Norridge festival slated July 12-15
Norridge Saturday 7/10/10 A crowd builds during the Norridge Park District's Island in the City Festival.(Jerry Daliege/ for STNG.) Saturday, July 10 from 1 p.m. to 11 p.m. Sunday, July 11 from 1 p.m. to 10 p.m. **8 images for a photo page** Norridge Park District's Island in the City Festival. Please get photos of people enjoying the fest-riding rides, playing midway games, eating, Norridge or Harwood Heights politicians at the fest. If shooting at night, photos of the bands playing on stage as well. **8 images for a photo page**
Updated: August 6, 2012 6:17AM
NORRIDGE—What started as a one-time event in has evolved into a summer staple.
The Seventh annual Island in the City Festival originally was designed as a way for the Norridge Park District to celebrate its 50th anniversary, said Mark DeSalvo, director of parks and recreation.
This year’s festival runs July 12-15 on the park grounds, 4631 N. Overhill Ave.
“We used to do a fall fest,” he explained. “But nothing in the summer because we didn’t was to duplicate the other neighborhood festivals.”
The fall festival had its attractions.
“We liked the gathering, but we couldn’t get fall fest to really draw the crowds,” DeSalvo explained. “It was either rainy or cold.”
So for the 50th anniversary, the park district decided to do a summer bash.
The district looked at what other groups were doing before deciding on a theme and dates.
“We went with the second weekend in July because no one else was doing anything then,” DeSalvo said.
That first summer festival was a great success, and residents wanted the park district to do it again.
DeSalvo said the festival name is taken from a book entitled “Island in the City: A History of the Norridge-Harwood Heights Area,” by Thomas McGowan.
“The villages are completely surrounded by the city of Chicago,” DeSalvo said, noting that because neither village has a downtown, the park district serves as a community focal point.
“Everybody on the island participates,” he added. “It’s about family, about bring people back to the community to share their stories.”
Organizing the four-day festival take a lot of planning. Bands need to be booked; tents and other equipment need to be reserved; and food providers need to be secured.
“We’ll have nine or 10 local food vendors, each with their own specialties,” DeSalvo said. “
In additional to all the planning, crunch time comes just before the festival starts.
“It takes two weeks out of my life,” DeSalvo said of crunch time just before opening day. “The first day is an adrenaline rush. I love seeing all these people come together and having fun.”