Updated: July 23, 2014 6:25AM
A fireworks show set to dance music, carnival rides, local food vendors and the annual parade are among the highlights of this year’s Homer Community Fest.
The festival kicks off Thursday and runs through June 29 at the northeast corner of 151st Street and Crème Road. It is sponsored by the village of Homer Glen and Homer Township.
This year’s festival features more bands than ever before, Homer-area restaurants and a brand-new ride called “The Freak-Out,” which promises to be scary, fun and impressive, said Homer Township Clerk Linsey Sowa, a co-chair of the festival committee.
“The whole event celebrates our community,” Sowa said.
Special-needs children are welcome to a special closed event on the first day of the festival. This is the festival’s first Special Needs Day, and children can ride unlimited rides from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. Thursday in a relaxed environment with many of the carnival’s lights and music turned off or toned down, Sowa said. Families with special-needs children should preregister for the event.
Fireworks choreographed to music are set to go off Thursday night from the township’s sports fields. The theme for the show this year is “Dancing in the Park,” and dance selections from various musical eras will get people up and moving to the show, Sowa said.
A limited number of VIP viewing-area tickets to the fireworks show will be offered at $25 each. The cost includes refreshments and picnic food.
All-you-can-ride carnival ride bracelets are available from 5 to 11 p.m. Thursday and noon to 4 p.m. Saturday for $25 per day, and from noon to 8 p.m. Sunday for $30.
A “mega pass” for unlimited rides throughout the festival is $55 at the fest or $45 if bought through the Homer Township Highway Department before Wednesday.
Ten live bands are scheduled to play during the four-day event.
The parade, which has been a staple in the township since the 1980s, kicks off at 11 a.m. Saturday at 151st Street and Parker Road. It heads north on Parker Road, ending at Briarwood Drive.
This year’s parade is “A Salute to Old Glory” and offers a “throwback to Americana,” Sowa said. More than 35 entries have signed up, including local businesses, politicians, children, Scouts and first responders. The Midlothian Scottish Bagpipers are a new entry to the parade, as are players from the Joliet Slammers minor league baseball team.
After the parade, the fire trucks, highway department vehicles and more will head to the festival grounds for a “Touch a Truck” event, which will run until 3 p.m. Saturday.
For more information, visit www.homerfest.com.