The band, Hair, plays in the beer tent Friday night at Oak Lawn's Fall Music Fest. (Photo by Kelly White)

The band, Hair, plays in the beer tent Friday night at Oak Lawn's Fall Music Fest. (Photo by Kelly White)

Oak Lawn trustees sing praises of Fall Music Festival 

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By Joe Boyle 

Several Oak Lawn trustees gave high praise to this past weekend’s music fall fest and mentioned that there were a couple of key reasons for that.

“The St. Catherine and St. Gerald carnivals were very successful,” said Trustee Alex Olejniczak (2nd) during the Oak Lawn Village Board meeting Tuesday night. “Our police department did a very good job while other communities were concerned about having festivals. Everybody felt safe and had fun.”

Olejniczak added that the second Oak Lawn Music Fall Fest was a huge success and credited Trustee Paul Mallo (3rd), the chief organizer of the event, as the major reason for that.

“The music fest does not cost the taxpayers a dime,” Olejniczak said. “The money came through food sales and beverages.”

Mayor Terry Vorderer was in complete agreement and said that all the profits from the event go to local charities.

Mallo appreciated the kind words but added that many people were involved in the effort.

“This was fully funded by our sponsors and it was successful largely because of our businesses. And the police did a great job. It was safe all the way through the weekend.”

Trustee James Pembroke (4th) also applauded the efforts of Mallo, the police and the volunteers who worked at the festival.

“It was a great week for Oak Lawn,” Pembroke said.

Trustee Ralph Soch (6th) also chimed in, saying the fall fest benefits the community as a whole.

“The money raised goes to charity and we get a free fest,” Soch said. “We are not looking to make money, we just want people to have a good time.”

Soch also praised the efforts of first responders, especially how they reacted to an incident during the recent St. Catherine of Alexandria 5K Run. A child fell who was participating in the run. Some participants accidentally stepped on the fallen youth, who was shaken up.

But Soch said that firefighters quickly responded and reassured the youth. They calmed the child down, Soch said. The trustee said police also arrived and talked to the youth.

Village Manager Tom Phelan can recall when he was a trustee back in 2005 when changes began to take place at what was then the Fall on the Green.

“Before that, many of the organizers were paid. Since then, we have changed to volunteers. This saves money for taxpayers. Income raised also assists other events, like the summer concerts and Santa on the Green.”

Phelan added that the success of the fall fest is due in large part to the community and the businesses that are involved.

“And people are assured that they will be safe,” Phelan said. “For the second straight year, we have fenced in most of the area around the fest and everyone can see a large police presence. Yes, we even had a sniper on the roof (of the library). We hate to have to do that but this is the way it is right now. Maybe, someday, we won’t have to. But I think most people want to be in a safe environment. I just want to make sure that all staff and volunteers get their proper due.”

Vorderer proclaimed this week as Payroll Week and Ovarian Cancer Awareness Week. He also proclaimed Sept. 17 through Sept. 23 as Constitution Week, marking the 236th anniversary of the U.S. Constitution.

Vorderer gave his final thoughts on the festival.

“A lot has been said about the fest and I have received so many compliments from so many people,” the mayor said. “But it’s all due to the board. They have put in the work and put in more than 100%. It makes me proud to be the mayor of this village.”

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