Gorgeous weather, tons of happy Democrats and Democratic candidates, nearly 200 kids counting candy in a jar, loads of GPAD swag and one adorable, fluffy donkey prize. What more could you want?
After 15 months of pandemic shutdown, Greater Palatine Area Democrats went Fourth this weekend at the 2021 Palatine Jaycees' Hometown Fest and the Rolling Meadows Fourth of July Parade!
Our Hometown Fest booth offered fest-goers so many delights: local Democratic and progressive electeds and 2022 Democratic and progressive candidates! Awesome swag: "Dems Are Cool" donkey fans, GPAD drink cozies, fabulous patriotic kid eyeglasses to decorate, one-of-a-kind GPAD t-shirts for sale, AND an adorable stuffed plush donkey prize for the person who guessed the correct number of candies in a jar! Our friends at NWSOFA had issue petitions needing signatures! Folks could take selfies with President Biden, Vice President Harris and the Statue of Liberty! And of course, passerby had wonderful, meaningful conversations with our friendly Democratic and Progressive volunteers!
GPAD was honored to host at our booth SO MANY local elected progressive Democrats: IL Sixth Cong. Sean Casten; State House Rep. Mark Walker and State House Rep. Michelle Mussman; Cook Co. Commissioner Scott Britton (who actually signed up to work a shift!); Cook Co. Assessor Fritz Kaegi; IL Sixth Democratic Committeepeople and Central Committee Members Patrick Watson and Nancy Shepherdson. We were honored to have 2022 candidates visit: Chicago City Clerk Anna Valencia for Secretary of State, Chicago Ald. Pat Dowell for Secretary of State; Junaid Ahmed for Congress in the IL Eighth; Drew King for 54th House District (who also volunteered a shift); Cristina Nonato for Metropolitan Water Reclamation District; and Cook County Judge candidates Sanjay Tailor and Rena Marie Van Tine.
So much gratitude to Chicago Ald. Pat Dowell, candidate for Secretary of State, who joined GPAD at the Rolling Meadows Fourth of July parade on Sunday morning! People LOVED our donkey fans, but they loved more our President Biden, posing through the sunroof of Matt Flamm's car.
But most of all I want to recognize the volunteers who organized our event, set up our booth, and worked shifts during a beautiful, sunny, and very hot weekend. The creative geniuses of our Hometown Fest 2021 Committee: Jerry Freda, who masterminded the donkey contest and took our t-shirt design to a higher level; Melissa Ortega, who jumped into handling so many aspects of the weekend; Kathy Feingold, who kept an eye on our finances; Gretchen Coleman, who helped with swag searches, and Joyce Slavik, who helped hone our message and doubled up on volunteering at both the fest and the Rolling Meadows July 4th Parade. A special shoutout to Harold Whyte, who responded to my Friday night call to help haul boatloads of supplies to the festival site, took terrific candid photos during the weekend, helped take down the booth and cart the heavy stuff back to donors and the office, as well as serve as GPAD parade marshal for our small group at the Rolling Meadows parade.
Many, many thanks to our wonderful volunteers: Committeeperson Emeritus Matt Flamm, Linda Fleming, Audrey Olsen, Donna Epton, Drew King, Janet and Steve Sullivan, Kelly Godawski, Ed Yung, Sarah Fallon, Scott Britton, Thakar S. Basati, Chelsea LaLiberte Barnes, Paula Uscian, Joseph Johnson, Tracey Coleman, Jim McGrath (both of GPAD and NWSOFA), Bill Davis, who donated tables and all the NWSOFA materials; Joe Gump, Lisa and Randy Goranson, Ronda Scott-Marek, and Karen Wagner.
So glad to see people In Real Life! Sadly, the Village of Palatine canceled the non-profit booths for the August Streetfest this year, so GPAD will not have another festival event this summer. However, we are hoping to start holding in-person meetings on local issues--keep an eye out!