Rib Fest in Lake in the Hills will have mask ban



Frank Gary heats ribs at the Pigfoot booth during the Rockin’ Rib Fest Friday at Sunset Park in Lake in the Hills in 2023.
Patrick Kunzer for Shaw Local News Network

Lake in the Hills officials have voted to ban face coverings at the Rockin’ Rib Fest to be put on by the local Rotary Club next month.

Village President Ray Bogdanowski said the rule was made at the police department’s discretion, but the ban is more targeting masks such as skeleton masks that hide large portions of people’s faces — not health-related masks.

He said the village might look into an ordinance on masks, but anyone who must wear a mask for health reasons will be “fine” at Rib Fest.

Rockin’ Rib Fest, an annual festival in Lake in the Hills featuring music and ribs from vendors around the country, is set to take place July 11 to 14 at Sunset Park.

The festival will have the first carnival in Lake in the Hills since the Cabin Fever Carnival was shut down in late April because of fights.

Police confirmed that they were not on hand during the Cabin Fever Carnival, and documents released about that carnival didn’t include a security plan.

Police will be on hand at Rib Fest. Village documents indicate that the Rotary Club of Lake in the Hills is asking for a waiver of police hourly fees but will pay police overtime. The overtime is estimated to cost $23,150, according to village documents.

Village staff wanted the approval of Rib Fest to be “subject to the restriction of face coverings at the event,” according to documents.

In response to a Northwest Herald inquiry about the mask ban, Lake in the Hills police public information officer Amanda Schmitt emailed a statement that says the department is continually reevaluating and updating safety and security measures.

“The Lake in the Hills Police Department believes our residents, community members, and event attendees will be supportive of updated safety and security measures at future events that will benefit in the overall protection of their families and in the interest of the community as a whole.”

Village Administrator Shannon Andrews told the village board last week that Windy City Amusements — the company that operated the spring carnival and has a contract to operate Rib Fest — plans to have a 6-feet-tall chain-link fence around the carnival with “defined” entrances and exits.

Windy City Amusements did not respond to emails seeking comment.

At a Tuesday meeting ahead of the Thursday vote, the village board briefly discussed Rib Fest but didn’t discuss security or the mask ban. Rib Fest came up in passing Thursday when Bogdanowski mentioned the Rotary is 20 years old this year.

The Lake in the Hills mask ban comes as state lawmakers in North Carolina are weighing a ban on masks in most public places, with proponents citing security. Officials have added a proposed exception to the bill that would allow people to wear a mask in public if they are doing so to try to stop the spread of contagious diseases, according to The Associated Press.



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