July 26-28: Proud American Days, Sugar Grove Corn Boil, Catfish Days, Geneva Art Fair and Woodstock Mozart Festival
By Annie Alleman For Sun-Times Media July 22, 2013 1:14PM
The Geneva Art Fair is July 27-28. | Submitted photo
Proud American Days
♦ July 26-28
♦ 601 E. Lincoln Highway, New Lenox
♦ (815) 485-3584
Geneva Art Fair
♦ July 27-28
♦ Third Street, downtown Geneva
♦ (630) 232- 6060
Woodstock Mozart Festival
♦ July 27-28, Aug. 3-4 & 10-11
♦ Woodstock Opera House, 121 E. Van Buren St., Woodstock
♦ Tickets, $33-$55
♦ (815) 338-5300
Updated: July 28, 2013 1:47PM
On this final July weekend, you can dine on corn, barbecued beef or catfish; or purchase some fine art and listen to the music of Mozart.
Festivals this weekend include the New Lenox Proud American Days, the Sugar Grove Corn Boil, Wilmington Catfish Days, Geneva Art Fair and Woodstock Mozart Festival.
Proud American Days
Due to the construction on the new police station, the New Lenox Proud American Days annual festival will be a new location this summer.
It will take place Friday, Saturday and Sunday right off Route 30 on the Menards development property just east of Walmart, at 601 E. Lincoln Highway.
Otherwise, the festival will be much the same as in years past; with bands, a carnival, a craft and vendor show, beef cook-off, bags tournament, classic car show, baby contest, family tent and military tribute.
There will be no mud volleyball this year, instead; there will be a sand volleyball tournament at the Lions Community Center.
“The locations may be a little different, but we’ll have all of the programs and events at Proud American Days that are such family favorites,” said Lauren Lotz, marketing and communications supervisor with the New Lenox Park District.
The Controlled Burn Beef Cook-Off returns for a second year on Sunday. Teams will cook a 15-pound roast with their special recipes and seasonings, and a panel of judges will award the winning team a massive trophy, she said. Later, the beef is sold for sandwiches with monies going to benefit the fire department.
There is a $7 cover charge for the live entertainment Friday and Saturday night. Friday’s band includes 4-Cast and Hairbanger’s Ball; Lucky Town and Infinity play Saturday. Sunday’s band is the acoustical group Stellar Road.
Although the entertainment tent is for those 21 and over, families and teens who still want to hear the music can enjoy it from the adjacent Family Tent, she said.
Activities in the Family Tent include bingo, a beach party, a hula hoop contest, bubble gum blowing contest and Oreo stacking contest. Fans of the carnival will appreciate wristband specials from 12 to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.
“One of the main reasons our park district puts together this community-based festival … is because it brings together everything everyone would want,” she said. “It brings together live entertainment, carnival rides, food, free family activities… it’s just a very large, wholesome, family-oriented festival. There’s something there for everyone. It’s just a great opportunity for those in New Lenox and the Lincoln-Way area to feel a sense of community spirit and that’s what Proud American Days does for the community.”
Geneva Art Fair
The Geneva Arts Fair runs from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday along Third Street in downtown Geneva.
The fine arts show showcases 160 artisans from around the country in a host of mediums, said Laura Rush with the Chamber of Commerce. Hours are from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
New this year is a relocation of the Children’s area. It’s now west of Third on Franklin.
“We are doing a tie-dye event for the kids this time,” she said. “It should be a very, very fun event for the kids, and very creative. We’ve always wanted to do something like this, but weren’t sure how to execute it.”
Representatives from Blick Art Supply will be on hand to help the kids twist and tie their shirts.
Something that many art fairs have incorporated, that Geneva is trying this year, is a Patron of the Art program. It allows people to pre-purchase money they are then able to use at the art fair, she said. People pay a certain amount of money up front in exchange for tokens, which they can then use to buy art from artists. It’s a way to ensure sales for artisans.
“It takes the art fair to a new level, and lets the artists know we really care about their product and we care about them, and it’s an upscale show,” she said. “There will be a private reception Saturday for anyone who has become a Patron of the Arts.”
Many artists are returning from last year, although plenty of new ones will set up shop this year as well.
“I think it will be a very nice show as always, with a variety of painting, photography, ceramics, glass, jewelry and fiber,” she said.
Emerging Artists are located on Dodson Place Plaza.
“Sometimes you can find something a little less expensive,” she said. “They are definitely worth checking out.”
Also down that way is a free photo booth. You can stand in front of different images, like the Eiffel Tower or Taj Mahal.
Rush said nearly 20,000 people visit during the weekend.
Woodstock Mozart Festival
The Woodstock Mozart Festival kicks off this weekend and runs through Aug. 11.
Performances are at 8 p.m. July 27, Aug. 3 and 10; 3 p.m. July 28, Aug. 4 and 11; and 5 p.m. Aug. 4 at the Woodstock Opera House.
