Bike the Gem 2021-08-07 037
Local News

60422 party a ‘once-in-a-lifetime event’ to shine light on Flossmoor’s charms

Cyclists embark on Bike the Gem in 2021. The annual 13.1-mile ride will be the first event Flossmoor’s 60422 party on June 4. (Chronicle file photo)

 

The June 4 party will turn the spotlight on all things Flossmoor.

The convergence between the date, 06/04/22, and Flossmoor’s zip code, 60422, is rare enough that Tom Dobrez, president of Flossmoor’s Future, feels comfortable billing it as a “once-in-a-lifetime” event.

The organization and its partners are planning what they believe will be a celebration worthy of the description.

“The concept is very similar to Hidden Gem,” Dobrez said. “We’re going to shine a light on all that is great about Flossmoor. It’ll be a special day. We hope to see everybody in the village out there.”

Dobrez presented the early plan to the Flossmoor Board of Trustees in January, and asked the village to support the event. During and following that meeting, organizers consulted with village officials and citizen committees to refine the plan.

The main change since then has been a relocation of the festivities.

Originally, planners envisioned Leavitt Park just west of downtown Flossmoor as the location. But the park’s low areas flood easily, so the event was moved to Flossmoor Park, which has hosted festivals in the past.

Bike the Gem
The event actually will begin off-site with the Bike the Gem ride starting at 11:30 a.m. The third annual ride follows the course of the Hidden Gem Half Marathon.

In previous years, it was held in mid-summer, but Dobrez said the move to the beginning of summer would help bookend the season with the ride near Memorial Day and the race just after Labor Day.

This year, there will be a new feature, the addition of a shorter ride for younger cyclists.

“The first ride will be 13.1 miles. The second ride is going to be 13.1 blocks,” Dobrez said. “It will be an opportunity for our younger citizens to do the Gem and have the thrill of crossing the finish line.”

Both rides start at Infant Jesus of Prague school, with riders gathering in the parking lot at the corner of Flossmoor Road and Douglas Avenue. Cyclists should show up about 11 a.m. The rides will start at 11:30 a.m.

The ride is free, although organizers ask all participants to register. Donations can be made, which will help support Flossmoor Future’s events, including Bike the Gem, the Hidden Gem Half Marathon and the 60422 party.

As the ride ends on Sterling Avenue near the Flossmoor Public Library, cyclists can head through the tunnel under the railroad tracks and join the party in the park, which officially begins at 1 p.m.

Music, art, fun and food
When visitors arrive at the park they will be greeted by the sounds of DJ Tony Fields of The Conservatory, who also will serve as emcee for the event.

At 1:30 p.m. village officials will welcome guests, and at 2 p.m. the first band will appear, a soul group called Motown Soul Revue.

At 4 p.m. the sounds shift to The Lotus Kings, a Santana tribute band.

At 6:30 p.m. Steely Dan tribute band Deacon Blue will take the stage.

There will be food by Flossmoor Station Restaurant and Brewery and Dunnings Market plus several food trucks on site, with menus ranging from vegan to barbecue to Mexican food, plus sweets for dessert.

There will be activities for all ages throughout the day, including:

  • A whiffle ball home run derby sponsored by Flossmoor Baseball and Softball.
  • A walking tour of Flossmoor’s public sculptures sponsored by the Public Art Commission.
  • Campground activities for kids sponsored by the Homewood-Flossmoor Park District.
  • A “meet your neighbors” booth sponsored by the Community Relations Committee, which will include opportunities to sign up for neighborhood social media and email groups.
  • A shopping tent featuring Flossmoor Business Association members.
  • A 60422 merchandise tent offering T-shirts, hats and other branded items.
  • Organizers are looking for volunteers to help ensure guests can find their way around. Volunteers will work shifts of a couple hours at most so they can still enjoy most of the event, Dobrez said.

“If you want to be an ambassador for Flossmoor we could use your help,” he said.

Paying the bills
The village agreed to provide $20,000 in funding plus some in-kind services, Dobrez said. That will cover about 30% of the event’s costs.

The rest will be covered by Flossmoor’s Future, sponsorships, VIP ticket sales, merchandise sales and beer sales.

So far, two of the three bands have a sponsor. Kluger Furs is sponsoring Motown Soul Revue, and Cutrara & Co. is sponsoring Deacon Blue. Additional sponsors are welcome and can sign up online.

The event is free, but VIP tickets will be available for $85. Mostly of the ticket price will be a donation to Flossmoor’s Future, but VIP guests will receive a special commemorative T-shirt, two drinks and be able to watch the bands perform from the comfort of their own tent, which will come with a private bathroom.

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