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  • Megann Horstead

Crossroads Parade marches crowds to Shorewood festival

The sound of clapping, cheering and even drumming rolled through the streets of Shorewood Sunday, as the Crossroads Parade kicked off the final day of the village’s annual summer festival.

Paraders took to the streets Aug.7, marching west along River Road from Geneva Street toward Wynstone Drive. The parade, which was part of the annual Crossroads Festival, also helped the Shorewood Area Chamber of Commerce’s effort to grow local businesses and connect to the community.

“This is a very hometown feel,” said Carol Wagner, president of the Shorewood Area Chamber of Commerce. “A lot of [residents] get involved. It’s a way for local businesses to come together.”

The 40th anniversary of the three-day Crossroads Festival got underway Friday. Among the many attractions made available to the public were a petting zoo, a 26-foot climbing wall, live music and plenty of delicious food.

This year’s festival had a “hometown carnival” theme. As part of the celebration, more than 50 floats were slated to appear in the parade.

Joe VanDuyne, an alderman for Wilmington Township, said he enjoyed at Crossroads Festival. Although this year was VanDuyne’s first time attending the event, he said he was excited by everything being offered.

“I brought my friends and family out to walk with me and help support me for my candidacy,” he said.

VanDuyne is running for the sixth district seat on the Will County Board, which includes the village of Shorewood. He said the parade is a good way to meet the people that he hopes to represent if elected to the county board.

“I probably shake over 500 hands throughout all the different parades,” he said. “It’s a great way to meet all the hardworking taxpayers in Will County.”

Letitia Shakespeare, of Plainfield, was also making the most of her time spent at the parade.

“I came to enjoy and have fun and network with different people,” she said.

Shakespeare has attended Crossroads Festival regularly over the years, including each day of the 2016 fest.

“I like the vendors there and expo part,” she said, adding that she was looking to buy jewelry.

Joe Baltz, of Shorewood, was one of many spectators watching as the parade procession moved down Geneva Street. He said he’s been attending the festival since 1976.

“I like to see all the floats and the people,” he said. “The floats are creative and the people are happy.”

Baltz noted that he plans on attending the last day of this year’s festival, and said he tends to enjoy hanging out in the entertainment tent.

“Usually, if I stop out in entertainment tent, I see a lot of my neighbors or people who I haven’t seen for a while,” he said.

Among the bands performing this year were Brass from the Past, Libido Funk Circus, Strung Out, Hi Infidelity and Back Country Roads.

On average, the festival draws 20,000 people.

Wagner said Crossroads Festival tends to attract visitors who will come back to the event year after year.

“It’s a great way to see their family, see their friends, and see their neighbors,” she said.

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