Grosse Ile’s Islandfest is the flagship event for June. Sporting 25,000 visitors and over 82 community groups, the humble island transforms into an exhilarating festival with something for everybody: music, helicopter rides, beer tents, carnival rides, fireworks, and a 44,000 sq. ft. hangar as a commons.
Islandfest is a family friendly event with something for everybody.
In its 34th official year, what began as the Azalea Festival in 1984 to honor Grosse Ile’s Westcroft Gardens, hasn’t lost its hometown charm. Said Chairman Chad Novak, “although we like to bring a new feel to it each year by adding fun, fresh, and festive things.”
Growing up on Grosse Ile, Novak said, a focus on community was always evident – and that goes hand in hand with Islandfest. “It is our largest annual event. We can bring non-profits, families, artists, vendors, exhibitors and people of all ages to enjoy the fun in a safe environment. It’s somewhere mom and dad can go to enjoy a beverage and not worry about the kids running around at the carnival. That’s the kind of community we are.”
“We’ve worked with hundreds of sponsors to offer a great event,” said Novak. “And offering reasonably prices options such as helicopter rides, a carnival, and premium seating for the fireworks.”
Novak said it’s the community and the festival commission that make Islandfest special. “It is challenging. But we are a really small commision that does really big things.”
Novak said the best thing for him is just riding around with his dog checking on the festivities. “When I’m tooling around on the golf cart with my little bulldog, GIGI, and I see helicopters taking off or the bands we have lined up to entertain visitors, it’s exciting!” said Novak. “People always approach me with suggestions and opinions, but the big payoff is when the kids and parents come up and say, Mr.Chad, Mr. Chad, thanks for all that you do! It’s our favorite time of the year! Well, and Christmas.”
“Safety is our number one priority,” said Novak. “We bring in additional police, reserves, and the border patrol, for the people from off the island. There’s never been a major issue at one of our festivals. Islandfest is a family friendly event with something for everybody!”