Gurnee Park District thanks community for 50 years of Gurnee Days

Celebration Aug. 12-13 included rib-eating contest, bands, parade and more

Great Wolf Lodge was one of the entries in the Gurnee Days Parade.

GURNEE – The Gurnee community celebrated the end of summer with the 50th year of Gurnee Days on Aug. 12 and 13.

Aug. 12 started with the Gurnee Days Super 70s Race at Hunt Club Park. 107 runners or walkers enjoyed the morning with a 10K or 5K run. There also was the option to walk a 2-mile route.

Festival grounds at Viking Park opened at noon Aug. 12. The Gurnee Exchange Club’s Rib Fest and Rib Eating Contest was a crowd favorite. Gurnee’s Pat Muetz and Andy Harris took the coveted trophy for the second consecutive year.

Gurnee Days also hosted a Community Art Show in Viking Park’s Dance Hall. 254 artists submitted work. Art show judges were Mary Neely, Val Brandner and Jack Littlefield of the Lake County Art League. Congratulations to this year’s Community Art Show winners:

Best in Show

Eshelle Leeshan, Teen/High School (ages 14-18)

Youth (ages 5-9)

First: Kataleya Padilla

Second: Kathryn Martens

Third: Isabela Galang

Junior (ages 10-13)

First: Angela White

Second: Lily Fong

Third: Adamaris Lopez

Teen/High School (ages 14-18)

First: Jonathan Bautista

Second: Shayla Rodriquez-Bernal

Third: Kiara Maldonado

Adult (19 and older)

First: Priyanka Dasari

Second: Paula Ofenloch

Third: Tabitha Brost

Senior (65 and older)

First: Diane Gricar

Second: Mary Kissel

Live music and fireworks were a highlight of the weekend. Chicago-based rock ‘n’ roll band Ax and the Hatchetmen kicked off Gurnee Days. GooRoos rocked out before and after the fireworks show.

Gurnee Days traditions continued Aug. 13 with the car show and parade. Presented by North Shore Rods Inc. and McClure’s Garage, 230 cars drove into Viking Park. Congratulations to this year’s car show winners:

• Ray Petersen, 1974 Impala, people’s choice

• Mike Lucie, 1986 Buick Regal, Gurnee Fire Department choice

• Mike Flament, 1970 Chevy K10, Gurnee Police choice

• Andy Rodriquez, 1964 Impala, Gurnee Park District choice

• Louis Vassos, 1967 Mustang, Mayor Tom Hood’s choice

The parade celebrated the 50th year of Gurnee Days with a Super ’70s theme. Creativity was shown by local businesses and municipalities including the Gurnee Park District’s Slam Dunk float for FitNation Gurnee, Woodland School District 50′s tribute to 1970s music and Great Wolf Lodge’s fun with tie-dye. The parade was led by Gurnee Days honorees Mark and Rose Froseth. After the parade, guests enjoyed Patch 22′s petting zoo and pony rides, children’s activities, the Exchange Club of Gurnee’s beer garden and local vendor booths. School of Rock Libertyville took the stage and closed out Gurnee Days.

In support of the local business community, Gurnee Days provided local vendor booths. More than 20 local businesses were represented.

Thousands of visitors came to Gurnee Days and enjoyed ribs, local eats, music, fireworks and entertainment.

“It was truly a celebration. A celebration for the community with the community. Thank you to all our partners, staff and visitors for a memorable weekend,” Gurnee Park District Executive Director Susie Kuruvilla said in a news release. “Let the planning begin for 2024.”

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