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Nugent to headline RidgeFest

RidgeFest returns Chicago Ridge from July 25 28.  |  Supplied photo

RidgeFest returns to Chicago Ridge from July 25 to 28. | Supplied photo

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Updated: July 18, 2013 11:08PM



One of the more popular summer events in the south suburbs is welcoming back the Motor City Madman.

RidgeFest, Chicago Ridge’s annual festival, will be July 25 through 28.

And on July 27, the afore-mentioned “madman,” guitarist Ted Nugent, will bring his searing brand of rock ‘n’ roll to Chicago Ridge.

“This is his third time here in six years. He likes it here. I guess it’s his kind of crowd. He packs the place,” said Chicago Ridge Mayor Chuck Tokar, who has been in charge of RidgeFest since its inception in 1989 when he was village clerk.

“We’ve tried to set it apart from a lot of the other festivals by having at least one major headline band each year. Some years, you can afford two. Some years, you only do one,” Tokar said.

The Lounge Puppets will play July 25 after Evolution opens. On July 26, Your Villian My hero opens for Infinity’s Journey Recaptured; Bad Penny and Rendition will open for Nugent; on July 28, Jin & Tonic and Rico Quinn will open for the Chicago tribute band called 25 or 6 to 4.

That’s followed by a fireworks display.

The idea behind RidgeFest — besides having a fun weekend — is to help nonpofit organizations in the village, he said.

“The main goal is to help them fund their operations,” he said.

The Chicago Ridge Athletic Association, American Legion Post 1160 and the men’s club from Our Lady of the Ridge parish run the beer garden and share in the profits, he said. Those groups working get a share of the profits which range from “$25,000 up to $50,000 in a great, great year,” Tokar said.

“The Boy Scouts sell hot dogs, the Cub Scouts have corn on the cob. And they do pretty well,” Tokar said.

Organizers have set up Super Sunday Family Fun Day which has free admission for Chicago Ridge residents. Nonresidents get in for $5 each.

“It’s kind of a community day. Lots of things to do for free and we do a cool fireworks show that night,” Tokar said.

Residents also can get a $5 discount on the July 27 $15 admission by buying tickets ahead of time at village hall. The limit is six discounts per household, and there’s only 1,000 available.

Admission is $5 July 25 and $10 July 26.

Magicians, clowns, face painters, carnival rides and other kid-friendly attractions are part of RidgeFest.

This year, in response to requests, the arts and crafts area is being expanded.

The carnival is a big draw. “People can get good pricing on the all-you-can ride special, so that works out really well,” Tokar said.

The Mega Pass is sold for $40 at the village hall before RidgeFest, and $50 at the gate. It allows admission and unlimited carnival rides all four days.

There’s also a $25 four-hour ride special from 6 to 10 p.m. July 25 and from 2 to 6 p.m. July 28. You can get a $5 off coupon at the village hall.

When RidgeFest started, the thought was it would be a one-time event.

“We’d done a few like this at 107th and Ridgeland when it was vacant back in the late ’70s and early ’80s, until we did the first RidgeFest in 1989 on the village’s 75th anniversary. It made enough profit that we used the money to buy a senior citizens van for $25,000 or so,” Tokar said.

RidgeFest is held at Freedom Park, located at Birmingham and Oak, two blocks east of 104th Street and Ridgeland Avenue.

More information is at (708) 425-7700 or www.chicagoridge.org.



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