FOX RIVER GROVE – Tom Burke’s 1964 Studebaker Commander was not the only classic car gracing the parking lot of Stone Hill Center in Fox River Grove on Saturday.
More than a dozen vintage vehicles served as a primary attraction to the Fox River Grove 95th Anniversary Celebration that was held in the parking lot and open green areas outside the shopping and restaurant plaza.
Burke, who frequently shows his vehicle at local car shows, said it was great to have a car show incorporated into a general festival to interact with a new crowd other than the same enthusiasts who attend shows on a weekly basis.
“It can definitely be an educational and fun experience who have never been to one,” Burke said of car shows. “A lot of people have heard of Studebaker cars but have never seen one so I always enjoy showing it.”
The car show, which was judged in part by village president Robert Nunamaker, was only part of a celebration that included live music, local food vendors, a local winery and pub and children’s activities such as pony rides and games.
It was the first festival of its kind in recent years for Fox River Grove, said event co-organizer Regina Petersdorff.
Petersdorff organized the event with five other people assigned to a committee by village leadership in November. While the celebration was partially arranged to recognize the 95th anniversary of the village, Petersdorff said it was primarily a trial run to see if similar events can be done on an annual basis.
“We really felt like it was time to do something like this and make it annual thing even if we switch up the themes each year. It doesn’t always have to be an anniversary,” Petersdorff said. “We’re optimistic it will be successful. We’re hoping for about 1,000 people.”
Jim Purcell, owner of Jimano’s Pizzeria, said events such as the 95th anniversary celebration help bring communities together, which is important for residents and businesses. Whether it is cruise nights, farmers’ markets or high school events, Purcell said he tries to serve up his food at every community gathering he can.
“Communities were built on small businesses, not giant corporations,” Purcell said. “Events like these are always important.”
Businesses such as Jimano’s Pizzeria are what makes Fox River Grove a hidden gem, Tom Price said.
Price, guitarist for Jennerator – one of three musical acts on the day – said as a Cary resident he knows a lot of people in surrounding communities who do not know about the great businesses in Fox River Grove.
He said he hoped the event could become an annual tradition to help increase exposure for the village and give his band another excuse to play outside.
“Playing outdoors is awesome,” Price said. “We’re cooped up all winter so we can never wait to get out and play these festivals.”