Lake Zurich’s Alpine Fest is almost here and set-up has already begun.
This year marks the 70th year since the first Alpine Fest, celebrated in 1942, to mark the victories of World War II.
The community celebration was started by the Lake Zurich volunteer fire department and the Lake Zurich Lions Club sold pop and beer. In 1944 the Lions Club took over the event, said Footloose Frank, longtime organizer of the event.
New this year is the water fights, which the community hasn’t seen since 1983.
Fire departments from the area will fight each other on Friday at 6:30 p.m, and on Saturday, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m, local businesses will have water fights.
Besides all the carnival rides and games, a highlight for kids this year will be the Lake County Fire Chiefs Safety trailer, which will be at Alpine Fest from 9 a.m to 5 p.m., Saturday. Kids will have the opportunity to learn fire safety in a fun, interactive way.
On Saturday, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m, the Community Blood Drive will be held.
Throughout the festival, the Ela Historical will hold an open house featuring a display on the Palatine, Lake Zurich & Wauconda railroad.
Alpine Fest is prepared for any weather with a huge entertainment tent, 80 feet wide by 240 long, and there are six bands lined up from Friday through Sunday.
The highlight of the day on Sunday is the Alpine Fest parade, dubbed the biggest parade in Lake County. Frank said the parade received that designation from the county board some years ago. The parade starts at 11:30 a.m., from Ela Road and Route 22 and proceeds north on Main Street through downtown. The parade has about 90 participants this year and is expected to last an hour and a half.
Alpine Fest is expected to attract about 25,000 people over the weekend. Proceeds from the event go to support Lions Club charitable activities.
“We basically want families to come and enjoy themselves. Things are priced in such a manner that there’s a little profit, but not 200 percent like other carnivals,” Frank said.
Admission to Lions Park is free, but there is a $5 charge to enter the entertainment tent. On both Saturday and Sunday from 1 to 4:30 p.m., children can purchase wristbands for unlimited carnival rides for just $16 with a Lions Club coupon.