Plans underway to bring back Buffalo Grove Days festival this year

  • Roller coaster riders enjoy the Wacky Mouse ride at the last Buffalo Grove Days festival, held in 2019. Officials are finalizing plans to hold a modified version of the late summer festival in 2021.

      Roller coaster riders enjoy the Wacky Mouse ride at the last Buffalo Grove Days festival, held in 2019. Officials are finalizing plans to hold a modified version of the late summer festival in 2021. Paul Valade | Staff Photographer, 2019

 
Updated 4/7/2021 6:29 PM

Buffalo Grove is inching closer to finalizing plans to hold its Buffalo Grove Days late summer festival with modifications to keep volunteers and attendees safe.

Village Public Works Director Mike Skibbe said Monday that his staff has been working with the Buffalo Grove Days Committee and Buffalo Grove Park District leaders to explore ways to resume the event, which was canceled in 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

He said three building blocks are falling into place: a carnival at Mike Rylko Park, a concert series at Willow Stream Park, and fireworks either on Saturday or Sunday night of Labor Day weekend.

"We're cutting back on the expectation for revenue," he said, "and then attempting to align our expenditures within that window, to hit the $30,000 mark, which is what was budgeted for Buffalo Grove Days this year."

Using the band shell at Willow Stream Park to host concerts eliminates the expense of setting up a stage on the festival ground at Mike Rylko Park, Skibbe said.

"We think there's opportunities at both Willow Stream Park and potentially Mike Rylko to have food trucks available," he added.

Trustee Gregory Pike asked about sharing liquor sale revenue with the Buffalo Grove Lincolnshire Chamber of Commerce.

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"As of right now, it doesn't appear that they're issuing liquor licenses for festivals," Skibbe replied. "But we assume that that is going to change, and that's one of the governor's guidance issues that might come out later this year. If that's the case, hopefully there will be an avenue to proceed with some sort of liquor and beverage sales."

Trustee Lester Ottenheimer III said he liked the idea and singled out fellow Trustee Eric Smith for his optimism about the festival's return in 2021.

"Trustee Smith's crystal ball was correct, that we are going to have something this summer," Ottenheimer said.

Village President Beverly Sussman said her only concern is the recent spike in COVID-19 cases in the area. "I hope we don't reach a point where Gov. Pritzker says, again, no carnivals," she said.

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