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Organizers find Park Palooza fills a niche for Elmhurst

ELMHURST – As the summer break comes to an end, the Elmhurst Park District will host its fifth annual Park Palooza from 5 to 10 p.m. Aug. 19 at Berens Park, 493 N. Oaklawn Ave.

Musicians, vendors and sponsors will be on hand at the family-oriented event that is meant to appeal to the community and be an “end of the summer bang,” said Pat O’Neill, community events and development manager for the Park District.

Park Palooza raises thousands of dollars for the People for Elmhurst Parks Foundation, which enables underprivileged children to pay for park district programs offered in the quarterly brochures, O’Neill said.

O’Neill said her favorite part of planning Park Palooza is listening to the bands that audition to perform at the event.

No Alternative, a rock and pop cover band, will perform at 8 p.m. after the event’s kickoff band, Second Time Around, performs from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.

“We have the most fun when our audience is having fun,” said Tony Elfers, guitar player and founding member for No Alternative.

The five-piece band’s picks range from the 1960s, such as The Beatles, to contemporary, such as Bruno Mars.

Lead singer Ryan T. Hope co-wrote “Agent Double Uh-Oh” for the “Sharknado 5” movie that came out this year.

“If it’s fun, up-tempo and it’s one of those songs that you know all the words, then it’s probably in our repertoire,” Elfers said.

O’Neill said she expects around 1,800 to 2,000 people to attend the event, unless there is bad weather.

“I’m looking forward to having a good crowd and a nice night,” she said.

Park Palooza is presented by the Schiller Team, Edward-Elmhurst Health and Courts Plus, which is providing a children’s obstacle course.

“We very much like to be involved in the communities that we serve,” said Diane McGinnis, director of community and government relations at Edward-Elmhurst Health, which donated to the event and will hand out educational materials at the event.

Tim Schiller, a managing partner at The Schiller Team real estate brokerage group based in Elmhurst along with his sister, Amy Schiller, grew up in Elmhurst attending park district events such as movies in the park. Now a parent, he wanted to help organize more events for the Park District. The Schiller Team is sponsoring Park Palooza again this year with Amy Schiller’s husband’s beer distribution company, Schamberger Bros., which will have a beer garden at the event.

“We love doing this kind of stuff for the community,” Tim Schiller said. “It helps our business, but it also helps us give back to the community we love.”

There will be face painting, children’s activities and several food trucks, including Barbeque Jim’s, Carnivale, Cupcakes for Courage, Happy Lobster Truck, Boo Coo Roux, Mario’s Cart, The Tamale Spaceship and Toasty Cheese, according to the event website.

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