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Walkin' on Roberts: Hickory Hills preps for Street Fair

  • Written by Emily Szymanski

Fest-goers, foodies, bingo fans and furry friends will be among the demographics that descend on Roberts Road later this month for the Hickory Hill Street Fair, an annual gathering that will be celebrating its 35th anniversary.

Roberts Road will be shut down for the sake of being livened up between 91st and 95th streets on Sunday, June 30. Nearly 150 crafters will open their stands for business at 10 a.m. Food vendors will cater to a variety of tastes with summer eats and drinks including ice cream, pizza, lemonade and sweet corn. The fair will close at 7 p.m.

But before all that begins, Street Fair will for the third straight year get underway – this time a week earlier, with a Kick-off Concert featuring The Neverly Brothers on Saturday, June 29 in the TCF Bank parking lot, 9357 Roberts Road. The six-man band will hit the stage at 7 p.m. for a scheduled three-hour set that could include covers of tunes by artists including The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Elvis Presley, Buddy Holly and Jerry Lee Lewis.

“[The concert space] is all set up by Saturday night anyways,” Hickory Hills Alderman Deborah Ferrero said. “So we might as well utilize it.”

Street Fair is the city’s largest and arguably its most economically important annual public event. Good weather brings our potentially thousands of people who spend money, play bingo and other games, and listen to music. It also serves a social propose, according to Hickory Hills City Clerk.

“It is kind of like a reunion where people who used to live here get back together,” Catizone said.

Hickory Hills Alderman Tom McAvoy described the fair as “just a great, big, four-block long community party.”

The children’s area at Street Fair will be in Casey Meadow Park, 91st Street and Roberts Road, from 11:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Carnival attractions including a Wind Jammer, inflatable bounce house, giant slides and – for the first time -- a zip line – a ride Ferrero plans to try herself. The Hickory Hills Fire Department will present a safety demonstration and offer youths the opportunity to spray a fire hose.

Catering to the adults will be the “Hot Bingo and Cold Beer Tent,” open from noon to 6 p.m. in the parking lot of Gary Bukovsky’s State Farm Insurance Office, 9251 Roberts Road. Bingo has been one of the few aspects of the Street Fair that has been altered since the first fair 35 years ago. The classic game’s format was reorganized by McAvoy in 2005, and under the alderman’s direction has raised approximately $13,000 for community organizations. Sertoma Speech and Hearing Center, Hickory Hills Senior Task Force, and the Hills Chamber of Commerce will be bingo sponsors this year.

While the bingo tent will be playing the customary split-the-pot game, prizes donated by local businesses will be available for players to win. Local businesses donated 480 prizes last year totaling $10,194 in gift cards and certificates, merchandise, and cash.  A raffle drawing will be held after the last bingo game has been played. Raffle tickets will be available throughout the day at the bingo tent. Winners need not be present to win.  

The fair’s musical entertainment will be provided by two bands. Chicago’s High Action, described as funk and progressive rock, will play from 12:30 to 3:30 p.m.  Concluding the night will be Logical Confusion, which will play a set list that covers genres of experimental, progressive and rock from 4 to 7 p.m.

To be held in conjunction with Street Fair will be the Hickory Hills Park District’s 3rd annual Car Show, which will be parked in Casey Meadow Park from 11:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Organizers are expecting between 20 to 40 cars. Registration to enter a vehicle in the show will be held the day of the event.