Parties celebrate the end of summer

Pam Monson

It may seem like summer’s just getting started, but in reality, school starts in two weeks and it’s just about over. But there will be plenty of free summer fun packed into that half month, with these local end-of-summer celebrations:
Block party
On Saturday, Aug. 3, the Wilmington Lions Club is hosting an end-of-the-summer community block party, from noon to 3 p.m. in the North Island Park. All activities, treats and take-home items are free, thanks to the club’s lemon shake-up fundraisers, duck race, sale of glow sticks and collection of Bellettini Foods receipts, as well as the generous support of sponsors.
The block party features:
• The Wilmington Emergency Services and Disaster Agency will display its Waterwog swiftwater rescue craft.
• The Lifestar air ambulance will touch down for a visit.
• The Lions Club, through the Lions of Illinois Foundation, will offer free vision screenings for children 6 months to 6 years of age. The screenings are meant for early detection of disorders such as near and farsightedness, astigmatism, lazy eye and eye misalignment. There is no physical contact with the child, and no eye drops are needed. Youngsters are screened from about 3 feet away, and results are received in seconds.
• The Lions are also sponsoring an eye disease screening for adults.
• You can put your toes to the line and aim for a strike on the Riverfront Lanes traveling bowling alley.
• The Wilmington Coalition for a Healthy Community is bringing its bubble machine.
• The Lions Club is sponsoring a bounce house and an all-ages climbing wall. (The weight range for the climbing wall is 40 to 250 pounds)
• Steve Macholz will talk about beekeeping and the importance of these tiny pollinators and let everyone sample a little bit of honey.
• Need some stress relief? April Willis-Crawford, licensed massage therapist, will knead your tensions away during a seated massage.
• Don Larson and Carter Puracchio will set up their Rusty Spokes Bike Show featuring the coolest rides from the 1960s to 1980s.
• Facepainting is sponsored by Baskerville Funeral Home.
• First Ward Alderman Kevin Kirwin is serving popcorn and Fourth Ward Alderman Frank Studer and his wife Mary, who have become experts in sno-cone preparation, will be handing out that frosty treat. Alderman John Persic, from Ward One, a member of the Lions Club, will serve in any capacity needed to ensure participants have fun.
• Free ice cream will be provided by Wilmington Collision. The Lecrone family sponsored root beer, so that ice cream can be parlayed into a root beer float.
• The Ragain family and the Lions Club are sponsoring a zipline. (The weight range for this activity is 50 to 250 pounds)
• Kerr Management Consultants will be passing out free temporary tattoos.
• Berkot’s Super Foods donated Frisbees.
• Bob Neises, Dave Davis and Joe Saczek — the U.P. Band — will provide a little live musical entertainment.

National Night Out
The Wilmington Police Department is sponsoring its third annual National Night Out against crime on Tuesday, Aug. 6, from 6 to 8 p.m., at Wilmington High School, 209 Wildcat Court. Events will be held inside and out.
National Night Out is an annual community-building campaign that promotes police-community partnerships and neighborhood camaraderie to make neighborhoods safer, better places to live. It enhances the relationship between neighbors and law enforcement and fosters a true sense of community.
National Night Out events are held annually on the first Tuesday of August in 16,000 communities in all 50 states, United States territories, Canadian cities, and military bases worldwide.
National Night Out is also a free, family-focused event. It is organized locally by Officer Anthony Ritz of the Wilmington Police Department.
This year’s activities will include:
• Bounce houses, games and contests sponsored by Christian Life Assembly
• Even more kids’ games sponsored by the Wilmington Public Library District
• The Wilmington Coalition for a Healthy Community’s bubble foam
• Face painting by Christy Ziller
• Balloon toys made by Balloons by Diane
• Free raffles for baskets and individual items donated by local businesses
• Riverfront Lanes invites you back for another shot at its traveling bowling alley.
• The Wilmington Island Park District is coming back with its Spot Shot hoops competition
• Local 150 of the International Union of Operating Engineers is bringing some heavy equipment to touch and explore (from the ground), and Tom Begler and Begler Racing will bring a race car or two.
Since National Night Out spans the dinner hour, families will be treated to burgers and dogs. Local 150 members volunteered to grill the burgers donated along with buns by Berkot’s Superfoods. Vienna Beef is providing its premium all-beef hot dogs, which will be cooked to perfection by Holly Barker and Tully Garrett in The Launching Pad’s steam table. Plochman’s Mustard is donating that tart yellow condiment.
• The Night Out Productions DJ will keep the place hoppin.’
Neighbors will be able to meet one another, as well as Wilmington’s police officers, including the department’s drug-sniffing canine Mao; firefighters and emergency medics from the Wilmington Fire Protection District; Emergency Services and Disaster Agency volunteers and the Will County Sheriff’s Department SWAT team — and will be invited to tour some of their emergency vehicles.
Event partners are the city of Wilmington, the Wilmington Coalition for a Healthy Community, School District 209-U and The Launching Pad.
Party in the Park
The Wilmington Island Park District and Lincolnway Special Recreation Association are holding a Party in the Park on Monday, Aug. 12, from 6 to 7:30 p.m., in Children’s Memorial Park at the corner of North Joliet and South Circle Drive in Northcrest.
The party was planned for earlier in the summer but had to be rescheduled due to inclement weather. Now, it will include a celebration of the Island Park District’s 70th anniversary.
Party in the Park will include music, a bounce house, games and other activities.
Residents of the community voted to establish a park district in a June 7, 1949 election. The Will County Court made it official on June 8. To celebrate the district’s anniversary, cupcakes will be served at Party in the Park.