Wilmette’s Summerfest beckons with music, cars, sales, fun
Children enjoy the inflatable jump room at last year's Summerfest, hosted by the Wilmette/Kenilworth Chamber. | Curtis Lehmkuhl~Sun-Times Media
WHEN: July 13 and 14
WHERE: Downtown Wilmette, Plaza del Lago, Ridge Road
Updated: August 13, 2012 7:01AM
Lots of communities have summer sidewalk sales, but organizers of the second annual Wilmette Summerfest are offering village residents and visitors something a little more all encompassing than that, and even more fun.
The July 13 and 14 event put on by the Wilmette Chamber of Commerce is “something we think can define some of our community spirit, and we find that’s such an infectious idea that people want to join in and have fun with it,” Chamber spokeswoman Joan Fishman said.
The first Summerfest, which grew out of a long tradition of sidewalk sales put on by the village’s business community, took place last summer and was a tremendous success, she said; planning for this year’s event began soon afterward.
The sidewalk sales that helped launch Summerfest are still part of it, Fishman said. Chamber members from downtown Wilmette, Plaza del Lago on Sheridan Road, and on Ridge Road will be taking part, offering specials and sales Friday and Saturday.
But visitors of all ages will find other events to draw them. For the first time, Summerfest is hosting a classic car show. It takes place July 14, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the Metra parking lot on Poplar Avenue. Classic cruisers, convertibles, and sports cars from the 50s through the 70s will be on hand to view and to vote on as favorites.
Fishman praised car show coordinator Greg Alvarado for putting the event together: “It will be quite a sight, with all those cars lined up in the parking lot. I’m sure it will bring back memories for lots of people.”
Children’s activities will be happening along Greenleaf Avenue on both days, and youngsters can enjoy performers such as Nili Yelin, the Storybook Mom. On July 14, the Wilmette Pet Fest will attract pet-lovers to Wilmette Pet on Green Bay Road, offering a dog wash, a petting zoo and the chance to meet greyhounds from Greyhound Rescue.
Fishman is especially excited about the festival’s music stage, which will provide music from 11 a.m. through 10 p.m. on July 14.
Local music students will get to show their prowess (students from Wilmette’s The Rock School and the North Shore Guitar Academy are set to play), as will local bands such as High Street.
Saturday’s schedule will also highlight Wilmette natives who have made a mark on the regional and national scene, Fishman said. That includes Rollover, signed by the legendary Bill Graham management group; the Lucky Jackson band, which features Wilmette native Chris Karabas, founder of The Rock School; and singer-songwriters Jessica Rae and Stephanie Rogers.
Fans of traditional music will also have a treat, listening to the popular North Shore Harmonizers womens’ chorus.
Another Summerfest highlight is the beer and wine tent for 21 and over attendees. It will operate from noon to 4 p.m. July 14 just adjacent to the music stage. Fishman said the tent was extremely popular last summer, “so this year we’re extending it, with fabulous beers sponsored by Louis Glunz. We found that with the great music and fun, people wanted to stay longer, and we’re making it possible.”