CRYSTAL LAKE – Sarah Barnard was one of many McHenry County residents who said her and her family go to the Lakeside Festival in Crystal Lake every year they can.

“It’s always a good time,” said Barnard, who came out with her children and her mom. “The children have been riding rides all day. It gets everybody together and it’s nice having the live music and adults can enjoy it too.”

Cary resident Shari Simpson said she also makes an effort to return every year.

“We’ve been definitely enjoying the drinks and the unlimited rides for the kids,” Simpson said.

The festival, which was held at Lakeside Arts Park at the Dole Mansion in Crystal Lake, started Thursday and will go until Sunday night. The four-day event features live music, rides, games and plenty of food and drinks on the near 80-degree day.

Siobhan Cottone, the executive director of the Lakeside Legacy Foundation, said this is the 38th year of the festival.

“It’s a very family-friendly event for all ages from toddlers to seniors,” Cottone said. “There’s something for everybody and we have fabulous food vendors here.”

Vendors included Galloway’s Chicago Subs, Crystal Lake Brewing, Buena Vista Restaurant, Plum Garden and Georgio’s Chicago Pizzeria and Pub among many others. Attendees were walking around with slices of pizza, fresh squeezed lemonade and massive funnel cakes. Beer also was available for the adults.

“I’m from Crystal Lake originally and we came out here for a good time,” Wonder Lake resident Emily Foerster said. “It’s a really nice day and we like the food.”

Mascots from the Chicago Cubs, Chicago Blackhawks and Chicago Wolves came out to entertain the families who attended. Rides also were available for children and thrill seekers such as The Sizzler and a Ferris wheel.

Different musicians performed throughout the weekend including local band Dangerous JOEs.

“There’s also a bags tournament and tours of the Dole Mansion,” Cottone said. “What’s exciting about that is there is an exhibit where Bin Feng is here to talk to our guests about his artwork.”

Proceeds from the event go to the Lakeside Legacy Foundation to help support art programs and their operational budget. The festival serves as the Lakeside Legacy Foundation’s largest fundraiser of the year, Cottone said.

“It’s really exciting and it’s a momentous years for us because we’re celebrating the foundation’s 15th year anniversary,” Cottone said.

Cottone said they’re running an additional campaign to raise more funds.

“If anyone can just donate their loose change or dollars that helps with some of the costs for our foundation,” Cottone said.

People can donate by going to www.lakesideartspark.org.

Lakeside Festival will continue from noon to 10 p.m. Sunday.


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