What started out as a celebration for the end of a construction project has turned into a popular annual festival for Dyer residents.
This year, the Tenth Annual Hometown Celebration will be Sept. 7. It begins at 11 a.m. with about a dozen food booths and another dozen vendors, a beer garden and a DJ, said Bryan Lane, a member of the Hometown Celebration organizing committee member.
“It started with the opening of Calumet Avenue, and it went over well,” Lane said. “People wanted to make it an annual event, and it went from there.”
Dyer Town Manager Rick Eberly said the first event was held Sept. 12, 2004 when the Calumet Avenue construction project was completed.
“We cut the ribbon that day and opened the road, but throughout the course of the evening, people would come up and say it should be an annual event,” Eberly said. “It just really blossomed from there.”
The event is a smaller-scale version of the town’s Summerfest, which is a 4-day festival held in June. Last year, the event attracted about 5,000 visitors, Eberly said.
Police Chief David Hein said festivals like the Hometown Celebration are a good way for the police to interact with the community in a positive manner.
The department, which is made up of 25 sworn officers and 10 civilian staff, is dedicated to serve the community with pride.
“We believe that community involvement is the biggest part of a successful and effective police department,” he said. “We value our relationship and collaborative partnership with the residents and businesses of Dyer. We will continue to be a part of all community activities.”
The Hometown Celebration provides a wide range of entertainment options for kids of all ages, organizers said.
In addition to food and vendor booths, the beer garden and DJ, the car show is a popular attraction.
Registration for the car show, which is hosted by Thunder Road Productions, runs from 10 a.m. until noon and costs $20.
From noon until 1:30 p.m., Otis Wilson, member of the 1985 Chicago Bears, will be signing autographs. Wristbands for the autograph signing are available in advance for $10 at Dyer Town Hall. The event is sponsored by Christopher Burke Engineering.
The band BAM (Boys Are Mean) will be playing from 6 p.m. until 10 p.m. There will be a silent auction featuring items from the Chicago Bulls, Bears and White Sox.
“We have a lot of autograph stuff, including baseballs, rings, helmets, pictures and pucks,” Lane said.
There are plenty of events for children, as well, Lane said.
From 2 p.m. to 3 p.m., there will be a balloon-twisting class sponsored by It’s My Party, as well as a children’s dance performance by Room to Move at 3:30 p.m.
Dr. Jethroe Smith, DDS and Sandy will be co-sponsoring a donut hole eating contest with Dunkin Donuts at 5 p.m.
Dr. Smith said the donut hole eating contest is a great way to get people involved and keep them entertained.
“It’s just a fun event with great audience participation,” he said.
The first 5K fun run/walk will begin at 6 p.m. The walk is sponsored by the Dyer Community Foundation in support of Central Park.
At 9 p.m., Aurora Anaya will be putting on a fire-hooping performance.
Eberly said the event is a good way to celebrate the end of summer.
“Everyone seems to come out and have a good time and really enjoy it,” he said.