South Holland news

From block parties to Heritage Haul race, South Holland has family entertainment

2013-06-24T00:00:00Z From block parties to Heritage Haul race, South Holland has family entertainmentMary Ann Thornton Times Columnist
June 24, 2013 12:00 am  • 

The intentional efforts of municipal leadership and engaged citizens has fostered strong relationships and a tight-knit village of South Holland.

Leading this effort is the Neighborhood Groups Organizing Committee. This committee of 12 residents works closely with village officials to develop and implement programs and activities that encourage community engagement. The committee is hosting a Neighborhood Block Party free to all South Hollanders.

The Neighborhood Block Party is planned at Paarlberg Park, 172nd and Paxton, from noon to 4 p.m. Aug. 17. 

On Saturday evenings, the “Movies in the Park” event takes place at Veterans Memorial Park, 160th Place and South Park Avenue. Upcoming movies are “The Impossible” on July 20 and “The Avengers” on Aug. 31.

It was the recommendation of the Neighborhood Groups Organizing Committee, with full endorsement and support of the South Holland Village Board and officials, that brought “Movies in the Park” to Veterans Park in 2012. The community responded very well to this program, joining their family and neighbors in the park for a pleasant outdoor movie experience.

The committee is also known for developing what has become a town favorite — Heritage Haul half marathon, 10K and 5K race. Now in it’s eighth year, the “Haul” offers so much for the entire family. Runners, walkers, and now bicyclists, have their choice of 15-, 13.1-, 6.2-, 3.1-mile courses through beautiful neighborhoods and parks. Children are not excluded from this event, as the Kids Dash will continue to offer a chance to earn a ribbon for completing a challenging race and obstacle course.

This year, the event is scheduled at 7 a.m. Sept. 21 with a kickoff ceremony at Veterans Memorial Park. Village President Don De Graff and Valerie Warner, co-host of ABC’s "Windy City Live" morning talk show, kick off the event and then pin on their bib numbers as medal contenders. In fact, in 2012 Warner earned a third-place medal in the 5K race.

The “Haul” has seen a nice steady growth since it’s inception, and anticipates a greater level of participation with the inclusion of South Suburban College staff and students. Proceeds of the Heritage Haul will continue to benefit local youth organizations, including the Girl and Boy Scouts, South Holland Jets football and cheerleading and Little League organizations. A portion of registration fees collected from South Suburban College participants will benefit the college’s foundation.

While the Heritage Haul wraps up a summer series of events, South Holland’s Independence Day celebration is arguably the most anticipated celebration. The morning of July 4 commences with the annual Rib Fest Contest, sponsored by Rupari Foods, and the day just gets better and better. The event is expected to draw in several thousand throughout the day to enjoy camel rides, clowns, kids water balloon battle, live music, including contemporary Christian favorites performed by Atmosphere of Heaven, and more. The South Holland Municipal Band will perform patriotic melodies, preparing the audience for an amazing choreographed fireworks display, executed by Melrose Pyrotechnics.

These are just a few examples for community engagement in South Holland. Visit the village’s website,, to explore all the fun and entertaining opportunities planned throughout the year. There really is something for everyone.

The opinions are solely those of the writer. Mary Ann Thornton is communications manager for the village of South Holland. She can be reached at

Copyright 2014 All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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