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Attendance up at Worth Days

Good weather helps draw large crowds

By Laura Bollin

Warm weather last weekend contributed to great crowds at the annual Worth Days Fest, at which attendance nearly doubled from last year, according to village officials.

Trustee Mary Werner said village officials were “very happy” with the turnout.

“Our attendance was up on both days,” Werner said. “On Saturday we had 4,000 people for the whole day. Last year, we had 2,500 on Saturday. On Saturday night, the weather was perfect. Weather helps a lot when you have a good festival. We can try and book good bands and try and lay out a nice festival, but if it rains, that is something we cannot control.”

Fest-goers were complimentary of the festivals’ bands, Werner said. Worth had 12 musical acts that performed from Friday through Sunday. Opening night last Thursday featured only a carnival.

Residents also seemed to appreciate the Sunday night fireworks display and the variety of children’s activities, Werner said. The Kid’s Zone featured a petting zoo and pony rides that were sponsored by the Worth Lions Club, as well as games, jugglers, magicians, a reptile show, dogs catching flying discs, airbrush tattoos and art stations.

Trustee Colleen McElroy, who volunteered at the admission booth and Bingo, said she enjoyed the festival.

“I have four kids, so there were a lot of opportunities for all ages,” McElroy said. “They all had a wonderful time. The carnival doesn’t have rides like you would expect at Great America, but the kids had a lot of fun this year. We gauge the carnival by the way the junior high and high school kids are talking about the rides.”

A smaller, more neighborhood-focused festival would benefit Worth, McElroy added.

“Sometimes, I think the festival is a little too big,” McElroy said. “It is a big event, but we are still a small town. I like the old idea of a picnic in the park and everyone getting to know their neighbors.”

McElroy would like to see more community organizations and volunteers get involved with Worth Days, she said.

“We have some families that are volunteering with Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, and a parent-teacher association, and that’s one person for three organizations,” McElroy said. “We’re strapped for volunteers. I want to see some new faces get involved. It can be hard on volunteers who do this year after year.”

Werner is hopeful the fest made more money this year than last, which would enable the village to expand the event next year. Werner planned to meet this week with village trustees and other volunteers to discuss next year’s Worth Days. Werner wants to expand the Kid’s Zone and the festival grounds, and rearrange tents to create more space for people to spread out and listen to the entertainment. The village will know by tomorrow how much money was made this year.

“People were kind of crowded together watching the concerts,” Werner said. “Last year, we broke even, and spent $68,000. This year, if we make $70,000 or $75,000, we would have more money for next year. We’d be able to bring in bigger bands and spend more on fireworks.”