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Friendship Fest to celebrate veterans and Moraine's 50th anniversary

  • Written by Joe Boyle

The annual Palos Hills Friendship Fest will again draw large crowds, feature musical entertainment and plenty of rides for kids.

But this year’s festival, which begins today (July 6) at the usual location of the Moraine Triangle at 107th Street and 88th Avenue, will mark two occasions. The city will be honoring all veterans and Moraine Valley Community College, 9000 W. College Parkway, Palos Hills, on its 50th year.

Ald. Ricky Moore (4th Ward) helped organize the veterans committee last year and played a large role in organizing the event for the veterans. The veterans’ dedication ceremony will be held Saturday at the Friendship Fest at 5:30 p.m. Saturday. Opening remarks will be delivered by Mayor Gerald Bennett.

“We just want to do something for them for what they have done for us,” said Moore.

After the mayor’s opening remarks, the posting of the honor guard will take place, followed by the pledge of allegiance. A Moraine Valley student and U.S. Marine will lead the pledge of allegiance.

“I think this this is something we should do,” Bennett said. “We should be honoring the veterans and not just today, but every day.”

The Friendship Fest that will be held beginning today through Sunday, July 9. Admission is free. Free parking is also available. Along with the salute to veterans, the city will honor Moraine Valley at 7:05 p.m. Sunday, July 9 at the fest. Dr. Sylvia Jenkins, president of Moraine Valley Community College, is scheduled to be on hand to talk about the anniversary.

“We appreciate the efforts of the City of Palos Hills,” said Jenkins. “This is a great honor.”

The college was founded by the Oak Lawn Rotary and opened its doors on Feb. 18, 1967. Members of the Oak Lawn Rotary were responsible for helping to put the question on a ballot asking residents if they would support the creation of a community college district. The ballot received overwhelming support from the local community.

Bennett has described the festival as a neighborhood gathering in which everyone is invited. This year is especially gratifying for the mayor because of the recognition of the veterans and Moraine Valley.

“We want to show our appreciation of what they (the veterans) have done and what they mean to us. And we honor Moraine Valley for their 50th year and what they have meant to Palos Hills. They have allowed us to use their grounds for the festival and that means a lot to us. But we also want to recognize them because they are very good neighbors.”

The festival kicks off from 6 to 10:30 p.m. Thursday, July 6. Pay one price day of $20 will also be offered from 6 to 10 p.m. The food court opens up at 6 p.m. Free face painting will be offered from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., and bingo will be available from 7 to 10 p.m. The Moraine Valley Kids Entertainment Stage will be held from 7 to 9 p.m. featuring stilt walker Jason Kollum. The Brass Buckle Band will perform beginning at 7:30 p.m.

During a Palos Hills City Council meeting last month, the board also honored Don Berry on his retirement as a Tech 1 and heavy equipment worker for the city’s Public Works Department. He has been a full-time employee since 1983. He had worked part-time for the city for a couple of years before that.

“We wish him the best,” said Bennett.

The board then discussed the Friendship Festival. The Wilson Family Carnival will be open from 6 to 11:30 p.m. Friday, July 7. The food court and arts and crafts vendors will open at 6 p.m. July 7. Bingo will be available from 7 to 10 p.m. that night. Reptiles with Jim Galeno will be at the Moraine Valley Kids Entertainment Stage from 6 to 7:30 p.m.

The musical lineup on July 7 includes the Walk-ins at 6:30 p.m. American English, the popular Beatles tribute band, will take the stage at 9 p.m. Both performances will be held at the Beer Garden.

The carnival will be open from noon to 11:30 p.m. and pay one price of $20 will be available from noon to 4 p.m. on Saturday, July 8. The Palos Hills Horsemen Association will be at the fest from 1 to 4 p.m. Radio stations The Mix (101.9) and WSHE (100.3) will be broadcasting from the fest from noon to 2 p.m. Free pony rides and a petting zoo will be held from 1 to 5 p.m., and bingo can be played from 7 to 10 p.m. on July 7.

The kids stage will include the Vest Dance Troupe at 12:30 p.m., the Spoon Guy at 1 and 2:30 p.m., and the Storyteller at 1:30 and 3 p.m. The musical acts begin with The Browns at 4:30 p.m., followed by Sundance Band at 6:15 p.m. Infinity, who feature ‘70s and ‘80s music, will close out the musical acts with a performance beginning at 9 p.m. on July 8.

The Double K Productions Classic Car Show will be held from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday, July 9 at the Friendship Fest. Registration begins at 9 a.m. The fee is $20 the day of the show. More information can be obtained at www.doublekproductions.com.

Like Bennett, Moore is looking forward to the festival, especially since Moraine Valley is being recognized on their 50th anniversary and veterans will be honored.

“This is just wonderful,” said Moore. “I’m a professor at Moraine Valley so this is very special to me. It is an opportunity to honor them. They are part of our community. This will be a great celebration.