Home Local News Annual Farm & Barn Fest in Mokena celebrates early homestead – Chicago Tribune

Annual Farm & Barn Fest in Mokena celebrates early homestead – Chicago Tribune

Annual Farm & Barn Fest in Mokena celebrates early homestead – Chicago Tribune

Mokena Community Park District has presented an annual celebration of historic Yunker Farm, which was among the first homesteads to settle in the area, for nearly two decades.

Farm & Barn Fest on Aug. 13 at Yunker Park in Mokena features free admission and parking across the street at The Oaks Recreation & Fitness Center and Main Park. The Yunker Park lot will be available for parking after 1 pm following the morning flea market.

“It’s historic land so we have the original barn there and the original farmhouse,” said Kara Jelderks, superintendent of recreation for Mokena Community Park District.

“The band shell is newer but it goes really well with the farm decor around the barn. We will be providing tractor-pulled hayrides so people can look at the different barns and just enjoy the view.”

New to Farm & Barn Fest, which first took place in 2005, is a $20 wristband for children’s activities from noon to 5 pm

“We usually did tokens where you would pay for tokens. Each game or activity would cost a certain amount of tokens. If you wanted to do the same thing more than once, you would have to pay multiple tokens for that,” said Jelderks, organizer of Farm & Barn Fest.

“Now with the wristband it’s unlimited. You can use it as many times as you want. The wristband covers pony rides, a petting zoo, a face painter, the Splash Park, and four or five kids’ games and activities.”

Yunker Farm Splash Park is open from noon to 5:30 pm during Farm & Barn Fest.

Event sponsor The Davey Tree Expert Co. or Mokena also provides something new from 9 am to 1 pm

“They are doing tree climbing demonstrations and tree trimming on the farm so they will be having live demonstrations and also answering anyone’s questions about tree care,” said Jelderks of Frankfort.

“A lot of people don’t see this thing from day to day so it should be interesting to watch somebody climb a tree and do a type of job that a lot of us have never seen before.

“They are arborists so they do have a range of knowledge for different tree care, what kind of trees there are and why they’re important.”

Farm & Barn Fest includes a country concert.

“There’s always new entertainment so we have Mackenzie O’Brien, who’s a new, up-and-coming country singer. She’s coming out,” Jelderks said.

“I thought she was really good and thought Mokena would like her. She’s got a beautiful voice.”

The Mackenzie O’Brien Band, which takes the stage from 6 to 7:30 pm, is led by its namesake singer and songwriter of McHenry, who performs between the Midwest and Nashville, Tennessee.

The concert continues from 8 to 10 pm with Chicago-based RockStar Rodeo, who entertained at Farm & Barn Fest years ago and bills itself as the most electrifying rock and country covers band in the USA.

“RockStar Rodeo has a pretty big following so wherever they go their following goes. It brings people from outside the community,” Jelderks said.

“I wanted a bigger, well-known band. I’ve seen RockStar Rodeo multiple times. I know they’re really well-liked. They provide excellent sound and family-friendly music so I wanted to bring them to Mokena again.”

Farm & Barn Fest also features a flea market from 9 am to noon with approximately 20 vendors including sellers from Frankfort, Manhattan, Mokena, Naperville, Orland Park and Woodstock.

“Some are selling toys, collectibles, raw honey, vintage items, stained glass, books, handmade crafts, home decor, educational toys, jewelry, household cleaning items and housewares,” Jelderks said.

Food, beverages and beer are available to purchase all day.

Farm & Barn Fest food vendors include the returning Genoa Italian Concession of Oswego.

“They have Italian sausage, Italian beef, bratwurst, hamburgers, fries, nachos, hot dogs, mozzarella sticks, pretzels, lemonade, loaded tater tots and waffle fries with pulled pork,” Jelderks said.

According to Jelderks, Farm & Barn Fest is a good way to wrap up summer.

“It’s an end-of-the-summer type of event where the whole community can come together and just enjoy family time, music and everyone’s company at a beautiful location,” she said.

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“It is a wonderful family event that has been making memories for years and years to come.”

Farm & Barn Fest

When: 9 am-10 pm Aug. 13

Where: Yunker Park, 10824 W. La Porte Road, Mokena

Tickets: free; $20 wristband required for most children’s activities

Information: 708-390-2401; mokenapark.com

Jessi Virtusio is a freelance reporter for the Daily Southtown.



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