Tinley Park’s Caribbean Block Party set for Sunday
BY GINGER BRASHINGER Correspondent July 15, 2014 7:10PM
Updated: July 16, 2014 2:10AM
A sort-of mini-Caribbean vacation is as close as Tinley Park this summer, courtesy of the village and its businesses.
The 16th annual Caribbean Block Party, from noon to 7 p.m. Sunday, will feature free rides, games and entertainment along Oak Park Avenue, from 171st to Hickory streets in the village’s downtown area.
“Generally, the history of the block party is that it’s a giveback to the community,” Tinley Park marketing director Donna Framke said about the popular summer event.
Inflatable rides, disc jockey service by Electric Blue Entertainment, photo opportunities, a bubble performer and a performance at 12:30 p.m. by Mr. D’s House of Magic all are part of the activities.
The Kidz Zone once again will feature the Bus of Fun, crafts and a giant sandbox. Students from Paul Mitchell the School Tinley Park will offer free hair braiding in the Kidz Zone for those who want to get the Caribbean look.
North stage entertainment will include South of Disorder, a Jimmy Buffett cover band, from noon to 3 p.m.; and Green Thirteen, which plays Top 40 hits, from 4 to 7 p.m. South stage entertainment will include Midnight, which plays music from the 1950s to the present, from noon to 3 p.m.; and Mr. Myers, a Caribbean rock band, from 4 to 7 p.m., according to a news release about the event.
Framke said the Caribbean theme began 16 years ago when some original Oak Park Avenue businesses, including Norman’s Cleaners, Ed & Joe’s Pizza and Bettenhausen Dodge (Bettenhausen Automotive), the “brain trust” of the event, chose it because Jimmy Buffett was appearing at the then-World Music Theater that week.
“The Caribbean theme was thrown out there ... and they ran with it,” Framke said.
Framke said the original objective remains — to keep activities free whenever possible. But some opportunities are too good to pass up. She said this year’s newest activity, the zip line, is one of those.
Framke said the village is working in partnership with Odyssey Fun World to bring the ride — which is 30 feet above ground, 150 feet long and includes a controlled landing — to riders for $8. It usually costs more than twice as much, she said. Riders must be 8 or older and weigh between 60 and 250 pounds.
One activity “that’s been there almost from the get-go,” Framke said, is the bean bag competition for all ages. Participants can register beginning at 1 p.m., and the tournament is to begin at 2 p.m.
Professional sand sculptor Brian Turnbough is to create a Caribbean-themed work of art during the event. In 2013, Turnbough and his partner took first place in the World Championships of Sand Sculpture in Atlantic City, New Jersey, with a piece titled “The Charge of Achilles,” according to the press release.
“Last year, Brian’s beautiful sand sculpture was the talk of the town,” Tinley Park Mayor Ed Zabrocki said. “We look forward to seeing what he has for us this year.”
Food and drink will be sold by a number of Tinley Park businesses; the Tinley Park Historical Society will be open for tours; and a Classic Car Show will be held in the Oak Park Avenue Metra parking lot.
According to the release, the Tinley Park Chamber of Commerce will hold a food drive to benefit Together We Cope and the Tinley Park Food Pantry. Attendees can drop off donations of nonperishable food items at the front of the chamber office, 17316 S. Oak Park Ave.
“What’s kind of neat about this event is that it becomes a kind of reunion of sorts for a lot of people,” Framke said. “It’s interesting in that it’s very community-centric, very popular and lots of fun, too.”
Free parking is available. Attendees can take a free trolley ride starting at 11:30 a.m. from the parking lot of the 80th Avenue Metra train station, 18001 S. 80th Ave. Pickup and drop-off will be every 15 minutes through 7:30 p.m.
“Summer only lasts for a short time, so come out to downtown Tinley and enjoy it while you can,” Zabrocki said.
For more information, call (708) 444-5678 or visit www.downtowntinley.com.