Flossmoor residents, guests enjoy a day of community spirit at Flossmoor Fest

The annual Flossmoor Fest gave the community a chance to come together for some family fun, and a chance for inanimate dogs to help out living dogs with serious health problems. 

Although the forecast said otherwise, Mayor Paul Braun predicted the weather would hold for the crowds at Flossmoor Fest on Saturday, Sept. 8.

Score one for the mayor.

The day was cool, breezy, overcast and fall-like, but the rains in the forecast did not materialize.

Downtown Flossmoor and Flossmoor Park were filled all day and evening with residents and visitors who enjoyed food, live music and activities for all ages.

The Homewood-Flossmoor High School Marching Band kicked off the festival with an energetic performance.

The entertainment also included a performance by the Jesse White Tumblers and a chance to join a drum circle hosted by former District 161 music teacher Laura Miller of Creative CommUNITY Music.

The turf in Flossmoor Park was a bit soggy from recent rains but not enough to prevent kids from stopping by a number community organization booths, with opportunities to shoot hoops, play tennis and do some arts and crafts.

Kiddie train journeys also began at the park. And Vardon Place became the location for bounce houses, pony rides, a fun slide and a carnival ride to avoid damaging the soft park turf. 

Among the many booths lining Sterling Road downtown was the Dogs on Parade display sponsored by the South Suburban Humane Society. Gathered at the booth were 19 dog statues that were decorated by sponsoring businesses and organizations.

An auction for the statues ended at 7 p.m. and SSHS volunteers at the booth cheered when SSHS CEO Emily Klehm reported the results: $12,530 raised. 

That exceeded the amount raised during the inaugural Pets on Parade project hosted in 2017 by Homewood and with 11 fewer statues to auction.

"We're so happy," Klehm said. "The Homewood-Flossmoor community is so supportive of our organization."

The money goes into the society's Buddy Fund, which is used to help animals at the shelter with serious, often expensive, medical problems.

"Just in the last couple of weeks we had a dog who was shot with a rifle and has bullets that need to be removed from its hip," Klehm said. "It's those kinds of cases that we don't have the funds on a regular basis to treat."

One dog statue, Prints of Love, sponsored by SSHS, brought in the biggest share of that total. The dog went for $2,010. Klehm said two SSHS volunteers got into a bidding war for the statue.

That was the biggest but not the only case of generous support during the auction. 
Ken Henderson of Olympia Fields won three dogs, the most for any individual bidder. Henderson said he wasn't aware of the fundraiser until he stopped at Healthy Hounds in downtown Flossmoor to buy supplies for his pets. He saw the statues on display along Sterling Road and decided to give the auction a try.

"My wife and I are animal lovers and this organization does amazing work," he said. "Glad that we were able to participate in the auction. My dog and cats love the new 'dogs' we brought home."

Village officials also wanted a dog. The thought was to be the highest bidder for the dog the village sponsored and put him on display at village hall. Braun said the board of trustees, village clerk and he bid on the dog with their own money pledged. 

"We were outbid at the last second," he said. The dog went for $775.

Klehm said the money was not the only benefit from doing the auction and attending the festival.

"So many people come up and tell us the stories of the pets they've adopted from the shelter," she said.

Klehm noted that the work of saving animals can be hard. The staff and volunteers are very encouraged when they hear stories about pets that now have loving homes.

Among all the fun and community spirit at the event, there was one unfortunate incident. According to social media reports from witnesses, two individuals got in a fight on Sterling Road. When bystanders tried to break up the fight, one individual was pushed into the plate glass window at Coldwell Banker on the corner of Sterling and Flossmoor Road.

The window was shattered, but witnesses did not believe anyone was seriously injured.

 

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