HEGEWISCH — A neighborhood celebration for one of the city’s southernmost communities is back this weekend with food from local businesses, activities, clowns, a crafters’ market and more.
Hegewisch Fest is 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Saturday at 13301 S. Baltimore Ave. The event was long a neighborhood celebration before it stopped in the late ’90s; it was brought back in 2017 by the then-newly created Hegewisch Business Association.
There’s a heavy focus on live music this year, with bands popular on the Southeast Side headlining. Local attorney George L. Tamvakis donated to allow organizers to heavily invest in this year’s music lineup, said Kevin Beauchamp, Hegewisch Business Association co-president.
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Other performers include Violet Flame at 3:30 p.m. and Cojack and Company at 5 p.m. There will also be a band of eighth-graders — the Marsh-ians — from nearby John L. Marsh Elementary School playing at 2 p.m.
“It’s kind of the highlight of our year as the” Hegewisch Business Association, Beauchamp said.
Volunteer Tom Shepherd said people who grew up in Hegewisch but have moved out of the neighborhood return for the festival each year.
“It’s a big feature for them to come back every year and have a reunion with friends and folks that they have known throughout the years,” Shepherd said.
Volunteer Bob Wisz said the event is an important opportunity to drum up support for businesses in the Far Southeast Side neighborhood.
“Hegewisch is a bit like its own little part of the world. We’re the furthest community away, I think, from Downtown,” Wisz said. “We’ve got our difficulties for our business district. … So we try to promote and help our local businesses. It’s important to be able to bring that sense of community back.”
To that end, the business group has several other events in mind for the area, including a polka event, a blues music event, farmers markets and a Mexican Independence Day event. Beauchamp said the group is ready to scale up its work thanks to more funding and some paid staff members to support the mostly volunteer group.
“We want to expand actually and do other things throughout the year. We want to continue to keep these things going,” Beauchamp said.
The Hegewisch Business Association is still looking for volunteers for Saturday, particularly people who can help with setup and takedown. Volunteers will be needed 6 a.m.-midnight Sunday, though volunteers only available at certain times throughout the day are also accepted, organizers said..
Food vendors are still being accepted, as well.
People interested in volunteering or being a food vendor can call the Hegewisch Business Association at 773-437-3680 or 773-213-3512 or email email@example.com.
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