A South Oak Park street festival-featuring musicians, food and a green theme-appears to be on the fast track toward happening in August.
The Berwyn City Council approved the event at its Tuesday meeting. The man coordinating the event says he just needs permits from Oak Park and the Illinois Department of Transportation.
Paul Zimmermann, president of the Roosevelt Road Business Association, is planning the event for Aug. 23, the Saturday before Labor Day. It would run from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and shut down Roosevelt from Oak Park to East Avenue.
The festival would include food booths from restaurants along both sides of Roosevelt: Salerno’s Pizza and Turco’s Italian Foods on the Oak Park side, Wishbone and Gina’s Italian Ice on the Berwyn side and even Forest Park’s Smokin’ M’s BBQ and The Depot American Diner in Chicago.
The Roosevelt Road Summer Spectacular Street Fair would also be green-themed, showcasing various environmentally conscious local businesses, Zimmermann said.
“That’s a very hot topic at the moment, and I think that will draw people to the fest,” he said.
He also plans to include musicians and family entertainment, from Wonderworks Children’s Museum on North Avenue, among others.
A consultant is putting together a street plan for Roosevelt Road, and Zimmermann hopes they’ll have a booth at the fest to tell the community about it.
Once Oak Park gives its approval for the festival, IDOT just needs to rubberstamp the street closure. Village Clerk Sandra Sokol said the village’s fire, police, health, law and public works departments all need to approve the event first. It does not need approval from the village board, but manager Tom Barwin has already given his seal of approval.
“I think it’s a great idea, both in bringing together members of the three communities (Cicero, too) and helping to attract a festival-like atmosphere to Roosevelt for a day during the summer,” said Village President David Pope.
Zimmermann’s plans to reroute trucks to 16th Street in Berwyn and other vehicles to Fillmore Street in Oak Park.
There will be alcohol offered at the event, but only at Fitzgerald’s beer garden, Zimmermann said. Bringing it out into the street would involve a different level of insurance. It’s possible liquor in the street could be looked at in following years, as he hopes to make the festival a yearly tradition.
“I think we’re just going to play it cool this year,” Zimmermann said. “We’ll see what happens in the future.”