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Mane Event generates excitement
By Deborah Donovan | Daily Herald Staff

The band Libido Funk Circus has become a staple of the main stage at the Mane Event.



Francesca Castro, of Arlington Heights rides an inflatable pony at a previous year's Mane Event.



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Published: 6/24/2009 12:02 AM

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While being a real horseman is expensive, you can pretend for free at the Mane Event.

Considered a kickoff for the next day's Arlington Million, the year's biggest day of racing at Arlington Park, the Mane Event festivities run from 5-10:30 p.m. Friday, Aug. 7, at Campbell Street and Vail Avenue in downtown Arlington Heights.

It gives Arlington Heights residents a head start on excitement over the big race.

Rather than sleek thoroughbreds, the horses here are real ponies that kids can ride and inflatable ones to race, said Dave Shindoll, chairman of the special events commission for Arlington Heights.

"They're human powered," said Shindoll. "It's like a blowup bouncy toy that you sit on and bounce around on."

The annual event is designed to attract families, with children's activities like balloon sculptors and a bouncy house.

Admission is free to the "Million Dollar Block Party," which usually attracts crowds in the neighborhood of 10,000.

Traditional street festival activities include music in Harmony Park, located right at party central, Vail and Campbell.

This year's headliner is the Libido Funk Circus, which prides itself on playing just about any rock-era song ever written.

Other performers are the Metropolis Rock Band and the Metropolis Youth Symphony.

About 15 local restaurants will sell food, of course. And an estimated 60 members of the Arlington Heights Chamber of Commerce will set up displays and hand out small gifts and information.

Campbell and Vail are blocked off, and everything occurs from the parking garage on Vail Avenue south to Davis Street and on Campbell from Dunton Street west to just past Highland Avenue.

The party is sponsored by the Village of Arlington Heights, the chamber and the racetrack.