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September 2019

18th Annual Taste Of Thornton Township

Betty Jones watched as her grandchildren and others jumped, danced and hugged some of their favorite superheroes and princesses. She could see the joy in the room full of excited children as they spent a few hours living out the south suburb version of Disney World.

“I heard about this event and I greatly appreciate it because it offers opportunities to meet new people from the neighborhood and it gives the children a chance to meet and make friends with other children their age,” said Jones. “The children could not have been happier.”

It was just another aspect of the successful 18th annual Taste of Thornton Township event which took place on a beautiful summer day at South Suburban College, 15800 State Street in South Holland. The morning began with a breakfast, where superheroes and princesses ate with the children and the parents. During this event, children participated in coloring activities, photographs, dance parties and ate breakfast with their families and fictional heroes.

Not only was there an incredible turnout, but it was an opportunity for the parents and the children to enjoy a family-friendly event that was free to the community.

“This is an event that has been a staple at Thornton Township for years and it continues to grow. We add more superheroes and princesses and more entertainment for the kids,” said Paula Counts, a Thornton Township Human Relations Commissioner who helps coordinate the event.” We heard incredible feedback and we appreciate all the kind words that families have told us about the event. They mention how very few events offered are free.”

 At the end of the breakfast, volunteers handed out backpacks to the children to start the school year off with a fresh start. Immediately preceding the breakfast was the festive Taste of Thornton Township where it was filled with local food vendors, crafts, live music and performances, free carnival rides and games, and free petting zoo amongst the free activities and amenities.  There were hundreds of people and families who joined the event and each person appreciated different aspects and qualities about it. Some came for the rides while others arrived later for the live music.

“We had an incredible turnout once again this year. This event gets bigger and better with each year,” said Frank M. Zuccarelli, Thornton Township supervisor. “These kinds of events not only provide a great service but focus on bringing the community together and creating everlasting memories.”

Riverdale Wins Third Annual Taste Of Thornton Township Basketball Tournament

The Third annual Taste of Thornton Township basketball tournament crowned the Riverdale Park District team as champions. This year the tournament was bigger in several ways. Eight teams participants in the double elimination tournament which was the largest ever. In addition, the crowd filled the South Suburban College bleachers. More than 150 people were in attendance for the tournament that combines police, firefighters, those employees and teenagers playing on the same team with the pride of their town. Riverdale Police and Fire Department came in second, while the Harvey Police Department came in third. 

“This tournament was one of the best for many reasons. The large crowd watching the early game really elevated the enthusiasm and energy in the building,” said Ernst Lamothe Jr., township communication manager Typically, communities have police officers and kids playing against each other in a basketball tournament; however, Thornton Township officials, decided the alternative made more sense.

“The way you make a community stronger is working together, loving each other, and knowing each other,” said Frank M. Zuccarelli, Thornton Township supervisor. “We shouldn’t have kids and police officers on opposite teams. We should have them side by side helping lift each other up. This is something we are going to do every year, and it is going to be bigger and better.”

Riverdale Park District lost the first game of the double-elimination tournament and then ran the table and won five consecutive games to win the championship.

“We are so thankful that the township organizes programs like this,” said Kendall Parrott, executive director of the Riverdale Park District. “You were impressed on how coordinated and high-level this tournament was. We plan to be part of it for years to come and hopefully repeat as champions next year.”

The five-on-five basketball tournament, which was held at South Suburban College, is an example of many Thornton Township’s programs that focus on police officers and teenagers learning more about each other.

“You could immediately see that the basketball tournament really brought the officers and teenagers together. They huddled with each other, and encouraged and supported one another throughout the day,” said Lamothe Jr. “We saw police officers, firefighters and village employees putting their arms around teenagers and just sitting down and having good conversations, laughing together and having a great time.”

“We pride ourselves on creating new and exciting programs they both entertain and bring together our residents. This basketball tournament is just another example of that,” added Jerry Jones, Thornton Township board member.