The free event will also feature live music, food vendors, artists, a beer and wine garden and a children’s zone. The musical entertainment will include Liz Janes, the Pork & Beans Brass Band, The Silver Dollar Family Band and S.M. Wolf.
The gala, whose history dates back to 1909, was first celebrated when the Brookside Civic League saw the need for a festival to unite the community. Residents strung thousands of paper lanterns on the park’s bandstand, bridges and trees and illuminated them with candles. Surrounding homeowners also decked their porches with colorful lanterns.
Attendees – estimated at 15,000 – especially enjoyed the event once it got dark because they could enjoy all the lights.
By World War II the festival was held only intermittently before fading away. It was in 2003 when area residents, volunteers and the Lanterns Foundation revived the tradition.
The park, located on the Near Eastside at 1800 Nowland Ave., also sports its fair share of history.
A charming stone bandstand with a tile roof once graced the grounds before it was demolished and replaced with a metal gazebo in the early 1970s, much to the ire of park patrons, according to the foundation’s website.
An old gentleman who grew up across the street recalled that gangster John Dillinger used to play baseball in the park as a boy. Later, he said, Dillinger’s chauffeur lived on Brookside Avenue, and the gang was known to gather at the park in the 1930s.