Summer Sunset Festival springs to life

Kevin Zaleski of Crystal Lake watches his son Brennan, 2, play a fishing game at the carnival Saturday at the Summer Sunset Festival in Lake in the Hills.
Kevin Zaleski of Crystal Lake watches his son Brennan, 2, play a fishing game at the carnival Saturday at the Summer Sunset Festival in Lake in the Hills.

LAKE IN THE HILLS – “Are you serious?” asked a young boy, eyes to the sky staring at the spinning and flipping monstrosity that is The Zipper.

A line of brave youngsters stood behind him Saturday afternoon at Lake in the Hills' Summer Sunset Festival in anticipation of the wild ride that awaited them; shouts and shrieks of excitement floating down from its enclosed cages.

After the Friday evening rain put a bit of a damper on the festival’s first wine tasting event, Saturday afternoon’s warm weather brought life to the festival grounds, kicking off the morning with a parade.

Tatum Miller, 8, munched on a grape sno-cone after the parade and said she planned to have an afternoon full of carnival rides.

Tatum’s mother, Kim, said this is a yearly event for her and her family. The Huntley resident said they always come for the parade and stay for the festival.

“There are a lot of fun activities here for the kids,” said Miller. “School just started and this is fun way to finish out our summer, see some friends, eat some food and have fun.”

Saturday afternoon’s agenda included an arts and crafts show, a horseshoes tournament and Melon Propellin’ competition.

Children ran after huge bubbles crafted by the festival’s bubbleologist.

The smell of popcorn, funnel cakes and cotton candy perfumed the carnival area while the aroma of barbeque, Chinese food and gyros lured festival-goers to the Main Stage.

Lake in the Hills Summer Sunset Festival schedule

11 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. Food Vendors / Beer Garden (Beer sales start at noon)
Noon to 10:30 p.m. Carnival
Noon to 4 p.m. Carnival ride wristbands
Noon: Bags tournament (Check-in at 11 a.m.)
Noon to 5 p.m. Business expo
1 to 5 p.m. Kids' Korner
2 to 4 p.m. Got Talent?
6 to 7:30 p.m. No Left Turn on the Main Stage
8:30 to 10 p.m. Modern Day Romeos on the Main Stage
9:30 p.m. Fireworks finale

Don Drzal, a member of the festival’s Food Vendor Committee, said before he became involved with the planning of the festival, he came for the music and the food but now enjoys what the festival brings to others.

“I love just being here and seeing the people come out with their friends and family and having a great time,” said Drzal.

The evening’s entertainment included music from 28 Days and 7th Heaven.

The festival continues through Sunday with the carnival and bags tournament starting at noon and a talent competition at 2 p.m. Performances by No Left Turn and Modern Day Romeos close the festival along with a fireworks show.

For festival information, visit

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