39th Annual Gurnee Days Celebration

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Stacey Anderson, left, and David Brown, who are both principals in the Woodland School District 50, chow down during a rib-eating contest at Viking Park in Gurnee during Gurnee Days. | Michael Schmidt, Sun-Times Media

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Join the fun at the 39th Annual Gurnee Days Celebration

The Gurnee Days Corporation, a not-for-profit organization of volunteers, has been planning and orchestrating the annual Gurnee Days celebration for more than 30 years. The upcoming Gurnee Days festivities will be held Thursday, Aug. 11 through Sunday, Aug. 14, 2011. This year’s theme is Gurnee Days — Medieval Knights.

The Corporation meets the first Wednesday evening of the month. The GDC along with many volunteers makes up the individual committees that put together the annual Gurnee Days festivities. New volunteers are always welcome.

Gurnee Days is funded by cash or in kind contributions from area businesses, individuals and civic organizations. Without their support, Gurnee Days would not be possible.

Traditionally, the celebration begins with a Thursday evening Testimonial Dinner honoring an individual or couple who has made a significant contribution to the Gurnee community. This year’s honoree is Barbara Swanson. Some of Friday’s activities include a bicycle rodeo, Skyhoundz Canine Championship, and Gurnee Idol.

For the eighth year at Gurnee Days, there will be amusement rides. The Gurnee Days Corporation sees this as an opportunity for additional family fun at the event as well as a way to produce revenue for Gurnee Days since part of the ride ticket receipts will be given back to the Corporation. Entertaining rides and games for all ages will be on Friday, Saturday and Sunday during Gurnee Days.

Saturday kicks off with a golf tournament, and a 10K and 2 mile fun run and walk. Viking Park hosts exhibitors, food, games and stage events. A Baby contest is held in the morning along with Open Houses at the Gurnee Police and Fire Departments. Even a student Art Show is displayed over the weekend. Saturday evening concludes with live bands, fireworks plus a rib fest and extravaganza at the park.

Sunday events include a parade along Grand Avenue in the Village Center. Viking Park is overflowing with people enjoying the exhibitors, food, games and the car show. Also many stage acts entertain at the annual talent show.

Gurnee Days is a community affair and was honored for promoting a safe, family fun festival. To make a donation, join the corporation or for additional information, write to the Gurnee Days Corporation at P.O. Box 111 Gurnee, IL 60031 or call (847) 249-9613 or (847) 623-7788. The link to the Gurnee Days website is http://www.gurnee.il.us/gurnee_days.

2011 Gurnee Days honoree is Barbara Swanson

The Gurnee Days Corporation is pleased to announce Barbara J. Swanson has been chosen as the Gurnee Days Honoree for 2011. For over 35 years, the Gurnee Days Corporation has selected a deserving individual or couple to be honored during the annual Gurnee Days celebration. The testimonial dinner honoring Barbara will be held on Thursday, Aug. 11 and traditionally kicks off the annual Gurnee Days festivities.

Barbara Swanson is the daughter of Howard and Joyce Swanson and a lifelong Gurnee resident. She graduated from Gurnee Grade School and Warren Township High School. After graduating from Eastern Illinois University with high honors, she taught Home Economics and Consumer Education at Woodstock High School. At Woodstock High School, she was known for her interesting and challenging assignments.

In 1980, Barbara entered Chicago-Kent College of Law and graduated with high honors and passed the bar in 1983. This was the same year she had her first child, Janelle and daughters Jamie and Jorie followed. Since marrying York Chan in 2007, Barbara has a large extended family of three stepchildren, Teri, Kevin and Casey, and a new grandchild, Donovan.

When the children were young, Barbara spent countless hours volunteering for the children’s activities. Whether it was a field trip, room party, band event or sports event, Barbara was always there to help. One thing everyone knows about Barbara is that she never comes to an event empty-handed and is nicknamed “cookie mom.”

After Law School, Barbara was a Law Clerk with the Illinois Appellate Court. Ultimately, she chose to be an attorney in private practice in her hometown of Gurnee and is very well respected by the judiciary and her colleagues. She is active in the Illinois State Bar Association, Lake County Bar Association and Illinois Real Estate Lawyers Association and volunteers as a court appointed Guardian Ad Litem in disabled adult guardianships.

