ELMHURST – Businesses, bands, restaurants, service providers and a whole lot more are gearing up for the Elmhurst City Centre’s fourth annual Rock the Block Party, which is expected to draw thousands of people to downtown Elmhurst on Sept. 8 and 9.
“I love to see the huge crowds in downtown Elmhurst,” Christy Sopko, events coordinator for the Elmhurst City Centre, said.
“It’s just too great to have the whole area full of people that can see not only stores and the restaurants … that are here, but that can see just how pretty and cute the area is,” she said.
The free community festival will stretch along York Street from First Street to Second Street, with a stage on Schiller Street from 4 to 10:30 p.m. Sept. 8 and 11 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. Sept. 9.
New this year, the Elmhurst City Centre plans to have its landscape Christmas lights provider put on the lights that are in the trees around the perimeter of the event to create “a little more ambiance, a little more atmosphere” those evenings, Sopko said. The lights will be turned off after the event until the “holiday time comes,” she said.
Elmhurst City Centre also has expanded the family fun area to include some nonrestaurant merchants to sponsor more children’s activities, she said.
Advanced Orthodontic Specialists and Fruitful Yield are both participating for the first time this year and are providing entertainment for families.
Sarah Shaughnessy, office manager at Advanced Orthodontic Specialists, said their office will have a “dino dig” for younger children in which children will be able to look for “dinosaur eggs” in a kiddie pool; the eggs will hatch after being soaked in water to reveal the dinosaur within. Older children will have a chance to spin a prize wheel. Prizes for the two activities include plastic sunglasses, sticker tattoos, T-shirts and water bottles.
Shaughnessy said there will be about four staff members on hand at the Rock the Block Party, which gives them a chance to get out in the community and spend time with their Elmhurst patients in a different way.
“They’re part of our family,” she said of the patients who see Dr. Michael Bicknell.
Laurie Woznicki, Fruitful Yield’s assistant store manager, said the store wanted to start “getting more active” in community events.
The Rock the Block Party is one of the first Elmhurst City Centre events Fruitful Yield has participated in, though they have participated in health fairs for years, Woznicki said.
“We want families to know we’re here to support them,” Woznicki said. The store moved March 4 from 214 N. York St. to the Addison Parking Deck at 135 N. Addison Ave.
The store will provide a bags game, also known as cornhole, and a healthy, edible treat and also raffle off a basket of supplements, she said.
While some of the restaurants have been with the event since its first year, others are new this year, including Red Arrow Tap Room and One Fifty One Kitchen | Bar, Sopko said.
Bands and musicians this year include Valentine Bennett, Erik Donner, Wedding Banned and 7th Heaven, which are scheduled for Sept. 8, and School of Rock, American English, Summer Sun, ARRA and Sixteen Candles on Sept. 9.
“It’s really an event for the whole community and the whole neighborhood,” she said.
“Everybody can have fun at Rock the Block, whether you’re a little kid that wants to come and get your face painted for free and play some games and win a little prize, all the way to a person that has loved the Beatles since they were 10 years old and now they’re 75 years old,” Sopko said.
“They can come on Saturday afternoon and hear the best Beatles cover band in the whole Midwest, grab lunch and get something to drink if they want. It’s for the whole neighborhood, and it’s for all ages. It’s just fun.”
If you go
What: Rock the Block Party 2017
When: 4 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. Sept. 8 and 11 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. Sept. 9
Where: Downtown Elmhurst at the corner of Schiller and York streets