Backlot Bash returns this weekend to downtown Skokie
Skokie's Backlot Bash
2012 SKOKIE BACKLOT BASH
When: 6-10 p.m. Aug. 24; 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Aug. 25; noon to 8 p.m. Aug. 26.
Where: Downtown Skokie. A closed off, two-block portion of Oakton Street, between Lincoln and Laramie Avenues next to Skokie Village Hall, 5127 Oakton St.
Parking: Handicapped Parking is available at 5200 Oakton St. Enter through the alley from either Lockwood or Laramie avenues, north of Oakton. Handicapped parking is also located in all general parking lots.
The following are open during hours of the Backlot Bash: Oakton Community College, 7701 Lincoln Ave., the Mulford Avenue Parking Lot; Illinois Science & Technology Park parking garage, 4835 Searle Parkway; Chase Bank Parking Deck, 8001 Lincoln Ave. and parking lot on Greenwood Street north of city parking lot; St. Paul’s Lutheran Academy, 5201 Galitz St.; St. Peter’s Catholic Church, 8116 Niles Center Road — Lincoln Avenue, side parking lot past school; Lincoln Jr. High School, parking lots at 7839 Lincoln Ave. and Mulford Street.
Bicycle Parking: Available throughout the Backlot Bash grounds including at the Skokie Public Library and Skokie Village Hall.
Backlot Information: (847) 674-1500, ext. 2274, or access www.backlotbash.com.
Updated: September 25, 2012 10:28AM
SKOKIE — It’s probably the happiest sign that school is approaching, which isn’t always a happy occasion for students.
But the annual Backlot Bash does end-of-summer up right, a three day, village-wide party that attracts families for a plethora of entertainment, food and fun.
The event is sponsored by the Independent Merchants of Downtown Skokie (IMODS), the Skokie Chamber of Commerce, the Skokie Public Library and the Skokie Park District. For much of the weekend, the heart of downtown Skokie on Oakton Street will be closed off to accommodate the festivities.
By the night of Aug. 26 more than 15 hours of free live music will have been performed on the festival’s main stage across from Village Hall. Like the last five years, the festival will open with the same band — Tributosaurus. But that hardly means that festival-goers will get the same act.
Tributosaurus transforms itself into a new musician every year. The targeted tribute group du jour for the 2012 Bash is Tom Petty.
Other main-stage musical highlights over the three days include The Fixx, a band that debuted in 1982 in England; The Steepwater Band, performing a hybrid of classic blues rock, Americana and pyschedelia; Tristen, a Nashville-based singer/songwriter with a modern take on American folk rock; Rivals of the Peacemaker, which delivers gritty roots Americana; the Matt Hendricks Duo serving up acoustic blues and slide guitar; bluegrass musician Keith Baumann; Local H, a hard rock duo from Zion; the Handcuffs, a popular pop band; Certain Stars, Milwaukee power popsters; We Killed the Lion, Chicago-based hard rockers; and Brazillian guitarist Paulinho Garcia.
The streets of downtown Skokie also become home to a family-favorite carnival over the three days.
Carnival rides will be held on all three days of the festival. Writstband specials and “mega passes” are available for unlimited rides.
Other festival highlights include the following:
• The Skokie Valley Rotary Club will sponsor its popular all-you-can-eat pancake breakfast from 8-11 a.m. Aug. 26. The event calls for a $6 donation that benefits Rotary Supported Charities.
• Silent films will be shown at the historic Skokie Theatre. “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” will also be performed at 10:30 p.m. Aug. 24 in a fundraiser for the Les Turner ALS Foundation.
• The Backlot Dash will be held Aug. 25 in downtown Skokie. Registration is at 8 a.m. The 5K race begins at 9:30 a.m. and the Kids Fun Run at 9 a.m. An awards ceremony will be held at 11 a.m. on the Backlot Bash main stage.
• Two days of classic and antique car viewing are set for 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. Aug. 25 and 2:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Aug. 26.
• Local businesses will be showcased from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Aug. 25 and from noon to 5 p.m. Aug. 26 at a Business Expo.
• “Split the pot” Bingo games will be held all three days of the festival.
• 50/50 raffle tickets will be available throughout the event and at the information booth. A drawing will be held at 5:45 p.m. Aug. 26.
• The Skokie Public Library will host dance, music and improvisation performances Aug. 25 and Aug. 26.
• Food vendorse will offer a variety of items from corn on the cob and hot dogs to turkey legs and fried rice.
An extended beer tent area will serve beer, wine and hard lemonade.
The Backlot Bash isn’t Skokie’s first downtown festival. More than 10 years ago, the Skokie Park District sponsored a downtown festival that was discontinued and reconfigured for Oakton Park because downtown merchants were not happy with the disruption of business at the time.
That’s where the grassroots Independent Merchants of Downtown Skokie stepped in, successfully proposing that the festival be returned to its original location to help remake downtown.
The festival’s name was chosen as an homage to when Skokie — then Niles Center — was used as a “backlot” for the filming of some classic silent movies.