The Ouilmette Foundation will hit the beach at 6 p.m. this Saturday, Aug. 20, for its third annual summer fundraiser in the Gillson Beach parking lot.
Organizers Sue Averill and Cathy Pratt look forward to an evening of food, drinks and live music with local vendors, area bands and the big bonfire on the beach, where a lifeguard chair in need of replacement will burn for about three hours.
The bash is held in cooperation with the Wilmette Park District and money raised benefits the district’s scholarship fund, which enables lower-income families and individuals to participate in park district programming. Funds also support special projects, such as a planned restoration of the Wallace Bowl in Gillson Park.
Pratt is particularly excited about the Wallace Bowl improvements, because restoring the amphitheater was the foundation’s first project in 1973.
“The Wallace Bowl has held up very well, so not a lot needs to be done,” Averill said. “But anything like that needs some work after 40 years.”
According to Lindsay Thomas, the park district’s manager of operations, the inaugural Beach Bash in June 2019 was a celebration of the new beach house on Gillson Beach.
“The foundation stepped in to help,” with the event, which had the same format as this Saturday’s party, she said.
After a pause for COVID in 2020, the partners brought the Beach Bash back in September 2021.
For this year’s event, Wilmette band Antler Chandelier will lead off on a stage set up at the south end of the beach parking lot. Popular cover band Maggie Speaks will follow.
Among the food and drink vendors will be a truck from La Cocinita, run by a Wilmette family that also has a store in Evanston. Chicago Lunch Box, the Fat Shallot and Little Louie’s round out the returning vendors, and Chills Italian Ice is a new addition. Attendees can purchase beers from local breweries Double Clutch, Fortnight and Cruz Blanca. A separate tent will serve wine and mixed drinks.
As a new feature, the foundation is partnering with Go Green Wilmette to make the Beach Bash a low-waste event. Pratt said that the groups worked with the food vendors to offer food in compostable containers. The event will also use compostable cups and straws.
Go Green Wilmette board member Nicole Boomgarten said that Go Green Wilmette will pay for the difference in cost between plastic and compostable products such as cups, rice bowls, lids and utensils.
Two waste stations staffed by Go Green Wilmette volunteers and employees of composting company Collective Resource will be present. Volunteers will stack cups and food containers to reduce the volume of material collected and will help attendees put their trash in the right receptacle. Collective Resource will then compost the food and container waste.
Pratt noted that while reducing waste is not easy, the foundation fully supports the effort and plans to continue to keep the Beach Bash low waste in future years.
Tickets to the bash are $60 and are available at the gate or they can be purchased ahead of time at the event webpage. There is no rain date.
Pratt and Averill wish to thank the many local businesses and families that sponsor the Beach Bash. They encourage attendees to walk, cycle or Uber to the event, as the Gillson parking lot will be taken up for the party.
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