How fast can you eat two dozen pierogies?
That’s what the village of Lemont wants to know. It’s hosting a pierogi-eating contest Saturday as part of a weeklong celebration in honor of the 150th year anniversary, according to Jason Berry, economic and community development director for the village.
“The first 10 people who sign up will eat two dozen pierogies as fast as they can,” Berry said. “We’ll have a $100 gift card to Celina’s Fresh Market to whoever wins.”
Celina’s Fresh Market is making potato and cheese pierogies for the contest, Berry said.
While Berry anticipates Lemont’s residents will want to head downtown this weekend, the anniversary celebration should appeal to a wide variety of people.
This includes residents of Joliet and Lockport anyone hoping to experience more of Lemont’s “Lemontness,” Berry said.
“I think Lemont has a lot to offer that’s part of the Heritage Corridor and part of our region’s identity,” Berry said. “Places like Lockport and Joliet, our sister cities, all grew up together along the I&M Canal and share a quarry culture.”
Berry said the Pollyanna Brewing Company is honoring immigrant backgrounds with a special Lemont 150 Lager, “a European style lager, of course,” he said.
Local artist Joyce Affelt created the can art and brew sales will fund Village Green Park in downtown Lemont, according to the Lemont 150 website.
Live entertainment will include Lithuanian folk dancers, Slovenian Youth Group Marela Dancers and Irish dancers, because Lemont still has a large Irish population, Berry said.
The village of Lemont also worked with author Pat Camalliere to commission a booklet of Lemont’s history. Altogether Studios designed the booklet, which includes photos from the Lemont Historical Society, Berry said.
“I think Lemont has a lot of to offer that’s part of the Heritage Corridor and part of our region’s identity.”— Jason Berry, economic and community development director for the village of Lemont
Exploring the churches in Lemont is another way to explore Lemont history. Berry referred to the Seven Steeples of Lemont, seven unique churches that immigrants founded for worship in their native languages.
“They really tell the story of the immigrant culture and the hardworking culture that founded Lemont,” Berry said.
Berry said these include two Irish Catholic churches (St. James at Sag Bridge and St. Patrick Catholic Church), two German churches (St. Alphonsus Catholic Church and St. Matthew Evangelical Lutheran Church, Swedish Lutheran church (Bethany Lutheran Church), a Polish church (St. Cyril and Methodius Church), which holds eight Masses on Sunday with three of them in Polish, Berry said.
The churches also include the former home of the Lemont United Methodist Church, “the oldest stone church in the village, established in 1861,” Berry said.
Berry said members of that church built a new church in the 1970s and then gave the old building to the Lemont Historical Society. That building is now known as the Old Stone Church and the historical society will give free tours in June, Berry said.
“People can learn more of the history,” Berry said
For information, visit lemont150.com.
Highlights of Lemont’s 150th Anniversary Celebration
Earn a raffle ticket for every $50 spent at participating retailers.
Enjoy special menu items from participating bars and restaurants.
Lemont Legends Cruise Nights Car Show from 6 to 9 p.m. in downtown Lemont.
Lemont 150th Commemoration: 1:30 to 3 p.m., 322 Main St, Lemont. Features include an anniversary proclamation, speakers, dedication to the future Village Green park treats, giveaways. In the event of rain, location is the village hall boardroom at 418 Main St. Lemont
Lemont’s 150th Anniversary Fest: 1 to 6 p.m., Front St, Lemont. Food (ethnic and American), live entertainment including Lemont High School Band, Lithuanian folk dancers, Slovenian Youth Group Marela Dancers, Irish dancers; pierogi eating contest, children’s entertainment, carnival games, mining rocks activity, competitions, raffles, photo opportunities with Mr. Lincoln and Lemont’s 150th anniversary photo booth.