New downtown Arlington Heights block party modeled off old one
Arlington Heights' annual downtown summer festival -- the Mane Event and Taste of Arlington Heights -- is no more, with its ending the result of the pandemic and a successful Arlington Alfresco outdoor dining zone.
The August fest also was partially a salute to the Arlington Million and horse racing at Arlington Park, but as of a couple of days ago, that's no more either.
In its place is Harmony Fest, a rebranded two-day downtown block party that kicks off tonight and replicates the old fest in many ways. And after this week's major announcement that Chicago's NFL franchise inked a purchase agreement for the Arlington Park property, it's likely Bears will be part of the local chatter instead of horses.
"(We're) very much looking forward to seeing friends and neighbors and relatives at Harmony Fest in downtown Arlington Heights within the borders of the Arlington Alfresco area," Mayor Tom Hayes said. "(It's a) forecast of great weather, and we're really looking forward to a celebration of an end of a great year and hopefully again finally turning the corner on the COVID-19 pandemic."
Hayes and other village board members agreed earlier this summer to wrap up Alfresco in late September and hold a finale event with music and food booths -- fashioned after the Mane Event and Taste of Arlington Heights, which were last held in 2019.
Harmony Fest, centered near Harmony Park at Vail Avenue and Campbell Street, will feature 50 vendor booths that include 18 Arlington Heights restaurants serving a variety of food and drink.
The fest will run from 5 to 11 p.m. today and noon to 11 p.m. Saturday. It's organized on night one by the village's special events commission, and night two by the Arlington Heights Chamber of Commerce, which is holding a business expo.
This year, there will be musical entertainment on two stages: the traditional main stage at Harmony Park, and a smaller stage at Campbell Street and Dunton Avenue.
On the main stage today, Rico! will perform at 6:15 p.m. followed by Mike & Joe at 8:30 p.m. Kids' activities and acoustic music from School of Rock will be on the side stage from 5 to 8 p.m.
Saturday's lineup will start on the main stage with cultural group performances at noon, School of Rock at 4:15 p.m., The Alright Maybes at 6:15 p.m., Serendipity at 7:15 p.m. and 7th heaven at 8:30 p.m. Musical performances on the side stage will begin at 1 p.m.
After their closures for Alfresco in March, the streets will finally reopen early Sunday once they've been cleared of all festival equipment, cleaned and approved for reopening by public safety personnel, officials said.