New Lenox Proud American Days kicks off Thursday

Michelle Mullins | 7/28/2016, midnight
A New Lenox traditions since 1984, Proud American days kick off today and run through Sunday.
Carnival rides are among the highlights of New Lenox's annual Proud American Days festival.

More than 30,000 people in the Lincoln-Way area are expected to enjoy the fun and festivities at this year’s Proud American Days.

The festival, which has been a staple in New Lenox since 1984, kicks off Thursday, July 28 and runs until Sunday, July 31 at 601 E. Lincoln Highway, just east of Walmart on the Route 30 corridor.

Carnival rides are expected to be a big hit with children, and unlimited ride wristbands will be offered for $30 per wristband per day which includes five hours of rides. A special wristband for younger children will be offered for $15 from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday.

The main stage features several live bands throughout the four-day festival. A cover charge of $7 will be charged after 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday. There will be no cover charge Sunday.

Live music has also been extended to begin at 1:30 p.m. on Saturday.

Among the popular events that will be returning are the annual baby contest and the New Lenox Fire Foundation’s Controlled Burn Beef Cook-Off fundraiser both on Saturday, said Lauren Lotz, spokeswoman for the New Lenox Community Park District.

This year, the New Lenox Fire Foundation will be donating its meat to the New Lenox Food Pantry, which recently acquired a large freezer.

New on Saturday will be the Proud American Day’s Craft Fair. The fair, which will be held from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., is free those who want to browse local artisans’ crafts.

On Sunday the annual military tribute will begin at 11 a.m. where members of the military and their families will be recognized.

“We are trying to fill the tent to give a proper recognition ceremony to past and present military ... to find a way to thank those veterans and current servicemen who keep us all safe,” Lotz said.

The classic car show will also take place from noon to 3 p.m. Sunday. Registration for the show is $15 on the day of the event, and all proceeds will benefit Misericordia, which helps people with developmental disabilities.

The festival has been a popular destination for families in the Lincoln-Way area and Will County, Lotz said.

“It is a safe and family-oriented atmosphere,” she said. “It brings such a sense of community to New Lenox. There’s always something for everybody.”

For more information, go to www.proudamericandays.org.

Photo: proudamericandays.org