Typically, a sure sign of summer is the opening of Celebrate Highwood’s Wednesday Evening Market followed by the group’s abundant family-friendly festival and event season. However, like many events this year, the nonprofit had a difficult decision to make and has chosen to cancel its 2020 line-up in light of Governor Pritzker’s “Restore Illinois” plan.
“With the uncertainty and constant changes due to COVID-19, we decided full cancellation of the 2020 season was the right thing to do,” says Ken Robertson, Co-President of Celebrate Highwood. “We are going to take all the time, effort, and energy it takes to plan our wonderful events; and put that into helping boost our community morale and keep our local economies going.”
The first of Celebrate Highwood’s new programs was launched on April 30, raising more than $4,000 in just two days to supply enough grocery bags full of fresh food, produce, and staples for more than 200 local families. Partnering with Nuestro Center, BellaRu Catering, and Mis Dos Magos, food was distributed to families in need by Family Service of Lake County.
“We are so overwhelmed with this outpouring of support from and for our community,” says Kirsten Kuhlmann, newly appointed Executive Director of Celebrate Highwood.
Gail Hodges, Director of Development at Family Service of Lake County, said of the immediate Celebrate Highwood financial support, “You certainly gave us a reason to celebrate, when an ongoing high tide of donations to support food for our families came flooding into our Emergency Fund! I cannot begin to tell you how much this means to help secure the well-being of our families who have been so disproportionately affected by the COVID-19 lockdown.”
Donations can be made online (famservice. org/get-involved/fslc-emergency-fund) in any amount, with as little as $9 providing a prepared meal and $30 covering the cost essential paper goods, bleach, dish soap, and gloves for an entire family.
Although fans of Celebrate Highwood’s popular Bloody Mary Fest, Nashwood, Pumpkin Fest, and more may be disappointed this year, the group is still planning creative pop-up events that align with the themes.
“We have such a creative and energetic Celebrate Highwood Board and we are looking forward to announcing some fun activities to continue to support our local causes,” says Michael Goldstein, Co-President of Celebrate Highwood. “We’re deeply missing our community connections right now and are working hard to develop engaging programming. We are looking forward to when we can all come together again in Highwood to do what we do best—have fun with neighbors and friends.”
Kuhlmann adds, “Our fabulous family friendly festivals and events will not go away. We need everyone’s support now more than ever!”
For more information on Celebrate Highwood’s ongoing philanthropic initiatives, programs, and events visit, celebratehighwood.org or facebook. com/celebratehighwood.