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The Allman Betts Band featuring three sons of the founding members of the Allman Brothers Band will headline Friday night. (Supplied photo)

The Allman Betts Band featuring three sons of the founding members of the Allman Brothers Band will headline Friday night. (Supplied photo)

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Ridgefest returns after a one-year absence for pandemic

By Bob Bong

Chicago Ridge is bringing back its popular Ridgefest for three days starting Friday at 5 p.m. at Freedom Park, 6200 Birmingham St.

“This was the fastest we ever put a fest together,” said Chicago Ridge Mayor Chuck Tokar. “At the beginning of the year, I didn’t even know if we’d have one again this year.

“We scrambled and put it together in a few months.”

The annual fest started in 1989 and only took off last year because almost all south suburban events were called off because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Earlier this year, we sweated out the pandemic to see if we could bring Ridgefest back,” Tokar said.

“When we saw other towns bringing back their events, like Orland Park, we decided to go ahead, but even then, the village board was hesitant whether we should do it.”

Tokar said this year’s festival is a little different from years past.

“We decided to go with three days only and forgot Thursday night,” he said. “We cut back on the hours.”

Tokar was excited about the music lined up for this year’s live stage.

Headliners this year will be The Allman Betts Band on Friday night, Sugar Ray on Saturday and Queen Nation Sunday night.

“We’ll have a great fireworks show Sunday night in between sets by Queen Nation.” Fireworks are slated for 9:40-10 p.m.

The fest will run from 5:30-11:30 p.m. Friday, from 5-11:30 p.m. Saturday and from 3-10:30 p.m. Sunday.

Admission is $10 on Friday and Saturday and $5 on Sunday. Residents with ID get in for free on Sundays and for medical personnel with ID on Friday. Kids under 12 are free.

Sunday is Family Fun Day with visits scheduled for World of Reptiles, Mr. D’s Magic Show, a petting zoo and pony rides, and inflatables.

There will be a carnival all three days along with restaurants, crafters, and a beer garden.

The weather should cooperate, as well. The forecast if for hot and dry conditions all three days.

Tokar is expecting a big turnout.

“People are starting to feel confidant again.”

For complete information on bands and activities, visit https://www.chicagoridge.org/183/RidgeFest or check out their Facebook page at Chicago Ridge Fest.

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