Photo by Joe Boyle
The annual Worth Days Festival, a 62-year end of the summer tradition in the village, will no longer be held. Worth Park District officials said declining attendance and a lack of sponsorships and volunteers are why the festival will no longer take place.
By Sharon L. Filkins
The Oct. 2 board meeting in Worth struck a sad note as a lengthy discussion among the trustees resulted in the demise of the Annual Worth Days Festival, a 62-year-old tradition in the village.
Mayor Mary Werner opened the meeting with a presentation of a letter from Worth Park District Director Bob O’Shaughnessy, in which he announced the district could no longer produce the annual three-day event.
Five years ago, the district had entered an agreement in which they would take over the production and management of the event, while the village would remain responsible for the parade that was part of the festival.
After a 45-minute discussion and review of possible options and their pros and cons, the consensus of the board was to let the festival go.
Both O’Shaughnessy and Steve Werner, president of the Park District Board of Directors, were present at the meeting.
“This not a fly-by decision on the part of the Park District. For the last several years it has been very difficult to get food vendors to come back a second time because they know they are not going to make any money,” said O’Shaughnessy.
Steve Werner cited factors in the district’s decision as a continued decline in attendance, lack of sponsors, lack of participation of village businesses and organizations, as well as an absence of volunteers to help with the event.
“This used to be the biggest event in town and everyone pitched in to make it successful. Over the last few years that has not been the case. In the past, we had our school board, the library board, the Lions Club, our village committees, our village employees, the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts, etc., all on hand to help out.
“This year, I didn’t see one representative from any of these groups and I didn’t see one person who makes their living in this village out there volunteering. We couldn’t get anyone to volunteer for even a couple of hours,” Steve Werner said.
He also lamented that there were no community leaders stepping up.
For readers interested in the history of the Worth Days Festival, information on the event is featured in a book entitled “The History of the Village of Worth,” written by former Worth Trustee Colleen McElroy. It is available at the Worth Library.
In other business, ordinances were approved for Cedar Tutoring Academy, Inc., including a business license, a special use permit to operate a tutoring center at 11136 S. Harlem Ave., and reduce the required number of vehicle parking spaces at the facility. The owner is Asmah Abdallah.
The board adjourned into executive session for the setting of a price for sale or lease of property owned by the public body.
Action taken when the board returned included an agreement to vacate the right-of-way on a small section of land at 6900 W. 111th St.