With Humboldt Park’s repairs completed, Riot Fest organizers announced Monday they were working with the 26th Ward Office and Ald. Roberto Maldonado to host what is now the largest turkey drive in Chicago. The drive will be held on Nov. 24 in front of the 26th Ward Office, 2511 W. Division St., between Noon and 2:45 p.m. Riot Fest has purchased 600 turkeys to be distributed by the Riot Fest staff and Ald. Maldonado to 26th Ward families in need. As of Wednesday (Nov. 12), residents can go to the 26th Ward Office and pick up their turkey voucher for the drive.
Regarding park repairs, Riot Fest organizers report that disturbed areas of the park have been graded, reseeded with a high quality turf mix, topsoil has been added and the soil has been aerated to encourage root growth in order to produce a stronger lawn.
“This entire process of restoring the Humboldt Park grounds has been a great demonstration of how the Chicago Park District, Humboldt Park community and Riot Fest can work together to reach a common goal in short order,” said Michael A. Petryshyn, Riot Fest Founder. “We take great pride in calling Humboldt Park our home – in both a ‘park’ sense, but more importantly, a community sense – and there is nothing more important to us than making certain that our relationship with residents stays strong and fluid.”
Fencing has also been installed to protect newly prepped areas; the zones around the ball fields were addressed immediately to best prepare the area for the baseball season, which begins in March 2015. Grounds crew managers reported that all concerns raised by the Chicago Parks Department have been addressed.
“We’re not going to hide behind screens here or start spinning a story… that’s not who we are. It would go against the essence of Riot Fest and the bands we book,” said Petryshyn. “It rained and we damaged the park. Not only did we fix it, but, we’re always setting our sights on helping to make Humboldt Park world-class. To me, it’s one of the best parks in the U.S., let alone Chicago. There’s an _ought_ here on our end to make sure we are part of the beautification process.”
What Petryshyn is alluding to is the pending formation of THE RIOT FEST FOUNDATION – a nonprofit organization that will further the festival’s charitable efforts focused to the Humboldt park locale.
“You have to have blinders on to not see a dichotomy in Humboldt Park. No matter what the stocks or job reports say, there are many amazing families in my community — where I live, work and eat — who are not able to make ends meet,” states Petryshyn. “There is a profound duty on all of us to think community and family first no matter if it’s the 26th Ward or more affluent areas across Chicagoland. Although this is a just a drop in the bucket, our plan is to fill that bucket going forward.”
With partners and many Riot Fest staffers currently living in Humboldt Park, there is an importance in raising awareness and funds to help families in the community. The foundation’s goal is not only to raise funds for college scholarships, enhancement programs, community-based enrichment programs and, of course, helping the youth find their passion in life that might seem unattainable, but to let the community know that Riot Fest is there for them.
More information will be forthcoming about The Riot Fest Foundation in the coming weeks on the official web site: www.riotfestfoundation.org.