Hampshire Coon Creek Country Days 35th Anniversary brings changes
Hampshire Coon Creek Country Days (HCCCD) marks its 35th anniversary this year and the planning committee agrees it will be one of the biggest and best.
The festival runs from August 3 to 6, with hours from 6 to 10 p.m. Thursday, 6 p.m. to midnight Friday, 1 p.m. to midnight Saturday and 1 to 5 p.m. Sunday at its new location in downtown Hampshire.
Featured activities include food, a beer garden, a carnival, parade and crafters. No-cost options include live bands, a corn boil, petting zoo, pony rides and fireworks.
“This is an especially big year for us,” said Carl Palmisano, president of HCCCD. “Not only is it our 35th Anniversary but for the first time in nearly 20 years we’ve moved our location. Bruce Ream Park is undergoing improvements and we knew almost a year ago that it would no longer be feasible for the festival to continue there. The village offered to lend us this undeveloped piece of property and after much consideration and weighing our options, we accepted it.”
The new location is in a prime spot on State Street in downtown Hampshire near Allen Road, which is a key artery to the village, he said.
“The fact that this property is much larger is a plus but it also has its challenges, as it has never been developed before,” said Palmisano. “We’re very pleased with the way we’ve been able to overcome and plan for everything we’ve encountered so far—issues like grading, parking, boundaries, traffic flow, safety and security, not to mention all the rain we’ve had this summer. This has been a tremendously successful team effort from every corner of the village—[Mayor] Jeff Magnusson, the trustees, planning and zoning commissions, and the police and fire departments.”
This year’s headliner bands are Hi Infidelity, performing Friday night, and Modern Day Romeos, performing Saturday night. Both bands are well known in Chicagoland and are back by popular demand.
“Last year, in anticipation of our 35th, we conducted our first-ever survey by walking around and speaking face-to-face with our attendees,” said Palmisano. “This festival belongs to them, not the committee, and we wanted to hear what they had to say. Out of that came ideas that are driving this year’s activities. We brought back the bands they like best, expanded choices in the beer garden, added more vendors and crafters and, most importantly, improved our communications with them.
“Coon Creek Country Days is a 501(c)(3) organization which raises money to support community service organizations that serve clients in and around Hampshire,” continued Palmisano. “No committee member or volunteer is compensated, so every dollar we collect goes right back into the festival for expenses, improvements and donations. With funds from last year’s event we were able to donate to eight organizations, so it’s hugely important to us that we continue putting on a festival that will draw in our audiences.”
Palmisano also noted that this year’s festival has parade prizes for the first time in its history and that there will be a special surprise during the fireworks. And long-standing favorites will continue, such as the free corn boil and daily ride specials for the carnival.
“We’re working to make this year’s festival the best ever because we understand with this new location there will be bugs that need to be worked out,” said Palmisano. “We just ask everyone who attends to bear with us so, together, we can make this special anniversary year a positive experience they won’t forget.”
Admission to the festival is free, with a $2 wristband fee to enter the beer garden. For details on all the activities during the four-day event, visit hcccd.com.