Silver Lake -- The annual festival presented by the Silver Lake Garden Club will carry the "Land of Make Believe" theme on July 15.

The event, which is the garden club's major fundraiser, will take place from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. at Silver Lake Park, 2915 Silver Lake Blvd.

Susan Weiss, who is the chairperson of the festival committee, said the event began as an ice cream festival in 1935. A life-long resident, Weiss said she remembers attending the festival as a young child and recalls eating a sloppy joe sandwich with her first-grade teacher.

"It brings back a lot of memories," added Weiss.

Elizabeth Hays, a member of the festival committee, noted that while past event themes have centered around specific movies, TV shows or fictional books, she said the committee "couldn't quite zero in on [on a particular one] this year."

So, a committee member suggested the "Land of Make Believe" theme. Hays said children are encouraged to dress as a character from a movie, book or other fictional story. The choice is up to the youngsters and their parents.

"Whatever character they would like," said Hays. "We are hoping that we see a lot of cute costumes from the kids."

With the selection of the theme, Weiss said the hope is that children can use it as the inspiration for a costume that they could wear in the parade, decorations on their bike or even for the design of a float.

"They can use their creativity," said Weiss. "We thought 'Land of Make Believe' reaches out to young children up to [older children] who are still interested in being in a parade. We try to have something that is kind of all-encompassing."

One new activity is a tug of war at 4:30 p.m. Both adults and children are encouraged to participate, said Hays.

Fantasy Creations by Tiffany will do face painting styles that will be "more elaborate" than previous face painters at the festival, according to Weiss, who said she's been involved with the event committee since the mid-1980s.

Weiss said a band performing earlier than usual, a DJ playing music during the final hour and sidewalk chalk art are some of the other changes that were incorporated this year.

For the most part, Hays said the committee did not want to add many new activities because they were keeping an eye on their budget.

As always, the festival will include a parade, games, food, swimming and boat rides. The Kids Fun Run will be the first event of the day at 9 a.m. Registration will take place at 8:45.

The Land of Make Believe Parade will start at 11:45 a.m. Registration and judging will start at 11:15 in front of Silver Lake Elementary School. The opening ceremonies will start at noon with welcoming remarks from Garden Club President Donna Rolando, an invocation by Pastor Brad Jagger, the Pledge of Allegiance and the Star-Spangled Banner performed by the Silver Lake Singers.

A variety of festival-style food such as pizza, hot dogs and corn on the cob will be available, as well as ice cream, pop and water.

There will be pontoon boat rides, sailboat races, swimming races and a cake walk.

There will be performances from the Silver Lake Singers and the Metro Parks Band, as well as music played by DJ Duane.

The Village Store will be open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Weiss said the money raised by the garden club goes toward beautifying the village through planting flowers, trees and shrubs. The club handles the planting of flowers on the 20-plus islands in the village and typically plants a tree on Arbor Day.

Looking ahead, the festival next year will be centered around the village's centennial celebration, according to Hays and Weiss.

Weiss said the committee is working on coming up with a phrase that will be used in conjunction with the 2018 festival's celebration of the village's 100th birthday.

Email: pkeren@recordpub.com

Phone: 330-541-9421