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Cicero's American Fest to celebrate heart of summer with music, fireworks

Nicholas Mastin of Chicago plays Hoop Shots during a past American Fest in Cicero.
Nicholas Mastin of Chicago plays Hoop Shots during a past American Fest in Cicero.

CICERO – Cicero’s American Fest this week will include the new – Ferris wheels and lamb tacos – as well as the returning, such as a popular ZZ Top tribute band.

“We’re anticipating a good crowd,” said Ron Schneider, bass guitarist and singer for ZZ Top tribute band Eliminator, the supporting headliner scheduled for July 1.

Patricia Sturdevant, director of special events for the town of Cicero, said Eliminator is a “very popular band” at the four-day festival, which usually draws 50,000 to 80,000 people each year.

“They always go over very well,” Sturdevant said.

This will be the third year Eliminator, whose members have real beards, has performed at American Fest, and the Chicago area-based band has played all over the country as well, Schneider said.

American Fest, which Cicero has held annually for more than a decade, will feature a new headliner each night, including Libido Funk Circus on June 28 and 7th Heaven on July 1, Sturdevant said.

“Each night we try to have a larger band, “ she said of the headliners.

On July 1, before 7th Heaven, Sturdevant said it’s a tradition to have “a band that’s really well known,” which this year is Eliminator.

American Fest will run June 28 through July 1 at the Cicero Fairgrounds at 34th Street and Laramie Avenue. It will be 5 to 11 p.m. June 28 and 29, as well as noon to 11 p.m. June 30 and July 1, she said. Live music is scheduled to start at 6:30 p.m. June 28 and 29 and 2 p.m. June 30 and July 1.

Eliminator is slated to perform 6:15 to 7:45 p.m. July 1, followed by 7th Heaven from 8:30 to 10 p.m.

At 10 p.m. July 1, the event will have a roughly 30-minute firework display, Sturdevant said.

“This is our Fourth of July celebration,” she said of American Fest.

New at the festival this year are two Ferris wheel rides and some new food vendors, such as a restaurant that is serving up lamb tacos, Sturdevant said.

For the first time, there also will be carnival ride mega passes – good for all four days – available for purchase, she said. Rides also can be purchased individually and at a daily rate.

The fest will include entertainment for children, including small acts such as a stilt walker and juggler who walk around, from 6 to 8 p.m. June 28 and 29, about 2 to 5 p.m. June 30 and throughout the day July 1, Sturdevant said.

Admission to American Fest is free, and carnival rides and food purchases are cash only, she said. Free parking for the fest is available in the north and south lots of the Cicero Fairgrounds.


If you go

WHAT: American Fest

WHEN: June 28 through July 1

WHERE: Cicero Fairgrounds, 34th Street and Laramie Avenue, Cicero

COST: Free admission


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