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IN THE PRESS

Young musicians from Elmhurst’s School of Rock entertained at Rock the Block. (Graydon Megan / Pioneer Press)

Rock the Block draws families to Elmhurst for music, food and fun

By GRAYDON MEGAN

PIONEER PRESS |

SEP 09, 2019 | 12:34 PM

Elmhurst’s sixth Rock the Block free street festival offered family entertainment, food and fun Friday and Saturday to thousands of residents and visitors who flocked to the city’s downtown to listen to celebrate summer’s end. “Best year yet on all levels,” events coordinator Christy Sopko of Elmhurst City Centre said in a text message. Musical acts on the Schiller Street stage included teenagers from Elmhurst’s School of Rock, whose set included the Johnny Cash classic “Folsom Prison Blues,” Beatles tribute band American English and the Trippin’ Billies, a Dave Matthews Band tribute group appearing for the first time. Food offerings from more than a dozen local restaurants included pizza, snow cones and crepes. Elmhurst resident Linda Rajcevich said all the food she’d tried was great.

With free wristbands and the appropriate number of $1 tickets, those old enough could also purchase beer and wine. Sopko said a change to cans for both beer and wine this year was greener in terms of recycling and faster in terms of service.

Music and food may have been the draws on both evenings, but Saturday’s Family Fun Zone was a major attraction for the younger set and their parents. Free activities along the south end of York Street, closed for the occasion, including face painting, a photo booth, a chance for young rockers to try their drumming skills and even a brief tutorial in Taekwondo from master Jounghyun Park.

Dennis Holmes, a first-time visitor from Arlington Heights, was in the face painting line with his 2 1/2-year-old daughter Denise. He said he was attracted by activities for kids.

That was also the attraction for Joe Hussar, whose 6-year old daughter Ava had just learned how to use her fist to split a piece of wood. It wasn’t clear whether Ava’s 4-year old sister Lily was going to try her “hand” at the exercise.

Sopko noted the weather cooperated, with only a couple of minutes of light sprinkles Saturday evening. She was expecting a final estimate of crowd size from the Elmhurst Police Department, but said social media ahead of the event had drawn at least 4,500 people, a 25 percent increase over the 2018 event.