Music, animal show help turn Palos Hills Friendship Fest up to 11

  • Written by Kelly White

COLOR ff8 3colKieran Kelly, 3 (left), and his sister, Layla, 6, enjoy the rises and falls of the Frog Hopper on Saturday at Palos Hills Friendship Fest. Photo by Jason Maholy

Pleasant weather and a billing of top entertainment contributed to what the mayor of Palos Hills deemed an excellent turnout at last weekend’s Friendship Fest.

The city’s annual summer event was held last Thursday through Sunday at the Moraine Valley Triangle, the fest grounds for many years until the past three campaigns which were held just south on the old Moraine Valley driving range. Friendship Fest featured a children’s area and the traditional carnival, as well as Journey tribute band Infinity and The Beatles tribute band American English, both of which drew huge crowds, according to Palos Hills Mayor Jerry Bennett.

Animal lovers and curious fest-goers enjoyed Woody’s Menagerie Educational Wildlife Show which took the stage for a performance on Friday and for four shows on Saturday.

“The wildlife show was definitely unique,” said Allie White, 19, of Chicago Ridge, after viewing Friday’s performance. “It was so cute when the baby tiger meowed during the show.”

The tiger cub was one of several crowd favorites during the show that also featured a fox, groundhog, skunks, snake and bear cub.  

The children’s area at the far north end of the fairgrounds was a popular place all weekend as youths rode ponies, visited with horses and a mule named Rio, and fed goats in the JoDon Farms Petting Zoo. The collection of animals also included a zebu, geese and a tortoise that kept trying to no avail to find its way out of the fenced area containing the creatures.

Bennett said the city sold more Mega Passes, which provided access to all carnival rides all four days of the fest, than it ever has in its history. The carnival featured games on the Midway including a test-your-strength-with-a-mallet attraction as well as popular rides such as the Swinger, bumper cars, dragon coaster and frog hopper. Older attendees tested their stomachs and equilibriums on an array of twirling, whirling and zipping attractions

The Double K Car Show was held Sunday and showcased a wide range of old-fashioned automobiles.

“It’s nice when the city combines a car show and a festival together,” said Hickory Hills resident, Rocco Giannelli, 19, who attended the fest with his girlfriend. “I often attend local car shows when they are in the area, but when there is a fest incorporated as well, it’s something we can both enjoy together.”

In addition to musical headliners Infinity and American English, the beer tent stage saw performances by R-Gang, The Breakfast Club, Modern Day Romeos, The Difference and Epic.

The tent was packed with music fans who raved about the bands. Oak Lawn resident Kelsey Slawecki was at the fest Thursday night with her friends to see Infinity.

“Infinity is such a fun band,” she said. “They sounded great and played all types of music so everyone was out of their seats throughout their entire performance.”

The fest concluded Sunday night with a fireworks show that received props from Giannelli.

“The firework display is by far one of the best ones in the area,” she said.

COLOR ff9 3colPalos Hills residents Gavin Krupinski (from left), 6, Zachary Van Loon, 6, and Logan Krupinski, 4, ride the Dragon Coaster. Photo by Jason Maholy