Summerfest right around the corner


The final touches are being put on the 37th Annual Braidwood Lions Club Summerfest, set for July 19 through 22 at Braidwood’s Old Smokey City Park.

The theme for this year’s festival is “Christmas is July.” Summerfest will once again feature four days full of fun, entertainment, and carnival rides for the entire family.

The Lions were able to put in place this year’s entertainment lineup by late winter, and fans of the club can see a sneak peak of two of those bands on the group’s Facebook page.

Some new events in this year’s lineup include:

• An added unlimited ride wristband session on Saturday from 6 to 11 p.m. The carnival will now have two sessions on Saturday, each requiring a separate wristband. The change helps give festival goers the option of coming out in the afternoon from 1 to 5 p.m., or holding off until the evening session in case it is a little too hot out in the afternoon for anyone’s liking.

• Exotic Wildlife Sanctuary and their Animal Ambassadors will join Summerfest this year on Saturday from 4:30 until 5:15 p.m. The Animal Ambassadors will bring several exotic animals including a Lynx and capuchin monkey.

• Waxed Hands will be out on Sunday afternoon from 3 to 6 p.m., allowing festival attendees to create unique waxed hand molding art.

“We are looking forward to this years entertainment line up on the Exelon Generation entertainment stage,” noted organizer Josh Bolatto.

The lineup includes:

• Thursday night — The Jet Frankenstein Band, comprised of several local and are musicians (including one Lions Club member), 70s and 80s classics, 7:30 to 10:30 p.m.

• Friday night — Ethan Bell Band, country, 7:30 to 11:30 p.m.

• Saturday nights — The Silhouettes, 50s and 60s hits, 7:30 to 11:30 p.m.

• Sunday night — Silverstrings, classic country, bluegrass, and rock from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m.

“Of course there are a lot of the favorite activities that are returning again this year such as the annual pie eating contest, which will take place on Saturday at 1 p.m. underneath the hospitality tent,” Bolatto said. “The annual Summerfest baby contest will take place on Saturday morning starting at 10 a.m. on the main entertainment stage. The contest is being coordinated once again by the Braidwood Area Healthy Community Coalition.”

The Hometown Proud parade will kick off at 1 p.m. on Main Street, traveling from Mitchell Street to Walker Street, and concluding this year behind Reed-Custer Elementary School.

Meanwhile, the flea market arts and crafts show will run from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. On Saturday and Sunday. Bolatto said several vendors are already lined up, and the organizers expect more applications to arrive over the next coming weeks.

“We will be posting lots of updates on our club’s Facebook page, so we are encouraging folks to like our page and stay up-to-date with what's going on each day during the festival,” Bolatto said. “Our website also has the full listing of details and daily schedule of activities posted on it as well as a complete listing of all of our official Summerfest sponsors. Our festival brochure will start appearing in local businesses soon.”

Summerfest is the Braidwood Lions Club’s largest fundraiser of the year, helping to raise funds needed to provide humanitarian sight and sound services as well as the various community events and activities that are Club provides or sponsors throughout the year. All funds go back into the community in one way shape or form.

“We have a great group of dedicated volunteers helping us once again and without them this festival would not be possible,” Bolatto said. “It takes a great deal of planning and preparation to make our festival what it has become. It’s pretty much turned into a year-round endeavor for many of us.”

Information on Summerfest can also be found on the Summerfest page on the Lions website,

The website also includes detailed information on “where the money goes” as far as local fundraisers and how that cash benefits the residents of Braidwood.