Ready for the handoff

  • Written by Bob Rakow

Worth Days could be in park district’s hands Jan. 7

The village of Worth is close to handing off PAGE 3 3 col worth daysA woman hands out balloons during the 2013 Worth Days parade. The village is expected to hand the festival’s responsibilities to the park district in January. Photo by Jeff Vorva.control of the annual Worth Days fest to the park district.
  Village and park district officials are fine tuning an intergovernmental agreement that has been in the works for several months.
  “There are a lot of legalities,” Mayor Mary Werner said. “There’s a lot of details to be worked out.”
  Werner said issues regarding insurance, liquor licenses and control of the fest grounds have to be ironed out before the park district can take over. The village board is expected to approve the agreement at its Jan. 7 meeting, she said.
  The village ran the fest for several years after a non-profit committee turned over control of the event. But much of the planning and execution fell to the village clerk, public works department and other employees.
  “Doing it ourselves is very taxing on the employees,” Werner said.
  Trustees in October agreed that the park district is better suited to sponsor the annual festival.
  “It just seemed to make sense,” Werner said.
  Planning for the August fest begins in February with the booking of entertainment and vendors as well as garnering volunteers the top priorities, Werner said.
  Park District Director Carlo Capalbo said he’ll serve as the point man for the organization of the fest with park district department heads taking on specific roles.
  “This is in our realm,” Capalbo said, adding that the district is accustomed to planning and hosting events.
  The park district is no stranger to the annual festival, as it has run the children’s attractions for the past few years.
  Park district funds will not be used to fund any portion of the fest, he said. Instead, fundraising and money generated at the fest are used to pay for the event.
  Capalbo said the district will rely on the village pull off a successful fest. He added that the district is not interested “recreating” what is already a successful event.
  “We’re still going to rely very heavily, as the village did, on volunteers,” Capalbo said.
  Turning the festival over to the park district does not mean the village won’t stay involved. Instead, village officials and employees will continue to volunteer at the event, Werner said.
  The 2014 edition of the festival will be especially significant as it will be part of the village’s 100th anniversary celebration, Werner said.
  The village is planning a series of events throughout the year to celebrate its centennial, similar to neighboring Chicago Ridge, which is also celebrating its 100th anniversary in 2014.