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Proud American Days in New Lenox runs through Sunday

Published: Thursday, July 24, 2014 11:17 p.m. CDT

NEW LENOX – It’s a festival that fulfills New Lenox’s motto of being a home to proud Americans. 

New Lenox Community Park District is hosting Proud American Days, which started Thursday and runs through Sunday.

It’s a four-day festival at 601 E. Lincoln Highway, New Lenox, that is considered one of the largest and best-attended in the Lincoln-Way area and greater Will County.

Tens of thousands of visitors are expected to come for carnival rides, children’s activities, food and live entertainment.

“Each year it’s gotten bigger and better and this year there are some noted touches,” said Greg Lewis, the park district’s executive director. “Our goal is to provide an outside venue that’s safe for the community, so the parents feel comfortable letting the kids out and the parents have a drink or two and listen to some good music.”

One of the highlights of this year’s festival is Sunday’s tribute, he said. 

The tribute will include a color guard procession by local veteran groups and Lincoln-Way high school JROTC cadets. Giving remarks at the presentation will be Park Board President Brian Fischer, New Lenox Mayor Tim Baldermann and Sen. Toi Hutchinson, D-Chicago Heights.

New Lenox native Makena Hartlin will give a musical performance of Lee Greenwood’s song “Proud To Be An American.”

Other highlights include a car show on Sunday, a “controlled burn” beef cook-off by the New Lenox Fire Protection District on Saturday and carnival rides throughout the festival, he said. 

The festival began as a “two-man band” under a tent playing music with a keg of beer, according to the festival’s website. In July 1984, the New Lenox Chamber of Commerce became the host of the first Proud American Days until New Lenox Community Park District inherited the responsibility after several years. 

Lauren Lotz, the park district’s communications supervisor, said many families in the Lincoln-Way area look forward to the festival because it is oriented to families and offers live entertainment. 

“Our park district continues to strive to do what the community asks them to do and we achieve that each year,” she said. 

Although it’s an event that attracts residents in Joliet and other nearby communities, Lewis said even residents from Chicago visit because of the music. Taking the stage at the festival Friday will be 4-Cast and Hairbangers Ball. Bands playing on Saturday will be Dave Rudolf’s Beach Party, Lucky Town and Infinity. 

“These are bands that people will come out from Chicago to see,” Lewis said. 

If you go

Proud American Days weekend event schedule

FRIDAY

• Noon to 3 p.m.: Lions Club Special Needs Day

• 7 to 11 p.m.: Bags Tournament Blind Draw

• 7 to 11 p.m.: PAD Pong Tournament

SATURDAY

• 6:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.: New Lenox Fire Protection District’s “Controlled Burn” Beef Cook-Off

• 8:30 a.m. to 11 a.m.: Proud American Baby Contest

• 8:30 a.m.: Co-Ed Sand Volleyball Tournament

• 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.: Family Bingo

• 1 to 2 p.m.: Dave Rudolph’s Family Beach Party

​• 2 to 4 p.m.: Family Fun Extravaganza

• 7 to 11 p.m.: Bags Tournament Blind Draw

• 7 to 11 p.m.: PAD Pong Tournament

SUNDAY

• 8:30 a.m.: Co-Ed Sand Volleyball Tournament

• 11 a.m.: Annual Proud American Days Military Tribute

• Noon to 3 p.m.: Classic Car Show

• 1 to 4 p.m.: Teen Battle of the Bands

For more information, visit proudamericandays.org

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