KANEVILLE – As a school resource officer at Kaneland High School Sarah Conley has to deal with some difficult and often stressful situations involving teenagers. On Aug. 26, Conley was able to finally kick back, unwind and simply enjoy herself along with her family at Kaneville Fest.
“I love it,” Conley said. “It’s the last blast before school starts, and it never ceases to amaze me how many people come out and participate. It’s good homegrown, wholesome fun. I think this is probably the only place my kids can run around and I don’t have to worry about where they’re at.”
There were many kids running around, some with faces painted via the face painter who was on site. Many challenged themselves by running through the inflatable obstacle course and then took a break by going on a horse-drawn wagon ride.
There was also a peddle tractor competition, although the hay bale roll competition seemed to garner the most attention eliciting laughter and cheers from attendees.
Other activities or highlights of the annual event included raffles, a live DJ and the band iPop, pork chop and chicken dinners, an ice cream-eating contest, games of cornhole, balloon artist, henna artist and a spectacular fireworks show.
“This just brings us all together and that’s why I look forward to it every year,” Conley said. “It’s like it’s our own little holiday in Kaneville, and you see everybody come together. Look at this; you’ve got people rolling on a hay bale! I’d put our little town up against any other town. Every year the whole town comes out.”
That included Amy Reed, who operates Reed’s General Merchandise along with her husband, Kyle. They’ve been happy to call themselves Kaneville residents for almost 15 years.
“We have such nice people that live here and that makes Kaneville such a special place,” Amy Reed said. “Everyone I know is nice so it’s amazing to have a gathering like this and see so many people.”
Karen Flamand said the event is sort of a way of celebrating the end of summer and beginning anew as the kids in town head off to begin school.
“It’s a great way to bring the community together once a year,” she said. “And it’s something that’s gone on for years. It’s been different things and different times, and I think it goes back to the 1930s. They’ve always been having an annual gathering so I like the history of it. There’s always something at the end of summer, beginning of fall and everyone comes out.”