Homer Township, Homer Glen unite for celebration
By Matthew Bruce Correspondent June 25, 2011 9:42PM
People walk along 151st Street near Parker Road for the village of Homer Glen and Homer Township community parade Saturday June 25, 2011in Homer Glen, IL. The village is celebrating its 10th anniversary of incorporation and the township is celebrating its
Updated: June 27, 2011 9:27AM
It was a day of flowing pageantry followed by celebration as the pride of Homer Township and Homer Glen strut its stuff up Parker Road for the 12th annual Homer community Independence Day parade Saturday.
The two-mile processional, which featured 43 floats representing local businesses, elected officials and community organizations, was a familiar touchstone in the midst of an unfamiliar four-day festival toasting the town for a pair of milestone anniversaries.
Homer Glen, incorporated as a village in April 2001, is celebrating its 10-year independence mark, while the township is commemorating its 175th year.
“It’s time once a year where the community has an opportunity to really come together and show their pride not only in our community, but in America,” township supervisor Pat Meyers said. “They really come out and support these activities. There are a number of volunteers. People really dedicate their heart and soul.”
Hundreds of residents lined the streets for this installment of the annual parade, which is customarily held one week before Fourth of July weekend and pays tribute to America’s sovereignty,
This year’s celebration included a new wrinkle.
The morning parade usually has been flanked by a four-hour festival in a neighborhood park afterward. This year, in lieu of the communities’ anniversaries, Homer Glen and Homer Township came together to sponsor a full-scale, four-day carnival at 14400 W. 151st St., featuring rides, live music, fireworks displays and a magic show.
“We’ve been stunned and amazed,” said Debbie Stevens, office manager for the township’s highway department, who co-planned the event. “We’re just thrilled with the turnout.”
Event coordinators estimate the carnival drew about 1,500 people on its opening day Thursday and about 5,000 on Friday. Stevens expected an even bigger turnout for the carnival’s final two days.
It’s a welcome change for Homer Glen, a sleepy village that is slowly transitioning from a rural to more urban community.
“It’s got that small-town feel, people know each other,” said six-year resident Bill Dalmares, who moved from Chicago for the open space and scenery. “It’s definitely a lot different than living in Orland Park or wherever. You know people living in Homer Glen.”
Today’s carnival activities, lasting from 1 to 5 p.m., will be highlighted by the teen battle of the bands and the finals for the beanbag tournament.
“This is the first real fest for the community,” Township highway commissioner Michael De Vivo said. “It’s because of the two governments working together very closely. And that’s unheard of.”