Want to really celebrate the start of the summer
Then take the whole family to the annual Strawberry
Jazz Festival being sponsored by the Community Arts
Council of Kankakee County 11 a.m. -4 p.m. June 3 at
Gov. Small Memorial Park, 801 S. Eighth Ave., Kankakee.
The free event will feature more than 60 arts and
crafts artisans displaying handmade items, a wide variety
of food vendors and continuous entertainment. The
festival has grown so large that it now utilizes the
entire park. Last year thousands of people browsed
through displays around the grounds and in the Dr. A.L.
Small Home, Civic Auditorium and Kankakee County
Museum. They also visited the Old Taylor School House
and then strolled through both of the park’s
“It seems as if each year attendance grows and along
with it the number of vendors who want to participate.
It’s a way for people of all ages to experience many
kinds of arts and crafts and have a wonderful time
doing it,” says Sherry Merry, public relations chair of
CAC. “There are so many activities that people can
spend the whole afternoon enjoying the arts and
relaxing,” says Janice Miller, president of the
Community Arts Council
Inside the Dr. Small Home there will be
demonstrations and a display of quilts, plus other types
of artistic needlework and pieces created by porcelain
painters. Other vendors will feature a myriad of items,
from watercolor, acrylic and oil paintings, wood carvings,
pottery, jewelry and photographs, to garden plants and
sculptures, cement leaves, bird houses and children’s
clothing. There also will be jams, jellies, strawberries
and other summer produce for sale.
This year a new event has been added. An auction,
composed of gifts from each vendor, will be held at
the Civic Auditorium to raise funds for high school
summer art scholarships.
Other activities will include a car show featuring vintage
autos from the Heiland Road Hot Rodders Club, and a used
book sale by the Friends of the Kankakee Public Library.
Children will be as busy as their parents. Volunteers from
the museum will be in the Old Taylor Schoolhouse to
read books illustrated by former local artist Ken Stark
and talk about what it was like to attend a one-room
school. Children also will have a chance to play the games
students from bygone days played at recess.
In addition, youngsters will have an opportunity to
make shapes from strawberry sculpting dough and
color the characters in large posters hand-drawn just
for the festival. There also will be face painting and
henna painting. A Karate demonstration, dance
performances, and piano recitals will be held
Entertainment will be performed throughout the
afternoon on the Civic Auditorium’s stage and porch.
Performers will include a Dixieland band, several
dancing groups, musicians, solo and choral singers,
a barbershop group, jugglers, fire dancers, and skits
from coming productions of Kankakee Valley Theatre
and Acting Out Theatre. Suzuki piano students and
students of the Kankakee River Valley Piano Teachers
Association will perform in the museum.
Vendors are asked to follow a strawberry theme so
look for a variety of delicious summer taste treats.
There will be chocolate covered strawberries,
strawberry pie, shortcake and other strawberry foods;
pork chop and pulled pork sandwiches, hot dogs and
rib tips; funnel cakes, kettle corn, cotton candy
and much more.
Parking will be free. Charles St. between Water St.
and Eighth Ave. will be closed, but visitors will find plenty
of parking in the field across from the Civic Auditorium
and in the field along Calista Ave. Handicapped parking
also will be available in the oval near the museum.
Signs will guide visitors. For more information