Photo by Joe Boyle
The lines were considerably shorter for the petting zoo and pony rides that can be seen in the background Saturday at the “Day in the Park” at Yukich Fields in Evergreen Park. The hot temperatures allowed kids to take part in activities numerous times.
Everyone who attended the annual “Day in the Park” in Evergreen Park on Saturday were all in agreement that the sizzling temperatures made it more of a challenge.
“It’s a hot day, that’s for sure,” said Lilly Dillon, who works for Sarah’s Pony Trail and Rides that provided a petting zoo and pony rides for the kids. “I mean, it’s not that bad. I’m only out here for three hours and we have some shade. You just have to stay hydrated.”
The temperatures reached 94 degrees, but according to weather forecasts, the heat index was 101 degrees.
But despite the heat, a larger crowd than expected were present on Saturday afternoon. Kids still were reaching the top of the climbing walls and played in the bounce house. The Evergreen Park Fire Department also allowed for families and their young children to take turns seated behind the steering wheel of one of the engines.
The main difference this summer was that the Day in Park was held at Yukich Fields, 8900 S. Kedzie Ave., instead of Klein Park, which is adjacent to the Evergreen Park Recreation Department, 3450 W. 97th St. The Day in the Park was held at that location for the last 29 years. The venue was changed to Yukich Fields this year due to road construction that is currently taking place around Klein Park.
However, members of the Evergreen Park Fire Department, which is located next door to Yukich Fields, played a major role at this year’s event. The fire department also took part in grilling Polish sausage and corn. The Evergreen Park Youth Department heated up hot dogs and provided chips, soft drinks and candy for the visitors.
The Evergreen Park Police Department, which is located nearby at 95th and Kedzie, was also on hand to provide sheets of information and T-shirts during the day.
Vendors dealt with the heat appropriately and were stationed under canopies. Visitors did not have to stand in the hot sun all day. Tables and chairs were set up in what is used as the Daniel V. Capuano Ice Rink in the winter. Residents had a chance to sit down and talk. Adults could try a variety of craft beers, wine and other beverages for purchase during the day.
Along with the vendors, family crafts activities were available throughout the day, along with face painting.
Robyn Strohacker and Kris Mcrae, both longtime friends and Evergreen Park residents, attended the Day in the Park with their grandkids. They have both attended previous Day in the Park events and said they were dealing with the heat.
“The great thing about this is there are no lines,” Strohacker said. “A lot of people did not come out so far. I guess it was too hot for them.”
“They were giving out free water bottles,” Mcrae said. “I got here earlier and bought some sno-cones. And then we started refilling the water bottles.”
Strohacker said there was a lot to do and they could always find some shade.
“It hasn’t been bad,” Strohacker added. “At least there has been a breeze.”
More people attended the event as the day wore on. “Motel Breakfast” was the first musical act in the beer garden area at the ice rink location. They were followed by “The Stingers.”
But while the lines were not long, kids still visited the petting zoo and took turns on the pony rides. Members of Sarah’s Pony Trail and Rides, located in Willow Springs, said the animals were holding up well.
“We give the animals baths,” Dillon said. “We also give them water and we also give them Gatorade. We kind of spoil them.”