Work Samples

  • Megann Horstead

Great Joliet Prison Break-In to open up the joint

Hoping to lure in crowds, the organizers behind The Great Joliet Prison Break-In are looking to throw a party in the prison yards.

The Aug. 25 event aims to celebrate Joliet and its history. It is open to anyone age 21 and older.

“I would hope it’s a wide target audience,” said Steve Jones, deputy city manager for the city of Joliet. “I hope they’re into the lure of the prison. It’s an iconic use.”

Jones said he is “always cautiously optimistic” seeing the community’s excitement shown to this point for the prison and its new use and acknowledged that volunteer efforts and press coverage have been great.

The city of Joliet started having prison committee meetings this year, at which point plans to organize a fundraising event were often discussed.

“I had chatted with the Joliet chamber’s Mary Jaworski, and we talked about how they do a great job with events in the downtown,” Jones said. “We thought we would do a prison fundraiser. We could have something where tickets are sold and restoration funding comes out of it. We started planning, and a committee was formed. The rest is well known.”

The fundraiser will offer beer, food trucks, merchandise and souvenirs.

“Events like this take a lot of planning and thought,” Jones said. “On top of that, we’ve had to clean up the prison.”

The prison event planning committee is made up by 25-30 people who are tasked with ironing out the details of the fundraiser.

The Great Joliet Prison Break-In will feature musical performances by Blooze Brothers, M & R Rush, Pettycash and Hot Mess.

More than 1,000 tickets have been sold to this point. Admission is $40.

Organizers hope to limit entry to the first 3,000 people who sign up.

Parts of the prison won’t be accessible during the event.