Kayaking part of this year’s Hobart Lakefront Festival

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Shucking it: John O'Keeffe, Joseph Kish and Andrew Kish, all of Hobart, shuck corn for the Masonic Lodge and Order of Eastern Star corn booth at last year's Hobart Lakefront Festival. Several other civic organizations will run various food booths at this year's festival. | Jeffrey D. Nicholls~Sun-Times Media

Hobart Lakefront Festival organizers are promising more of several good things at this year’s annual event.

More entertainment, more arts and crafts vendors and more children and adult activities will greet visitors at the four–day fest, running Aug. 16 through 19 at Festival Park, 111 E. Old Ridge Road, Hobart, promised Hobart Park Department secretary and festival organizer, Sue Kirkilewski.

For the first time there will be kayak rentals on Lake George in a trial run that city officials hope will become an ongoing seasonal activity. Details regarding cost and days and times of operation were still being worked out as of press time. The rentals will take place at Festival Park.

Kayaking will not be the only new aspect to the 21st annual festival.

“This year there will be music entertainment all day Saturday, starting from noon and going to 11 p.m., which is new,” Kirkilewski said.

The Mob will start off the daylong music program at the Revelli Bandshell, performing from noon to 2 p.m. The Difference, a rock-and-roll band, will take over from 3 to 6 p.m., with the “power pop” band, Crawpuppies, rocking the stage from 7 to 11 p.m.

Several of the bands performing during the festival — including Nawty at 7 p.m. Aug. 17 and Regee Express from 1 to 5 p.m. Aug. 19 — will be making their first appearance at the event, giving the audiences new sounds to listen to as they relax in lawn chairs or stretch out on blankets on the lawn during the free concerts.

In between bands, fest goers might want to check out the record number of arts-and-crafts vendors, who will be set up throughout the festival selling all types of quality crafts and original artwork.

Plenty for the kids

Fest organizers didn’t forget the children, either. In addition to Anderson Amusements and its carnival rides, which Kirkilewski said is a huge draw for the festival, there will be an expanded children’s activity this year for the first time.

Bryan Oparka, of Just Bounce in Cedar Lake, is bringing along all kinds of children’s activities, including a rock wall, Euro Bungy and four or five inflatables.

Oparka said the rock wall has five harnessed areas ranging from novice to experienced. The four-person Euro Bungy is a trampoline with 20-foot poles.

“Kids are in harnesses. They bounce on the trampoline and can go up to about 20 feet,” Oparka said.

Kids can enjoy both at $6 per ride or two for $10.

Oparka also will bring a super slide and other inflatables to the festival, depending on what he can set up in the space allotted. He has bounce houses, obstacle courses, dunk tanks, waterslides and more. A $10 wristband will let kids go from one inflatable to another all day, he said.

Mainstays

As some things change at the festival, many of the popular features stay the same.

Back again will be the laser light show put on by Rick Kopernak, the carnival rides offered by Anderson Amusements, the Jaycee fishing derby as well as many of the usual food vendors and local organizations running food booths. Among these are the Lions Club of Hobart with their annual Steak Fry from 4 to 7 p.m. Aug. 17; the Hobart Jaycees with their pancake breakfast from 8 to 11 a.m. Aug. 18 and their beer garden each night; the Hobart Elks with their spaghetti dinner from 4 to 7 p.m. Aug. 18 and the Hobart Chamber of Commerce with its pig roast from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Aug. 19.

“Nine of our 10 food vendors have been with us all 21 years,” Kirkilewski said.