For more than 10 years, Barbara followed in her father’s footsteps as the Village of Gurnee Attorney. She was required to attend board, subcommittee and commission meetings. Her duties included not only counseling the village board on legal issues but also drafting ordinances and rendering legal opinions. Barbara has served as a volunteer on the Gurnee Civil Service Commission, which is responsible for interviewing and testing village employees and holding discharge hearings. Appointed by Mayor Kovarik, Barbara is a Village of Gurnee Ethics Commissioner that review ethics and diversity issues for the village.

As a volunteer for numerous organizations, Barbara has been helping people all her life. She and her family are very active members of Gurnee Community Church spending numerous hours on church activities including the Women’s Christian Fellowship and Mission Trip fundraisers. Every Thanksgiving, Barbara spends the day serving food to local sailors from the Great Lakes Navy Base.

Since 1991, Barbara has been a member and director of the Exchange Club of Gurnee. She received the Book of Golden Deeds in 1997 and was named Exchangite of the Year last year. Barbara is also involved with the Gurnee Women’s Business Association, Lake County Chamber of Commerce, Village of Gurnee Chamber of Commerce and the NorthSide Community Bank Advisory Board.

Even as a breast cancer survivor, Barbara never thinks of herself. She has served as a Relay for Life committee member and participates in the annual Gurnee/Wadsworth Relay for Life and raises money for others with cancer.

Barbara has been a great volunteer, active in business and a very positive influence in Gurnee and Lake County. She has been a leader and champion in everything she does. Her many accomplishments have greatly benefited the Village of Gurnee and all of its citizens. As her daughter, Janelle Rominski recently said “My Mom eats, breathes and lives Gurnee…she has Gurnee in her blood.”

Each year, the Gurnee Days Corporation seeks nominations from the community for people who have made a meaningful contribution for over 10 years. Gurnee Days Corporation is pleased to have such a devoted person as Barbara Swanson as the 2011 Gurnee Days Honoree and Parade Marshal of the annual Gurnee Days parade. For more information on Gurnee Days, check their website at www.gurnee.il.us/gurnee_days.

Golf Outing to be held on Aug. 13

The annual Gurnee Days Golf Outing held at HeatherRidge Golf Course on Sat., Aug. 13 will have a new format. Golfers will have an opportunity to play in a Four Person 9 Hole Scramble Tournament with a shotgun start at 7 a.m. or a Four Person 9 Hole Scramble Tournament with a shotgun start at 10 a.m.

This year’s golf outing includes prizes and awards plus a putting contest. The registration fee is $25 per golfer per tournament and includes green fees, cart, prizes and a $10 gift certificate to HeatherRidge Golf Course that can be used the day of the tournament for pro shop purchases, food or beverages. Reserve your tee time today by calling the Golf Course at (847) 367-6010. Golfers should report to the Pro Shop at least 20 minutes prior to each tournament.

Come join this fun Gurnee Days event sponsored by Gurnee Community Bank. For additional information, call Brad or Mike at (847) 625-3800.

We wish to thank the following sponsors for their generous support and service to the Gurnee Days Corporation through cash or in-kind donations


Fireworks sponsored by The Village of Gurnee.

Entertainment sponsored in part by Community Trust Credit Union.

Entertainment sponsored in part by Gurnee Ford.


Gurnee Park District; Gurnee Community Bank; Lake County News-Sun; HeatherRidge Umbrella Association & Golf Club; SureVision Eye Centers of Lake County.


The Village of Gurnee Chamber of Commerce; Churchill Photography; Great Lakes Credit Union; Advocate Immediate Care Centers; Anthony Buick – GMC; KeyLime Cove; Vista Health; Warren-Newport Public Library; Veoila Environmental Services.


Barbara J. Swanson, Attorney at Law; BMO Harris Bank Gurnee; Brogan’s Awards and Sportswear, Inc.; E.D. Clark School Photography; Gurnee Flowers by Balmes; Gurnee Garage & Towing; HCHY; Michael T. Cavanaugh, Attorney at Law; Multi Media Marketing; Holiday Inn Gurnee Convention Center; Robert Monahan, Esquire; Rosen Motor Sales, Inc.; Saint Paul the Apostle Catholic Church; Tri State Realty; Buffalo Wild Wings; Valerie Boettle Ceckowski.


