Windmill Fest returns with plenty of cool stuff
By Annie Alleman For Sun-Times Media July 12, 2012 3:50PM
Batavia Windmill City Fest
♦ July 13-15
♦ Riverwalk, downtown Batavia
♦ (630) 879-5235
Updated: July 12, 2012 3:50PM
Batavia’s Windmill City Festival offers residents and visitors alike a weekend of food, music, contests and family activities.
Returning after a five-year hiatus is a popular golf challenge, said Batavia Park District spokeswoman Kari Miller.
“We like to try and keep it fresh and do something new every year,” she said. “We have an event coming back. It’s been gone for about five years and it was incredibly popular, so we decided to bring it back. It’s called the golf challenge. In the pond … there’s going to be a floating green, and people can chip onto the green to win prizes.”
It was brought back after park district officials were asked repeatedly what happened to the event.
“We decided to give it a shot, no pun intended,” she said.
They are also bringing a photo booth in — like the kind you find at weddings — so people can get a snapshot to recall the day.
“We thought it would be fun and something different,” she said.
The fest will also open for lunch on Friday instead of during the afternoon as in the past. The food booths open at 11 a.m. and the beer tent and carnival open at noon. Paddleboats will begin running at 2 p.m.
Her favorite part of the festival is the pet parade, which is at 10 a.m. Saturday. Each pet will receive a goody bag.
“We’ve had turtles, we had a chicken one year, we’ve had iguanas,” she said. “Dogs are (generally) the most popular.”
The pets are judged in eight categories, including cutest costume (which they often coordinate with their humans, she said.)
“It’s just so cute,” Miller said.
Saturday is the most action-packed day. The annual 5K race and youth mile run will be on Sunday instead. It will be chip-timed this year, too.
The Toss for a Cause bags tournament, with proceeds benefiting the Parks Foundation, will be at 6 p.m. Saturday.
There will also be a Guitar Hero competition for teens at 8:45 p.m. Friday.
One of the most popular events is a Wiffleball Home Run Derby.
“It was so popular last year,” she said. “It’s all ages. We actually have quite a few adults last year compete. It was one of our most popular events. It was something new we tried last year and it ended up being a big hit, so we’re bringing it back.”
When it comes to music, country-rockers Billy Croft and the Five-Alarm perform at 5 p.m. Friday, followed by headline act Wedding Banned from 9 to 11 p.m.
From 6 to 8 p.m. Saturday Karen Hart will perform her brand of classic rock. After that, classic rock band ARRA performs from 9 to 11 p.m.
“We had them last year and we’re bringing them back. They were fantastic,” she said. “They put on a really good show.”
Sunday’s main stage entertainment will be provided by Chicago tribute band Anthology from 1 to 3 p.m., and dance-party band BBI from 4 to 6 p.m.
There is also a craft show and flea market with 33 vendors, she said. In addition to jewelry and crafts for the house and home, look for handmade children’s clothes, sandals, flip-flops and purses.
Artists will sell handmade works, and one vendor sells custom-made bean bags, she said.
Like any summer festival worth its kettle corn, Windmill City Fest has a couple fun contests.
“One of our most popular ones is definitely the ice cream eating contest Sunday at 2 p.m.,” she said. “We actually have a long gutter that we put foil over and put ice cream scoops into. We have a kid’s division and an adult’s division. And believe it or not, we always get a big turnout for the adult’s division. It’s pretty funny to see the adults just dive into the ice cream.”
The fire hose challenge is another popular contest.
“You can pretty much count on getting wet. It just turns into a big spray fest,” she said. “But it’s really fun to watch.”
There is a big wheel race and a diaper derby as well (for children.)
The festival is designed to be family-friendly, she said.
“We literally have something for every member the family, including the pets,” she said. “Seeing all the people take part in everything, that’ why we do what we do every year. It’s fun to see the community come out and get involved.”