Takin' in to The Street

  • Written by Emily Szymanski

PG5 streetfair 4colLydia Patts, 6,of Hickory Hills, sprays the fire hose at Hickory Hills Street Fair, held June 30 on Roberts Road. Photo by Jason Maholy


Sunday’s beautiful weather brought crafters, food vendors, pedestrians and pets out to Roberts Road for Hickory Hills’ 30th annual Street Fair.

Street Fair weekend kicked off Saturday with a concert by the Neverly Brothers, and the excitement carried over to the following day. Bands performed in the beer tent, and the aromas of popcorn, pizza, sunblock and funnel cakes drifted down the crowded road from late Sunday morning through the evening.

For some people, Street Fair is more than just another summer event. For soon-to-be high school seniors Anna Swiech and Sarah Borczyk, buying lemon shakeups and drinking them at Kasey Meadow Park, 91st Place and Roberts Road, is something they have been doing since they were little. Former Hickory Hills resident Tom Granoski has been attending Street Fair since it was first held 30 years ago, and despite having moved to Mokena several years back, he and his wife, Janet, and daughter, Maria, come back to Hickory every year.

PG5 streetfair5 3colSalameh Abuelhawa (left), 2½, of Worth, and her sister, Talen, ride the windjammer. Photo by Jason Maholy“It’s nice to look around at everything,” Granoski said. “But what’s even better is that I get to see a bunch of my old friends. I always keep an eye out for a familiar face, and I always run into a few.”

While fair-goers walked up and down the street to browse the many craft tents, eat food or catch up with friends, children flocked to Kasey Meadow to have fun in an inflatable bounce house and ride the Wind Jammer. The attraction with the longest queu was the zip line, and anxious people waited as long as 15 minutes to get a chance to traverse the park on a cable. The zip line was one of 10-year-old Selena Castanon’s favorite attractions this year.

“I’ve sprayed water with the fire hose every year and it’s always the same thing,” Selena said, referring to the activity provided by the Roberts Park Fire Protection District. “The zip line was cool to try since I’ve never even been on one before. I can’t wait to try it again.”

At the base of the Kasey Meadow sled hill was the Hickory Hills Park District’s 3rd annual car show. Many fair-goers crowded the spot to check out the different autos including a 1957 Chevy Bel-Air owned by Oak Lawn resident Joe Novak. News of the car show spread beyond Hickory as several cars came from other towns.

“I was just driving around and I saw a sign advertising for a car show,” said Palos Hills resident Rich Dusterhoft while sitting next to his black 1965 Mustang. “It’s a nice place for it, and a nice time. I can’t wait to come back next year.”

Among most of the familiar crafters that set up shop every year, there were a few new faces. TeaBerrys Glass owned by Stephanie Thomas and Leanne Barry was one of the new additions. Using vintage glass found at garage sales, resale shops, and even family cupboards, Thomas and Barry use the materials they find to create cake plates, party tiers, and garden decorations.

COLOR streetfair 4colMegan Hackett, 5, of Orland Park, sits patiently while having a butterfly painted on her face at Hickory Hills Street Fair. Photo by Jason Maholy“The idea originally started out as making gifts for the family, but then it just started to evolve to our own little business,” Barry said.

For their debut at the Street Fair and only their second year vending at craft shows, the ladies from TeaBerrys Glass were met with a lot of success.

“People keep coming up to us and asking us if we’re new to the fair,” Barry said. “They know that what we’re selling is different.”

Another vendor catered to a fuzzy, four-legged audience. Tail-Waggers, owned by Wendy Lettvin and her husband, Howard, have been selling a buffet of dog treats for the past 12 years, and have built up a great reputation in the pet community. Wendy Lettvin comes up with all the different types of ideas for the treats, and most are based off of human design. Tail-Waggers found great success this year, thanks to the large number of pet owners who brought their pooches to the fair. Whenever there was a small crowd beginning to form in the middle of the street, there was always a dog being petted in the center of it.

“I bring my dogs to the Street Fair every year,” said Margaret Coffey, who walking one of her black-and-white English setters, Joy.  “The Street Fair is a great place for a dog to get exercise.”