Avalon; Dairy Queen; Denny’s; Gurnee Meadows Senior Apartments; Graphic Partners, Inc.; Gurnee Masonry; Ihop; In-Laws; KTR Video Productions; Lowe’s Home Improvement; McKinney Prosthetics; McDonald’s; Salata’s Gurnee Funeral Home; Tacos El Norte; K & A Graphics.

The Gurnee Days Corporation is a not-for-profit group of volunteers working together to plan and organize this annual event. Gurnee Days is funded through cash and in-kind donations from area businesses, individuals and organizations. Without their support, Gurnee Days would not be possible.

For additional information contact www.gurnee.il.us/gurnee_days or call (847) 623-7788.

Scoop the Loop Car Show held at Viking Park

Gurnee Days will host the Gurnee Days Scoop The Loop Car Show on Sunday, Aug. 14 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Viking Park. Awesome collectible cars will be on display.

With all cars welcome and so many cars to see, the Car Show is a fun filled activity for the whole family. Enter your own classic car or come to Gurnee Days and wander through rows of shiny, exciting automobiles. Gurnee Days expresses special thanks to North Shore Rods for helping put together this fun Car Show.

The registration fee is $15 by Aug. 5 and $20 on event day and each of the first 100 registered cars will receive a dash plaque and T-shirt. The vehicles will be judged between noon and 2 p.m. during the show with awards presented at 4 p.m. Door prizes, DJ and a raffle for charity will also be there.

Rib Fest at Gurnee Days

The Exchange Clubs of Gurnee Annual Rib Fest will take place on Saturday, Aug. 13 from 3 p.m. to 11 p.m. at Viking Park.

The park will be filled with live music and of course, there will be the fireworks. Enjoy the tasty ribs, pulled pork sandwiches, roasted corn, and hot dogs along with other delicious food and refreshments. This is a great place to meet old Gurnee friends and make new ones as you enjoy Viking Park in the evening hours.

For the ninth year, the event will kick off with an invitational rib-eating contest at 3 p.m. between local municipal organizations promising to gorge themselves on ribs for the top prize of Rib Fest Champion. Admission to Rib Fest is free but the food and refreshments are an additional charge.

This is a major fund-raiser for the Exchange Clubs of Gurnee and proceeds will go toward philanthropic projects including the prevention of child abuse.

For additional information, call Bill at (224) 616-4789.

10K race And 2-Mile Fun Run/Walk

Gurnee Days will be holding its annual Gurnee Days 10K Race (USATF certified) and 2-Mile Fun Run/Walk again this year. All events will begin at 7:30 a.m. on Saturday, Aug. 13.

Similar to last year, these runs will begin at Warren Township High School O’Plaine Campus, follows the scenic Des Plaines River Trail system and the first 400 participants will receive a free T-shirt. Trophies will be awarded for first, second and third place in each division, the top male and female overall and top male and female Gurnee residents for the 10K race. Runners will also enjoy refreshments after the race.

Registration is at the Gurnee Park District the day of the race and the fee is $28 for the 10K race, $25 for the 2 Mile Fun Run and $15 for the 2 Mile Walk.

For more information, contact Ron at (847) 623-7788 at the Gurnee Park District.

Don’t miss the annual parade starting at noon on Aug. 14

More than 75 entries are expected to participate in this year’s annual Gurnee Days parade. The parade begins at noon on Sunday, Aug. 14 led by the Gurnee Days Grand Marshal Barbara Swanson. This year’s theme is Gurnee Days — Medieval Knights.

The parade steps off at Old Grand Ave. and Greenleaf Ave. and continues westbound down Old Grand Ave. finishing at the Grade School. Bring the family and your lawn chairs and come out and enjoy the parade.

Thanks to the Village of Gurnee Chamber of Commerce for sponsoring in part the parade this year. For additional information about the parade, contact Elmer at (847) 561-9021 or gurneeparade@hotmail.com.