ALGONQUIN – There are two times a year when Doctor Timothy Stirneman does not approve vacation requests at his Algonquin dental office. Pretty much the entire month of December, and the week of the Algonquin Founders’ Days Festival.
For the past 19 years, Stirneman, his family and the staff at All Smiles Dental have dedicated that weekend in July for team-building, volunteer work and the creation of some show-stopping parade floats.
“The week in March or April every year when we find out what the Founder’s Day theme, it’s like opening the envelope for Miss America – we can’t wait to get that envelope,” Stirneman said.
Stirneman and his crew have won 17 trophies for their floats during the past 19 years and spend months planning and preparing each year.
The many shiny gold prizes their efforts have earned fill the Algonquin-themed treatment room in Stirneman’s Merchant Drive office.
According to Stirneman, the keys to a great float are an uncomplicated design, easy to identify props, a sense of humor and some well-picked music to set the right mood for the mobile creation.
Although Stirneman has been active in the community since he opened his practice in 1995, the dentist wasn’t always a parade aficionado. He built his first float in 1994 to drum up support for the Algonquin Playground Project – a community initiative to build Angeltown Park.
“I saw how much fun it was, and we just kind of kept going,” Stirneman said.
The work that goes into a float is about 30 percent construction, 40 to 50 percent details – like painting, fabric, etc. – 10 to 15 percent costumes and people and five percent music, Stirneman said.
Some of the office’s most memorable entries over the years included some dentist cowboys roping rogue teeth, an under-the-sea-themed float, and a year when Stirneman’s then-grade school-age children dressed up as Sonny and Cher.
Although the float builders at All Smiles Dental are proud of their reputation as one of the best entrants each year, Stirneman said participation was not all about winning hardware.
“It’s just a lot of fun,” he said as he oversaw construction of this year’s float Monday evening in the parking lot behind his office.
A half dozen dental hygienists, dentists and a few family members worked to paint this year’s 80s-themed entry, which will not be unveiled until the parade. The group also will help to staff the festival’s kids games throughout the weekend.
“It’s also a great way to interact with the people in your community and the people that you do business with every day,” Stirneman said.
The happy work reflects the intentions of Founder’s Day. The festival was started in 1960 by a group of local businessmen who wanted to celebrate their community.
WHEN: July 24-27
WHERE: Algonquin Lakes Park, 1401 Compton Drive, Algonquin
COST & INFO: Features carnival, Cardboard Boat Regatta, Taste of Founders’, Social Garden, music, Illinois Battle of the Bands, a petting zoo, walks and runs and fireworks. Schedule: 4 to 10 p.m. Thursday, 9 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. Friday, 11 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. Saturday, 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday. Information: www.algonquinfoundersdays.com or 847-658-5340.
Following is a schedule of events for Algonquin Founders' Days:
Carnival for Special Kids, 4 to 6 p.m.
Cardobard Boat Regatta, 4 to 6:30 p.m.
Taste of Founders', 5 to 10 p.m.
Social Garden open, 5 to 9:30 p.m.
Gate opens, 5 p.m.
Carnival for all, 6 to 10 p.m.
Designated Driver Program, 6 to 9:30 p.m.
Opening ceremonies, 7 to 7:30 p.m.
Main Stage – Pirates Over 40, 7:30 to 9 p.m.
Algonquin Lakes Park closes, 10 p.m.
Founders' Market and Bazaar, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Dog & Cat Show, 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.
Children's Games, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Moonwalk, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
A Zoo to You Family Petting Zoo, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Taste of Founders', 11 a.m. to 10:30 p.m.
Bake Off registration/check-in, 11 a.m. to noon
Bake Off judging, noon to 1 p.m.
Carnival (wristbands $22), noon to 5 p.m.
Bake Off award presentation, 12:45 to 1 p.m.
Bike Decorating Contest, 1 p.m.
Gate opens, 5 p.m.
Pig Roast, 5 to 8 p.m.
Social Garden open, 5 to 10 p.m.
Designated Driver Program, 5 to 10 p.m.
Carnival (regular prices), 5 to 10:30 p.m.
Main Stage – Lava Rock, 5 to 7 p.m.
Bags Tournament, 7 p.m.
Main Stage - Lounge Puppets, 8:15 to 10:15 p.m.
Park closes, 10:30 p.m.
"The 80s Are Awesome" parade, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Gate opens, 1 p.m.
Taste of Founders', 1 to 10:30 p.m.
Carnival, 1:30 to 10:30 p.m.
Bags Tournament, 2 p.m.
A Zoo to You Family Petting Zoo, 2 to 7 p.m.
Social Garden open, 2 to 10 p.m.
Designated Driver program, 2 to 10 p.m.
Main Stage – HiFi Superstar, 2 to 4 p.m.
Stand Up Paddleboard Challenge (Riverfront Park), 3 to 7 p.m.
Parade Award announcements, 4:15 p.m.
Main Stage – Suburban Cowboys, 5 to 7 p.m.
Main Stage – 16 Candles, 8:15 to 10:15 p.m.
Park closes, 10:30 p.m.
Founders' Run check-in, 7 a.m.
Boy Scout Troop 151 Pancake Breakfast, 8 to 11:30 a.m.
Founders' Run 1 mile, 8 a.m.
Founders' Run 10K, 5K, 8:30 a.m.
Founders' 5K Walk, 8:40 a.m.
A Zoo to You Family Petting Zoo, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Kids Korner, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Baby Crawling Contest, 11:15 a.m.
Gate opens, noon
Caricature artists/face painters, noon to 4 p.m.
Taste of Founders', noon to 5 p.m.
Carnival (wristbands $20), noon to 8 p.m.
Social Garden open, noon to 4:30 p.m.
Designated Driver program, noon to 5 p.m.
Regional State Battle of the Bands, 12:30 to 5 p.m.
Family Olympics, 1:30 p.m.
Park closes, 5 p.m.
The Founders' Days Festival Fireworks Spectacular, 9 p.m.