Festival in Franklin Park's Blueberry Hill Park bigger every year

| Wednesday, June 18, 2014, 9:00 p.m.

The Festival in the Park in Franklin Park has gotten bigger every year with games, food, inflatables, entertainment and a fireworks display.

“Everybody who comes to the festival has a fantastic time,” said Ambrose Rocca, Franklin Park's borough manager. “I think that both the adults and children look forward to the fireworks.”

This year's event, the 29th annual festival, is June 28 and will begin at 4 p.m. instead of 2 p.m., as in the past, because most people have come to the festival later in the day, said Rochelle Barry, the borough's recreation program director.

“We made it a little bit further into the evening so people can go to the pool or do something during the day and then come hang out with us afterwards,” Barry said.

The festival will open with the JJ Bickle band, and the band Shades of June will play for the rest of the evening. Other attractions include a canine demonstration from the Franklin Park Police Department and Coach Dave Gray's Ultimate Fun Zone, which will feature sports activities, Barry said.

Festival admission, which concludes with fireworks at 9:30 p.m., is free, Barry said.

“It's something different to do, and it doesn't cost a lot,” Barry said. “So come out and bring the family.”

There will be inflatables for children; face painting; and bingo for people of all ages with prizes such as movies, candles, and bath and body products, Barry said.

Many fixtures of the Franklin Park community, such as nonprofit organizations, instructors from different camps and the Northland Public Library, will have representatives set up in a pavilion to promote activities, Barry said.

“It's a big way to meet other people and see what options are out there in the community,” she said.

The food vendors will sell items such as funnel cakes, kettle corn and wood-fired pizza, as well as hot dogs, hamburgers and pulled pork, Barry said.

When the festival began in the 1980s, it was held in conjunction with Memorial Day Weekend. About 12 years ago, the festival was moved to the end of June, Rocca said.

About 1,500 residents attend the annual festival, Rocca said.

“Come and meet your neighbors,” Rocca said.

“Celebrate the fact that we're all Franklin Park residents, and we have a great community.”

Melanie Donahoo is a freelance writer for Trib Total Media.

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