Each weekend consists of a different performers and conductors, along with different selections from Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.
“The whole season is going to be gangbusters,” said executive director and founder Anita Whalen. “I sort of have to pinch myself because for a small festival to keep repeatedly being able to put on world-class programs is pretty amazing.”
This weekend features conductor Donato Cabrera, with pianist Vassily Primakov. He’ll perform Bartók Rumanian Dances, Mozart Piano Concerto No. 17, K. 453, Stravinsky Concerto in E-flat, “Dumbarton Oaks” and Haydn Symphony No. 85, “La Reine.”
Primakov’s agent actually sought them out a few years ago after she’d heard about the festival’s reputation as a great place to perform.
Primakov’s newest solo release on this label is a double disk Chopin collection that was named Best New CD of the Month at International Record Revue.
“He’s really a hot ticket,” she said.
Aug. 3 and 4, a two-time European Grammy award winner and classical saxophone player named Daniel Gauthier performs, along with Nazar Dzhuryn on cello. Igor Gruppman serves as conductor.
They’ll play Mozart Symphony No. 17, K. 129; Haydn Cello Concerto, Hob. VIIb:1; Mascagni Intermezzo from Cavalleria Rusticana; Ibert Concertina da Camera; Biset Adagietto from L’Arlésienne Suite No. 1; Schulhoff Hot Sonate; and Itturalde Pequena Czarda.
“It’s a very interesting and varied program,” Whalen said. “It’s a splash of colorful summer programming.”
Igor Gruppman returns Aug. 10 and 11 as both violinist and conductor, along with his wife Vesna Gruppman on viola. They will perform Mozart Divertimento for Strings, K. 138 (125c); Haydn Symphony No. 45, Farewell; and Mozart Sinfonia Concertante, K 364 (320d) for violin and viola.
“The Gruppmans have performed all over the world,” she said. “Last year, they played the piece they won the Grammy for — a contemporary piece by Malcolm Arnold — they turned around to our orchestra after the first run through and said that was the best support they had ever had from any orchestra around the world in the first run-through of that piece.”
The Woodstock Opera House is small — it seats only 412 people — but you feel as though you are engulfed by the music, she said.
“It’s a very neat place to have a festival. Very European-like, I’ve been told,” she said.
In the end, there’s only one opinion that matters, and Whalen thinks he’d approve.
“Mozart would have loved it,” she said. “Even though the quality is high, we’re always aiming to improve, and it looks like we’re on that track. It should be a very exciting and rewarding season.”
Sugar Grove Corn Boil
♦ July 26-28
♦ John Shields Elementary School, Main St., Sugar Grove
♦ (630) 449-7999
The Sugar Grove Corn Boil returns this weekend with a parade, 5K run, live music, carnival, fireworks, craft show, bingo, cooking challenge and kids zone.
Hours are from 4 to 11 p.m. today, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday.
Bands include Epic and 7th Heaven on Friday, Hillbilly Rockstarz and Hi Infidelity on Saturday, and 4th Point and Big Daddy Weave on Sunday. Fireworks will be at 9:30 p.m. Saturday.
Athletes will make appearances at Corn Boil this year. Former White Sox player Bill Melton will appear from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, mixed martial arts athletes will appear from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sunday, and former Chicago Bull Bob Love will appear from 1 to 3 p.m. Sunday.
Over in the Kids Zone Saturday, little ones can get their faces painted, compete in an ice cream eating contest, meet Those Funny Little People as well as Ronald McDonald and try out Zumbatomic exercises classes and watch a demonstration from the Kane County Sheriff S.W.A.T.
On Sunday, there will be a “Getting Excited about Science with Steve Belliveau” show, Dave DiNaso’s Traveling World of Reptiles, a water balloon toss contest, a diaper derby, rain gutter regatta races and the Corn Boil 500 Big Wheel race.
Wilmington Catfish Days
♦ July 26-28
♦ North Island Park, Bridge Street, Wilmington
♦ (815) 476-7597
Many moons ago, Forked Creek spilled over its banks and flooded a section of Wilmington called Catfish Town. This section was located in a hollow behind the Chicago and Alton railroad depot before the turn of the 20th Century.
In 1976, to honor the town’s history, Wilmington threw its first Catfish Days festival. Nowadays, the name probably has just as much to do with the number of catfish one can catch in the Kankakee River.
This year’s Catfish Days includes a carnival, beer garden, bands and other live entertainment, 5K race, flea market and craft show, bike and pet parade and fire department water fights.
Other activities include a sports super fan contest, magic show, cheer and gymnastics demonstrations, wagon rides and small animals, magician, wing eating contest and outdoor laser light show.
A parade will be at 1 p.m. Sunday. Bands performing are Full Speed on Friday and Under D Influence on Saturday. Beginning at 2 p.m. Sunday will be a Blues Jam with several acts performing.
In keeping with the theme, several local restaurants will offer catfish dinners throughout the festival.