Hometown Fest 2011 took over Community Park in downtown Palatine and drew more than 40,000, according to organizers.
The crowd came out to enjoy the carnival, parade, fireworks, entertainment and food.
The Palatine Jaycees event began Thursday June 30 and ended on the 4th of July.
“All in all, I have to say the fest was a great success; given the heat on Saturday the turnout was relatively low that day, but people still came out to enjoy a great time,” said Kristin Bureta, Hometown
Fest co-chair and Palatine Jaycee.
There was only one real setback at the event, which many people might not have even realized.
“There was a 10-hour power outage in the food tents on Saturday, which we found out about just after 10:30 a.m.,” Bureta said.
Bureta said Commonwealth Edison (ComEd) came out almost
immediately and found a dime-sized hole in one of the underground power lines.
As crews worked to restore power, the Palatine Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) came to the rescue by offering the use of two generators.
“Tom Smith, the coordinator of Palatine CERT offered the generators immediately; this really highlights how local community services can work together,” Bureta said.
The generators were able to get power back to the food tents, but since many of them were cooking with gas, Bureta said the main issue was keeping food cold.
Ben and Jerry’s was allowed to use the Jaycees ice truck to save their ice cream until the power came back.
“ComEd was able to repair the break in the underground cable on Wood Street in the grass next to the Merry-Go-Round; we were lucky it wasn’t underneath a ride so they couldn’t get to it,” Bureta said.
Power was finally restored around 8:30 p.m.
Bureta said all the entertainment acts were well attended, as was the carnival over the five days.
At the parade, Bureta said people were up to seven feet deep. The parade had more than 80 entries this year.
“It was a very smooth parade; up until two days prior we had groups still trying to get into it,” Bureta said.
Bureta said residents can watch a rebroadcast of the parade on Channel 6 by checking their local Comcast listings.
The fireworks on Sunday also were a big hit, bringing more than 20,000 people into Community Park and the surrounding areas.
“When the finale was done, I remember looking into the crowd and getting the chills and thinking ‘we did it’; all these people come out in droves and truly enjoyed it,” Bureta said.
Family Day on Monday included bouncy houses, water balloon tosses, three-legged races, a crawling contest for babies and songs and dances for kids.
“I know the Itsy Bitsy Spider performance was a very big hit,” Bureta said.
Residents may be unaware that the Jaycees give back to the community with funds raised each year by the Hometown Fest.
A total of $25,000 was donated from last year's event to a number of social service organizations that serve Palatine residents, in addition to 12 local families.
The organizations who received part of a $15,000 donation included Little City Foundation, District 15 Special Olympics, The Bridge Youth & Family Services, American Legion Hall, Clearbrook, Immanuel Lutheran School, Palatine Rugby Club, Omni Youth Services, Journeys from Pads to Hope, CEDA (Northwest Self Help Center) Society for Preservation of Human Dignity (PHD), Countryside, Yellow Ribbon Support Group, and the Palatine Police Department.
Two families were presented with grants, included in that amount, on Thursday at the Special Needs Carnival.
The Palatine Jaycees also donated $10,000 last December to ten Palatine families experiencing financial hardships. Each family received a $500 shopping spree at Walmart and a check for $500 to help with bills.
“With our Community Donation, we adopted ten families by reaching out to local social service agencies, and asked them to pick out who
would truly benefit from the money,” Bureta said.
The Jaycees require that those who ask for funds write a letter explaining what the money will be used for.
There were roughly 175 volunteers working over the five day event.
“Over the entire fest, there were likely 3,000 volunteer hours logged between all of us,” Bureta said.
The overall turnout was more than 40,000 people, and Bureta said she is very satisfied with how Hometown Fest 2011 went.
“I would just like to thank the Palatine residents for making Hometown Fest a huge success, without them there is no reason to
keep this going,” Bureta said. “When I see the smiles on their faces, it makes it all worth it, and it makes me proud to be a Palatine Jaycee.”