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Palatine Jaycees Gear Up for 2012 Hometown Fest

Organizers estimate the fest takes 3,000 manpower hours to put on each year.

As with any long-running festival, it’s easy to get caught up in the parade, live music and food that takes place annually in Palatine's Community Park and take for granted the amount of planning that goes into such a large event.

For the group of Palatine Jaycees that put on the Hometown Fest each year, as they’ve done for the past 55 years, there’s about six months of planning that goes into a weekend’s worth of fun, but it’s all for the greater good.

“We raise money to give back to the community and it’s a big fest for the community,” said Jackie Burke.

Burke, who is one of three chairpersons from the Palatine Jaycees coordinating the event, said she was inspired to get involved after she attended the event a few years back and noticed the fest held a special needs carnival for families.

“It’s something that struck me as being really nice,” Burke said. “My brother is handicapped, so the organization doing this for handicapped adults is amazing to me.”

The Palatine Jaycees is a young person’s leadership organization made up of people between the ages of 21 and 40 that offers opportunities for networking and professional development through community service.

Judy Reinholtz, president of the Palatine chapter, said there are about 84 active members in the group, which is one of the largest in the state. Members don’t have to live or work in Palatine, and are free to join any chapter they want. The group runs more than 100 community service, social, and leadership development projects each year, according to its website.

Since December, Burke has been planning this year’s Hometown Fest with fellow chairs Paul Castle and Jennifer Iannuzzelli, saying it takes that long to get everything coordinated.

“I think the biggest learning lesson so far with putting on this festival was probably all the behind-the-scenes things that you don’t expect—having to negotiate Porta-Potties, to getting a liquor license,” Burke said. “It’s all the little things that you wouldn’t think would be such a big deal, but they are.”

Jason Coroneos, who served as chair for the fest in 2009 and is now community vice president for the chapter, agreed with Burke’s sentiments. He said he took away from the experience better time-management skills, as well as learning how to work with village officials.

In all the event takes about 3,000 manpower hours to put on and all the money made during Hometown Fest is given back to the community. Reinholtz said the group recently donated $10,000 to various organizations that needed funding to do certain activities.

Those looking to volunteer for the fest or to join the Palatine Jaycees should visit the group’s website or Facebook page for more information.

“It is honestly a great way for people to be involved in the community and a great way for them to get to know others,” Reinholtz said. “I don’t even remember my life before the Jaycees.”

** ** Check back with Palatine Patch next week for more Hometown Fest information.

Roman G. Golash June 22, 2012 at 04:04 PM
What happened to Independence Day celebrations? Is that now called "Fest?" If so, how far have we gone that we now wish to ignore the liberty and freedoms we have because of the revolutionary war. We cannot go into the future, if we forget our past.
Catherine June 22, 2012 at 05:58 PM
Relax Roman, It’s only a title for the fest that distinguishes them from other “fests” in the area. Besides the VFW or American Legion, I’ve found the Jaycees to be a very patriotic organization. When the Gulf war started, they were the first in the community to go out in the streets to raise money for our heroes. Additionally, many fests have honored our military. The word hometown brings about closeness and what we love about this country. Check out other local communities. What do they have other than the name? In Palatine you can be assured you will see neighbors, co-workers, past friends and more. Volunteers run this fest, just like our military is now an all volunteer force. To me that is what the USA is all about.
Scott June 22, 2012 at 06:27 PM
Roman - Every Jaycee meeting begins with everyone rising to their feet, facing the flag, and reciting the Pledge of Allegiance. This is the group that makes sure that Veterans and First Responders get honored at the beginning of the parade. This is the group that presents a 4th of July fesitival at their own expense - not the taxpayers (like most towns). This is not the group to question their patriotism.
Michelle Gray June 30, 2012 at 02:01 AM
Thank you Catherine and Scott. Too many people over think things. If you go to the Fest, you'll see all kinds of patriotism, especially at the parade. Roman, go enjoy yourself.

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