Events abound in the south suburbs this summer and beyonnd

2014-05-24T00:00:00Z Events abound in the south suburbs this summer and beyonndPaul Czapkowicz Times Correspondent
May 24, 2014 12:00 am  • 

South suburban residents will have little excuse to be bored this summer with a multitude of events and activities planned.

Lansing will be among the most active communities.

"We do three cruise nights in the summertime, and our first one is Saturday, June 14," said Jo-Ellyn Kelley, vice president of the Lansing Association for Community Events.

Others will follow on July 12 and Aug. 2, as visitors will be able to view classic cars from 6 to 10 p.m. on Ridge Road between Burnham and Wentworth avenues.

The Lan-Oak Park District has several big events planned at the Park Plaza, located at Ridge Road and Grant Street in Lansing.

John Wilson, director of parks and recreation for the Lan-Oak Park District, said events at the plaza have grown over the last several years and so hours have been extended to accommodate the larger crowds.

The first event at the plaza will be a Carousin' and Cowpokin' night from 5 to 8 p.m. on June 21.

That will include a mechanical bull to ride and carnival games with a western theme.

An Evening of Midsummer Magic will take place from 5 to 8 p.m. on Aug. 9 at the Park Plaza.

In addition to a magic show, Wilson said "magical characters" such as Cinderella will be on hand.

On Aug. 15, music and food lovers can enjoy a Blues & BBQ event from 6 to 9:30 p.m. at the Park Plaza.

A September Smash will also take place at the plaza, from 5 to 8 p.m.  Sept. 20.

Outdoor games, a photo booth and a rock climbing wall will highlight this back-to-school event for which children are encouraged to wear their school colors.

Other Lansing happenings will include the village's annual Fourth of July festival that begins at 5 p.m. July 4 in Lan-Oak Park, 178th Street and Oakley Avenue, and concludes with fireworks around 9:15 p.m.

Additional events planned in Lan-Oak Park include a Community Garage Sale that will kick off at 9 a.m. July 19 and a movie in the park on Aug. 1, as "Despicable Me 2" will be begin at approximately 8:30 p.m.

On July 25 and 26, bicycling enthusiasts can take part in "The Loop," a second annual overnight bike ride sponsored by the Lansing Area Chamber of Commerce.

Riders can register starting at 7 p.m. July 25 at the Park Plaza, but a reduced registration fee can be had by registering in advance at the chamber website.

"We have a sunset ride at 8 p.m. and then the overnight ride starts at 10:30 (p.m.)," said Dr. Renee N. Hale, executive director for the Lansing Area Chamber of Commerce.

Continental breakfast will be served at 1:30 a.m. July 26 at the Park Plaza, following completion of the overnight tour.

Calumet City will also be a happening place this summer, starting with the annual Freedom's Eve celebration to be held at Thornton Fractional North High School on July 3.

"We've been doing that event since 1997, and this year we're expanding it to its largest scope ever," said Gene Popa, community supervisor for the Calumet Memorial Park District.

The event will start at 2 p.m. and will end with a fireworks display at 9:30 p.m.

Food vendors, carnival rides and live bands will all be part of the celebration at which Popa said Radio Disney will be on hand to entertain children.

On Sept. 1, the city's annual Labor Day parade will start at 10:30 a.m. and travel down Wentworth Avenue from Michigan City Road to the Memorial Park District at 612 Wentworth Ave.

The city's annual mini-marathon and 5K run will begin at 8:30 a.m. Sept. 14 at the Memorial Park District.

Popa said the city started the race in 1973 and that 500 runners is a typical number of participants.

"The mini-marathon is 13.1 miles throughout Calumet City," Popa said.

Homewood also has plenty scheduled and has already begun hosting its Farmers Markets, which will involve multiple produce vendors and will take place from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturdays through Oct. 11 in the Village Hall parking lot.

"We plan on having live music and family entertainment every week," said Allisa Opyd, community events manager.

Homewood's Art & Garden Street Fair is a two-day event that will take place from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on both June 13 and 14.

"This is a very big event here in downtown Homewood," Opyd said. "We have incredible artisans that are going to be there."

Activities on June 13 will be largely focused on children, including a musical performance by Justin Roberts and the Not Ready for Naptime Players.

Both days will feature vendors selling flowers, jewelry and various works of art.

A wide variety of food will also be available for purchase from participating local restaurants.

A highlight on Saturday will be a performance by Homewood's own ScribbleMonster, a group that blends children's music and improvisational comedy.

On July 4, the village's annual Fourth of July parade will start at 11 a.m. from the parking lot of St. Joseph's Church on Dixie Highway and turn east on Ridge Road to the Izaak Walton Preserve, where a festival including food and activities for children will take place from noon until 3 p.m.

Homewood's Dog Days of Summer block party event will take place from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Aug. 16 on Ridge Road, between Harwood and Martin avenues.

A pooch parade in which man's best friend will be judged in various categories will occur at 11 a.m.

There will be games, musical entertainment and food available for purchase throughout the day.

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