Plainfield Festival gives visitors a taste of downtown with food and music – Shaw Local

PLAINFIELD – While it rained on the first day of the Plainfield Festival, the festival was in full swing on Saturday with wet, clear weather as hundreds traveled downtown for live music, food trucks, and family-friendly fun.

Jane Bransky, of Plainfield, said this isn’t the first time she’s come to the three-day Plainfield Festival, which began Friday night. She said she enjoys visiting the event every year to see all the people who come to check out the vendors who pack the downtown area.

“It’s fun,” Bransky said. “People are friendly.”

Many festival-goers are from outside of Plainfield, so the long weekend is a change for them to experience what downtown has to offer, said Robert Rovito, chef and owner of Capri Sogno Italian Restaurant, like his establishment at 24102 Lockport Street.

“I meet people who have never been here before,” Rovito said, adding that the event gives his works fame.

New to the festival this year is a family-friendly area for children and their parents, said Vitila Barnes, executive assistant to the Plainfield-Shorwood District Chamber of Commerce. The Chamber is working with the Plainfield Riverfront Foundation to host the festival.

Barnes said that in the family area, children under the age of 18 accompanied by an adult can listen to live music from the bands. Bands playing at the festival this year include the AD3 Acoustic Trio, School of Rock, 7th Heaven and Common Allies.

“Everyone is welcome this year,” Barnes said.

One of the highlights of the festival is the nationally renown Midwest Bag Championship.

The festival has been without a carnival for several years, including this year. Because of that, Barnes said, the festival introduced a petting zoo, pony rides, balloon artists, and face painting to make it appealing to children.

“Hopefully in the future we’ll bring the carnival back. We’re working on it,” Barnes said.

Dwight Cloures, of Plainfield, said he’s attended the Plainfield Festival in the past and thought the lack of Carnival was a loss for the event.

“I know when kids usually hear the word ‘festival,’ they’re looking for a carnival,” Clauers said.

Lockport Street between Des Plaines Avenue and Illinois Avenue was once filled with sellers of crafts and businesses. Des Plaines avenue is lined with many food trucks serving ice cream, barbecue, and Mexican food.

Mike Smigo and Matt Gallagher, co-owners of Backdraft BBQ & Catering, brought their food truck to the festival for the first time. Smigo said he and Gallagher were both working as firefighters in Plainfield.

“We know how big the festival is,” Smeijo said.

He said his food truck serves “traditional barbecues in a festive style.”

“Apart from the rain yesterday, it was just great,” Smeijo said of the Plainfield Festival.

Other food trucks that attended the event included Annabell’s Bar-BQ, The Original Rainbow Cone, and Freddie’s Off The Chain Mexican Cuisine.

Rovito had a booth outside his restaurant where he served visitors homemade meatballs, Italian sausages, toasted ravioli, Italian ice, and other treats.

“We let people sample a few of the specialties that we have,” Rovito said.

Some of the vendors at Plainfield Fest were from schools, banks, churches, and martial arts studios. Many vendors were selling a variety of items. Plainfield-based Crafty Casey was at the event selling custom T-shirts and drinkware. The business bears the motto, “You dream, we make it.”

Cassidy Casey, who owns the company with his wife Kelly Casey, said he thinks the Plainfield Festival is “actually pretty good.”

“We are doing very well. There are a lot of clients,” Cassidy Casey said.

One advantage of visitors who come to the Plainfield Festival is that they can enjoy the many restaurants open in the downtown area. Moe Joe’s, Uptown, HopScotch & Vine, Station One Smokehouse and Garage Band Brewing filled with customers during the event.

“I feel most people enjoy making their community wear something that everyone can go for,” Barnes said.

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