Updated: October 15, 2012 9:24AM
This year’s Autumn in the Park Festival in Palos Park has been enhanced and expanded to include more food, fun and entertainment and more time to enjoy it all.
The fun will kick off at 11 a.m. Sept. 15 with the annual parade along 123rd Street. There will be marching bands from five local schools, police and fire trucks, members of the community and grand marshalls the Rev. Frank and Blanche Sanders from the Center in Palos Park.
Officials said there will be plenty of candy to catch along the route from 82nd Avenue to 8901 W. 123rd St. The parade will end in time for the festivities at the Palos Park Village Green for the expanded Autumn in the Park.
The eighth annual chili cook-off is sanctioned by both the International Chili Society and Chili Appreciation Society International. Prizes will be awarded in several categories, and the winner is eligible to advance to the Last Chance Cook-off.
For you fest-goers who don’t cook, they can sample the chili and vote for favorites for the People’s Choice Competition.
Also, a barbecue rib competition will debut at the fest. Smoking hot grillers will be fanning the flames to see who has the best-tasting baby back ribs in town. Prizes will be awarded for the top three ribs rated by taste, tenderness and appearance.
Fest-goers again will have the opportunity to sample and vote on the best barbecue ribs at the festival.
Attendees also will have plenty of foods to fill up on from food vendors including Aurelio’s Pizza, Azteca Catering, Frangella’s, Hunan Inn, Plush Horse and Zacarelli’s Pizza to fare from the Palos Lions Club and LIONS and Palos C.O.P.S.
“Make sure to bring your appetite because there’s something for everyone to eat and enjoy,” officials said.
Activities for all ages include a petting zoo, pony rides, hayrack rides and children’s games. New this year for ages 10 and older is Eurobungy featuring jumping and bouncing.
For teens, WKSC-FM (103.5) will do a live broadcast. There also will be the chance to meet Miss Teen Illinois Claudia Maka and participate in activities in the Teen Hangout area.
For seniors, there will be bingo from 2-3 p.m. in the Palos Park Recreation Center.
For men, what could be better than the Sports Cave where they’ll be able to watch and cheer for their favorite college football teams on the big-screen television.
For ladies and all who enjoy shopping and fine art, there will be the Arts Colony Area with exhibits and demonstrations sponsored by the Palos Fine Arts Club and the McCord Gallery & Cultural Center. Another new event in this area will be the Cooper’s Hawk wine tasting for ages 21 and older to taste and purchase some fine wines.
Performing bands will include a local jazz band, the popular local teen group the Bolts in the afternoon and Libido Funk Circus in the evening and playing popular dance and rock songs from the 1960s to now. This entertainment will be in the main tent along with refreshments for the 21-and-older crowd from our beer, wine and spirits area.
Parking will be available at several off-site locations including the Palos Park Metra parking lot, 12 rd Street and 82nd Avenue,; Palos Park Presbyterian Church, 12312 S. 88th Ave.; and the village courtyard, 8301 W. 123rd St. A free trolley will run every 10 minutes from 1-10:30 p.m. to transport attendees to the fest.