure: There is never a dull moment in Home Sweet Homewood, thanks to the village’s Community Relations Commission.

  A young family creates sidewalk 
  art together during Chalk of the 
  Town, part of Homewood’s 
  annual Art & Garden Fair.

  (Photos by Eric Crump/H-F 
  Chronicle)

In its annual report, presented at the Feb. 28 village board meeting, the commission reported that it had produced 10 major events throughout 2016 and co-sponsored two events.

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Zach Thomas, director of community marketing and events, said the commission had a busy and successful year.

“Without the time, energy and enthusiasm of its members, none of these events would be possible,” he said. Thomas is the staff liaison to the 13-member commission.

  Daisy Scouts from Troop 65113 
  pose in front of their award-
  winning daisy scarecrow at 
  Homewood Fall Fest. 

 

Topping the list of high event attendance in 2016 was the Fourth of July parade, which attracts thousands of people from across the region and has become the premier parade in the south suburban area. According to the annual report, the strong reputation of the parade has placed Homewood in local and regional newspapers, various radio spots and the Southland Convention and Visitors Bureau seasonal publication.

Tied for second place on the attendance chart,  with approximately 4,000 persons attending each event, were the annual two-day Homewood Art and Garden street fair, co-sponsored with the Homewood Business Association in June, and the Homewood Fall Fest and Chili Cook Off in September.

  Youngsters watch dancers 
  perform scenes from “The 
  Nutcracker” in the window 
  of the American Dance 
  Center, one of the highlights 
  of the annual Holiday Lights 
  Festival in downtown 
  Homewood.

 

The Art and Garden Street Fair was filled with unique art, community art and live entertainment. New for the 2016 event was a craft beer tasting with five regional beer vendors. Due to its success, the tasting event will be held again in 2017.

The Fall Fest and Chili Cook Off continues to grow in popularity. In conjunction with the fest, the village’s Beautification Committee held the third annual Scarecrow Contest. Twenty scarecrows were submitted for judging and after the fest were displayed throughout downtown Homewood. Eleven amateur chefs participated in the cook off, with proceeds going to the Homewood Science Center.

  Youngsters enjoy competing 
  in the ice cream eating contest 
  during Homewood’s Giant 
  Block Party in August. The 
  event was dented but not 
  daunted by heavy morning 
  rains. Most activities were 
  able to run as planned.

 

December’s Holiday Lights program is also becoming a favorite event for many residents. A estimated 2,500 persons attended Holiday Lights. The event included the lighting of the Christmas tree in Irwin Park, a winter market, trolley rides, brass band concert, live reindeer, Christmas tree sales sponsored by the Cancer Support Center, an ice sculpture demonstration, antique car parade, caroling and a visit by Santa.

Moving up quickly on the attendance chart is the annual Chocolate Fest held at the H-F Park District Auditorium in February. The 2016 attendance was estimated at 1,200. The fest showcased local and national chocolatiers selling their popular chocolate confections. Also featured were live demonstrations from professional dessert chefs from La Voute.

Fifteen chocolate vendors and three not-for-profits participated. Nine recipes were entered in the bake-off contest from local service groups and village advisory groups.  The South Suburban Humane Society was beneficiary of the bake-off donations.

Other events held throughout 2016 included: The Rail Fest, a one-day event held in May with families from Chicago, the western suburbs and Indiana participating; Movies in Our Parks, held in July in partnership with the Flossmoor Community Relations Commission and Homewood and Flossmoor Libraries; and National Night Out in August, sponsored by the Homewood Police Department to strengthen the neighborhood spirit, police community partnership and crime prevention awareness.

The Giant Block Party is held annually in August to celebrate Homewood’s neighborhoods. In 2016, however, the morning and early afternoon programming was cancelled due to rain storms. The rain returned in the late afternoon and early evening, but a few hearty fest goers stayed and enjoyed food and performances from Eric Lambert and Final Say.

Also, in December, the Noon Year’s Eve Celebration was held in the park district Auditorium, featuring the Chicago Boyz Acrobatic Team. About 500 persons attended and enjoyed hamburgers donated by White Castle. The event was showcased on Chicago’s CBS Channel 2 News.

The commission reported that the various events were promoted through social media, local cable TV, local and regional newspapers and the Chicago Southland Convention and Visitors Bureau.

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