A carnival will again be a major attraction during this year's Proud American Days festival in New Lenox. For the first time, credit cards will be a payment option for carnival wristbands and tickets for a $2 fee. | Submitted photo
Updated: August 26, 2014 6:45AM
What started out in 1984 as a couple of guys, a tent and a keg has turned into one of the largest summer festivals in the Southland.
More than 30,000 people are expected this weekend for the annual Proud American Days in New Lenox.
The festival, hosted by the New Lenox Park District, runs through Sunday and features a carnival, car show, military tribute and numerous other activities.
Organizers said there will be a variety of new food vendors. As part of the military tribute, Makena Hartlin will perform “Proud To Be an American.” Hartlin is a New Lenox resident who has performed with Lynyrd Skynyrd, John Michael Montgomery and others.
Park district spokeswoman Lauren Lotz said the fest will have better parking this year, and those attending will be able to use credit cards for carnival wristbands and tickets for a $2 service fee. Unlimited ride wristbands are $25 each; tickets are $1 each.
“We’re trying to make (the purchases) a little more convenient,” Lotz said.
She said the entertainment lineup at Proud American Days will stay the same as in recent years. Friday will feature Hairbangers Ball from 5 to 11 p.m.. Saturday is Dave Rudolf’s Beach Party at 1 p.m., followed by Lucky Town
and Infinity from 5 p.m. to midnight. Those two nights each have a $7 cover charge.
On Sunday, Stellar Road plays from 5 to 9 p.m. with no cover.
The full list of festival activities is available at www.proudamericandays.org.
They include a baby contest, family bingo, kids games, contests and a teen battle of the bands. Sunday morning will have coed sand volleyball for ages 12 to 17 for those who can show up by 8:30 a.m.
No festival would be complete without a cook-off. The New Lenox Fire Protection District Foundation is conducting its “controlled burn” beef cook-off during the fest.