Festival in Hobart has something new

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Full-circle: Jacob Herrick, of Hobart, enjoyed the merry-go-round at the Hobart Lakefront Festival last year. | Jim Karczewski~for Sun-Times Media

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Seymour and Sadie are preening their feathers, the Hobart Parks Department is working on last-minute details and members of the Hobart Community Foundation are busy selling tickets for the Dam Duck Race — all in preparation for the 22nd Annual Lakefront Festival running Aug. 15 through 18 at Festival Park, 111 E. Old Ridge Road in Hobart.

While many longtime favorites of the four-day festival will return this year — including the laser light show presentation at dusk Friday and Saturday nights, Aug. 16 and 17, carnival rides and arts and crafts vendors each day and the annual Dam Duck Race on Sunday, Aug. 18 — there also will be some new and expanded attractions this year.

“We try to add something different every year,” said Hobart Parks Department secretary Sue Kirkilewski, who’s been organizing the festival since its inception.

For the kids

This year that includes a new event — the Hobart Dam Duck Tape & Cardboard Cup race — in which boats made of cardboard, duct tape and glue race on Lake George, Kirkilewski said. There also will be some new bands entertaining the crowds and an expanded children’s area.

“All kids activities will be in one location this year, up front in the parking lot,” Kirkilewski said.

The number of bounce activities will increase, with as many slides, obstacle courses and other bouncers that can fit in a 100-foot area to be included. The ponies, which Kirkilewski said is a favorite of the youngsters, will be back for the 22nd year for kids to ride.

Kids can also enjoy the carnival rides brought by Anderson Amusements and can try their luck catching a big fish during the Jaycee Fishing Derby, 8 to 10 a.m. Saturday.

Music, food, duck race

Local musical favorites Nawty and Crawpuppies will be joined this year by the Allen Wronko Band, a country/western group performing from 7 to 10 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 15, and The Hat Guys, which covers various bands and interacts with the audience, from 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday. The group The Difference will be the closing act for the first time at the festival, from 5 to 9 p.m. Sunday.

There wouldn’t be a festival without food and beer. In addition to the vendors who will be there each day selling elephant ears, burgers and other foods, fest-goers can once again visit the Jaycee Beer Garden each day, the Lions’ Steak Fry from 4 to 7 p.m. Friday, Jaycee Pancake Breakfast from 8 to 11 a.m. Saturday, Elks Spaghetti Dinner from 4:30 to 7 p.m. Saturday and Hobart Chamber of Commerce Pig Roast from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday.

Sunday at 3 p.m., fest-goers can follow Sadie and Seymour Duck and Mayor Brian Snedecor to Lake George Dam, where hundreds of yellow plastic ducks will be poured over the dam and into the waters below. The ticket holders matching the first ducks to cross the finish line will win prizes. Tickets can be purchased at the festival at the Hobart Community Foundation tent.

Kirkilewski promises a surprise leading up to the Dam Duck Race, but isn’t giving any hints.

More information about the Hobart Lakefront Festival is at (219) 942-2987 or at www.cityofhobart.org.