WATERMAN – Norm Gaston has been a Waterman Lions Club member for more than 35 years and has been involved with the Waterman Lions Summerfest since it first began.
The 19th annual Waterman Lions Summerfest will take place from 7 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. Saturday, July 20, at Waterman Lions Park, 420 S. Birch St.
The schedule of events includes a country farm breakfast, Soybean Adventure, sheep herding demonstration, a tractor pull, kids’ activities, a craft show and flea market, kids’ entertainment by The Amazing Tim Adamz, a cowboy quick draw, the tractor and truck parade of power, a vintage baseball game, a pedal pull, a bags tournament, a beer garden, a pork chop barbecue dinner, live musical performances by The Beaux, The Relics and Whiskey Romance and fireworks.
Gaston described the event as “something for everyone,” with a heavy focus on affordability. Entrance to the event and parking are free.
“The event was started by [Honey Hill Orchard owner and Lions Club member] Steve Bock as a small event, and it has grown nicely through the years and now continues in his memory,” Gaston said. “We have always strived to make it very affordable. A family doesn’t have to have deep pockets or bring their checkbook or a bunch of money. We wanted an event that’s affordable and fun for the whole family.”
There are children’s activities from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., including learning how to drive a tractor and fly a model airplane, Waterman and Western Railroad rides, barrel train rides, hay rides and a petting zoo. The Amazing Tim Adamz will perform at 11 a.m., sponsored by the Clinton Township Library. There will be a pedal pull from 2 to 3 p.m., with sign-up beginning at 1:30 p.m.
Shawn Blobaum, co-chairman of the tractor committee, helps check in tractors for display. Radio broadcaster Max Armstrong and DeKalb County Farm Bureau President Mark Tuttle will announce the parade of power at noon.
“I see the event grow every year, and it’s becoming a regional event,” Blobaum said. “People come and bring their tractors from Ottawa, Mount Morris, Polo, Geneva and St. Charles.”
New this year, Connie and John Seraphine and the Border Collies of Heatherhope Farm in Sycamore will give sheep herding demonstrations from 10 to 11 a.m.
Returning for its second year to Summerfest, Soybean Adventure, sponsored by the Waterman-Shabbona Business Association, will be from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. It features information about Illinois soybeans and soybean products and will include farm equipment, artifacts and booths.
Blobaum said another change this year is “a longer and more impressive fireworks show.” The fireworks will begin at 9:15 p.m. and are in memory of, and with donations from, the Glenn Fletcher and Harlan Wiley families. After the fireworks, Whiskey Romance will continue to play and the beer garden will be open until 11:30 p.m.
“I remember talking to other folks from town and they said that they had no idea the Lions Club had an event every year,” Blobaum said. “It’s important for us to get the word out and let everyone know that Summerfest is happening. There’s a lot to see and do, it’s a great affordable and fun event for everyone of every age.”