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Algonquin Founders' Days festival celebrates 50th anniversary
by Andrew Steckling | Daily Herald Staff

Grace Markovitz, 6, of Algonquin gets a hug and kiss from dad Jim after taking the title of Little Miss Founders' at last year's Little Miss and Mister Founders' Pageant at Algonquin Founders' Days in Towne Park.

 

Laura Stoecker | Staff Photographer

Grace Teson, 7, of Crystal Lake pets a few goats at A Zoo To You petting zoo in Towne Park during last year's Algonquin Founders' Days.

 

Kevin Sherman | Staff Photographer

JOHN STARKS/Daily Herald 2009 Competitors leave the starting line the Founders' Run 5K and 10K during the last day of the 49th annual Algonquin Founders' Days festival.

 

John Starks | Staff Photographer

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Published: 7/22/2010 12:02 AM

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If you go

What: 50th annual Algonquin Founders' Days Festival, "All That Glitters is Gold: A 50 Year Celebration"

When: 5 to 10 p.m. today, 9 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. Friday, 1 to 10:30 p.m. Saturday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, July 22-25

Where: Towne Park, corner of routes 31 and 62

Cost: Admission is free today and Sunday. On Friday and Saturday, admission is $4 for adults and $2 for children 4-12.

Details: (847) 658-5340 or algonquinfoundersdays.com

The Algonquin Founders' Days is over the hill, or at least, right on top.

The annual festival, scheduled from Thursday to Sunday at Towne Park, at the corner of routes 31 and 62, reached its 50-year anniversary, which fair officials said will be present in the themed, "All That Glitters is Gold" celebration.

"It won't be the main focus of the festival, but we still intend to celebrate being present in this town as one of the most consistent festivals in the area," Kevin Myers, festival president, said.

Planned celebrations include inviting back all former festival presidents to take part in many of the scheduled events.

In all, 16 former presidents encompassing many years of the festival will be in attendance, according to Myers.

The four-day festival includes a carnival, the always popular fireworks display, a large selection of local, regional and national musical acts, including American English and Hi Infidelity, a two-hour long parade and a children's pageant.

Returning to the festival this year is a special two-hour event geared to children with physical or developmental challenges.

From 4 to 6 p.m. today, July 22, the free carnival will be open to those children and their families.

"This is one of my absolute favorite events. What we do is understand that carnivals are not inexpensive, nor are they really geared toward these children because of the excessive lines that can form behind a particular ride," he said.

"Opening the carnival two hours earlier essentially lets it become their playground for that time frame. It's a really great way to give back to the community," Myers added.

Festivities kick off at 5 p.m. on Thursday with free admission. Although an entry fee is required for admission on Friday and Saturday, a special Family Day on Sunday relieves that fee.

The Little Miss and Mr. Founders pageant, scheduled for 10 a.m. Sunday, is always a crowd favorite, according to coordinator and Founders' Honoree, Sue Bazdor.

She said children between the ages of 5 and 12 compete based on their public speaking ability, and are rated in five categories before the winner is selected by a panel of judges.

"It's really a way to get involved with the festival," Bazdor said. "Win or lose, all the children participating get to ride in the parade that weekend."

"I don't really like comparing it to a pageant, because it's not really about your appearance or any talent that you may have. It's more or less how you appear in front of an audience," Bazdor added.

For details, visit algonquinfoundersdays.com or call (847) 658-5340.