In an effort to bring back a large-scale summer event, North Riverside hosted its first-ever village block party on Saturday, July 30.
From 1 to 9 p.m., locals flocked to Desplaines Avenue to enjoy an afternoon and evening of eating, listening to music and socializing with neighbors.
The “Biggest Block Party on Desplaines” included events for all ages, from carnival games for kids to a classic car show and beer and wine tasting for adults. North Riverside’s newest restaurant, Miller’s Ale House, was on hand serving cheeseburgers, ribs and chicken wings.
Live music was provided by rock n’ roll band The Neverly Brothers, country music group StateLine Band and ’70s and ’80s band Dick Diamond and The Dusters.
Teresa Michalik, director of parks and recreation, said the block party idea was a response to resident demand for a summer fest. North Riverside, which for years hosted a large Fourth of July party, had not held such a large summer event for nearly 10 years.
“We needed to bring back a fest, especially since July 4 had kind of tapered off,” she said.
After advertising through Facebook and the marquee in front of the Village Commons building, Michalik said many residents were excited about a new village tradition.
“There’s been a buzz about it since the beginning,” she said. “We want to be the recreational hub for the local communities.”
Program Coordinator Bryant Rouleau said the event was a way to introduce new residents to North Riverside’s small community feel.
“Our town is becoming a younger town again, so it’s about getting the younger families out, getting them involved and helping them find out about North Riverside,” he said.
North Riverside resident Pricilia Runquist said she was happy to bring her husband and three children to the inaugural event.
“It seemed like something new and fun,” she said. “It’s nice to have all the families come together and enjoy the neighborhood.”
Longtime resident Rose Santoro was happy to enjoy the warm weather and camaraderie with neighbors.
“The village puts the effort into having events, and if people don’t take advantage of those opportunities, you miss out,” she said.