Organizers of the 2011 St. Francis Summerfest say the evening celebration serves two purposes — raising money for St. Francis Xavier School, and bringing the Chicago tradition of block party fun to Wilmette.
The fifth annual Summerfest is scheduled to take place this year on Aug. 27 at St. Francis School, 808 Linden Ave., in the school parking lot at Linden and Ninth Street.
“There are so many of us who now live on the North Shore and raise our families here who used to live in the city. And for a lot of us, summer in the city meant the fun of street festivals and Chicago’s great outdoor block parties,” event volunteer Jennifer Marino said last week.
“Summerfest brings that sense of a Chicago outdoor block party — of enjoying music and good food, hanging out with old and new friends — to where we are now.”
The first festival was organized by a group of school parents who missed being able to attend Chicago-style block parties. They hoped only to recoup their expenses, and were surprised to find the event actually made money, Marino said.
Subsequent years continued to raise money for the school, and attendance increased in 2010, when organizers moved it from June to August.
“Now it’s a time for one last hurrah before school starts,” Marino said.
Last year Summerfest raised an estimated $12,000 last year to support a variety of school programs. It has also successfully attracted attendance from beyond Wilmette, Marino said.
“Last year, the attendance was quite impressive, as it drew more than 500 people from across the North Shore,” she said. “While we don’t have an attendance goal, organizers are anticipating at least that many, or more, especially given the highly popular musical acts who are performing.”
Tickets for Summerfest, which is open to everyone 21 and over, are $45. Events are scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. at the school, and the ticket includes a dinner featuring food from Backyard BBQ Store and other local restaurants, as well as beverages courtesy of Glunz Beer and Mullarkey Beverages.
This year’s musical headliner will be Gentlemen of Leisure, and the opening act will be Platform 29. Summerfest will take place in the school gymnasium in the event of rain. For more information, access the St. Francis Xavier website, sfx-school.org, or call (847) 256-0644.