Summer in the Parks brings new look to Woodstock tradition

By Ken Keenan For Chronicle Media

Emricson Park, 1313 Kishwaukee Valley Road, is one of two local parks hosting a variety of summer activities in Woodstock. (Photo courtesy of Woodstock Recreation Department)

A traditional community event in Woodstock gets a makeover of sorts this year with Summer in the Parks, a reconfigured version of the previous Summer in the Park festival.

Hosted by the Woodstock Area Chamber of Commerce & Industry, in partnership with the City of Woodstock, Summer in the Parks will be held from Wednesday, June 21 through Sunday, June 25 at two locations: Woodstock Square and Emricson Park.

“Summer in the Park had been run well, and appreciated by many people,” said Woodstock Area Chamber President Brad Ball. “But as it evolved over time, it outgrew the city staff’s ability to manage it. So, we worked together to expand it into a bigger and better attraction. Our tagline is: One City. Two Locations. Five Days of Fun.”

The event opens on Wednesday with the Woodstock City Band Concert (7-8:30 p.m.) at the Park in the Square. It continues on Thursday with the Summer Sip & Shop (ages 21 and up) at various establishments in the Historic Woodstock Square. Offerings include wine, pre-mixed cocktails, sangria and more, and nonalcoholic options as well. The cost is $50 per person, and tickets must be purchased in advance (online only at Participants will receive a commemorative Summer in the Parks wine glass.

Movie in the Park on the Square will be held at 8:30 p.m. Thursday with a showing of the comedy, “School of Rock.”

Emricson Park is the site for activities on Friday, beginning at 4:30 p.m. with a variety of vendor booths and nine area food trucks. A variety of local craft beers and popular drinks will be available as well.

Live music concludes the Friday festivities, with headliner Beyond The Blonde at 9 p.m., preceded by the Pino Farina Band at 6:30 p.m.

Summer in the Parks continues Saturday at both locations. The Woodstock Farmers Market at Woodstock Square will be open from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m., and the Amazing Woodstock Race (hosted by Friends of the Opera House, Library and Old Courthouse) will run from 2-4 p.m. (register in advance at The event is based on “The Amazing Race” TV show, and participants will race around the Square.

Emricson Park will again have vendors, food and drinks, with music from The GooRoos at 6:30 p.m. and the Lounge Puppets at 9 p.m.

Sunday is Family Day (noon to 6 p.m.), featuring special activities and live performances provided by area nonprofit and community organizations — as well as vendors, food, drinks and a live performance by Vinyl Goldmine at 3:30 p.m.

“We want people to experience the parks, the Square, local businesses … the breadth of things going on in our local community,” Ball said. “Summer in the Parks gives us an opportunity to do that.”

For more information, contact the Chamber at or call 815-338-2436.