To help you locate some of this summer’s best events, McHenry County Magazine recently talked with officials and businesses from Lake in the Hills, McHenry, Lakemoor and Crystal Lake. The following is the second installment of our three-month Summer Night Life guide to highlight a few events and hot spots you won’t want to miss.
Lake in the Hills
The Lake in the Hills Summer Sunset Festival will provide entertainment for everyone, including popular bands and children’s workshops.
The festival will run from Friday, Aug. 31, through Sunday, Sept. 2, at Sunset Park, located at Miller and Albrecht roads. Events are free, except for carnival rides and food and drink stands.
Friday will mark the beginning of the carnival, with food vendors and the beer garden opening at 3 p.m., followed by a car show at 6 p.m.
The car show will feature classic and custom cars. Since no registration is required and space is limited, participants are encouraged to arrive by 5 p.m. Trophies will be awarded for many categories, including best in show and best engine, and everyone will receive a car show plate.
Billy Croft and The 5 Alarm, a country band, will perform from 6:30 to 8 p.m. on the main stage. Then, the band Mike and Joe will play alternative and modern rock from 9 to 10:30 p.m.
The Sunset 5K Run/2-Mile Walk, which will begin at 7 p.m., usually draws 400 to 500 participants, says Trudy Wakeman, director of parks and recreation for Lake in the Hills.
Awards will be given to runners in age categories, from those 10 and younger to seniors. In addition, all participants will receive a shirt and coupons for food and drinks.
A popular Saturday event is the Melon Propellin’ Competition, in which several competitors will shoot watermelons from their launchers.
About 200 spectators usually come out to see the watermelons launched, Wakeman says. The competition will start at 2 p.m.
Other Saturday events will include a parade at 10 a.m.; Kids’ Korner and a craft show at 11 a.m.; a horseshoe tournament at 12:30 p.m.; a skateboard competition at 1 p.m. (with check-in at 11 a.m.); and Battle of the Bands at 2 p.m.
“The No. 1 thing that makes our festival unique is the Kids’ Korner,” Wakeman says.
From 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., children will be able to participate in crafts, games, face painting, clown entertainment and other free activities.
Saturday’s activities will culminate with the band called 25 or 6 to 4, which plays music from the legendary band Chicago. The band will perform on the main stage from 9 to 10:30 p.m.
Events on Sunday will include a beanbag tournament at noon (with check-in at 11 a.m.); Kids’ Korner from 1 to 5 p.m.; rock group Libido Funk Circus playing on the main stage from 8 to 9:30 p.m.; and fireworks at 9:30 p.m.
“The spectacular fireworks on Sunday are always a crowd pleaser,” Wakeman says.
Men of Monday Night is a new raffle event in McHenry that will take place during the fall football season.
For $20, an individual can buy one of 200 raffle books from the McHenry Chamber of Commerce. Two winners will be chosen weekly during 17 weeks of football, and one winner will receive $100 during the Super Bowl, says Kay Bates, president of the McHenry Chamber of Commerce.
The books will produce weekly winners based on the third quarter score and will include coupons from area merchants.
“Our guys at the chamber have been after us for quite some time to do a guy event,” Bates says.
Books are available at the chamber or can be purchased at the kick-off party mixer from 5 to 7 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 14, at the Twisted Moose, 2616 Schaid Court, in McHenry. The mixer will include a strength training competition and a lounge chair contest — the winner will be whoever can recline the fastest.
Participants also can buy raffle tickets to win a grill from Ace Hardware or win access to a motorcycle for a weekend from the McHenry Harley-Davidson Shop, Bates says. Winners of these prizes will be announced Monday, Nov. 19, at a football party at Windy City Wings in McHenry.
Lakemoor Fest 2012 is another big event in the area. The festival will include carnival rides, bands and competitions from Friday, Aug. 10, to Sunday, Aug. 12, at Morrison Park, 233 W. Rand Road.
The first night will offer carnival rides and a beer and food garden from 4 to 11 p.m.; a hot dog eating contest at 7 p.m.; and Selective Recall, an ’80s retro band, from 7 to 11 p.m. Beer will be sold for $2 on Friday only.
For $2, children 15 years and younger can participate in a fishing derby at 9 a.m. Saturday. Those interested in registering for the derby or the hot dog eating context can contact Village Hall at 815-385-1117.
On Saturday, the beer and food garden will open at 10 a.m. and carnival rides will begin at noon. Other events will include a horseshoe contest for adults at noon; a beanbag tournament at 2 p.m.; Centerfold playing rock ’n’ roll music from 1 to 5 p.m.; fireworks at 9:30 p.m.; and JakTripper playing a variety of music from 7:30 p.m. to midnight.
Sunday highlights will include a carnival wristband special from noon to 5 p.m.; Rockin’ Fenderskirts playing oldies from 1 to 5:30 p.m.; tug of war at 2 p.m.; a treasure hunt for kids ages 3 to 12 at 4 p.m.; and a raffle drawing after 5:30 p.m. for a large, flat-screen TV and other prizes.
Duke’s Alehouse and Kitchen, 110 N. Main St., in Crystal Lake, offers an array of entertainment.
“Green Drinks” is a monthly social gathering participated in worldwide, says Zak Dolezal, Duke’s general manager, and 75 to 100 people usually attend the event at the restaurant.
Anyone who wants to talk about saving the earth and other green issues can attend at 5 p.m. the first Wednesday of every month.
On that day, Duke’s features a drink with a green focus, such as organic beer or a cocktail with seasonal ingredients, Dolezal says.
On Thursdays in August, a beanbag tournament will take place from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m., weather permitting.
“There will be prizes and giveaways for the players, as well as free hot dogs,” Dolezal says.
Anyone can participate in karaoke, starting at 10 p.m. on Fridays. And Duke’s Game Show will be take place at 9 p.m. Sundays to challenge guests to trivia.
Rick and Jim, a jazz duo, play from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. every Thursday. Flatland Ramble is another band in the lineup at Duke’s. The group, which plays bluegrass, folk and roots music, will appear from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 11.