August 10, 2014

Norwood Grease Lightning Carnival for Taft 75th Anniversary

August 10, 2014. Chicago. (ONN) Have you ever seen the movie Grease? Did you know it was written by graduates of Taft High School on the city’s northwest side? Rydell High is Taft and the movie’s hamburger drive in is the just-shuttered Parcey’s hot dogs on Higgins. To honor the 75th anniversary of Taft High School, the community is throwing a Grease-themed carnival August 21-24 across the street from the school at Norwood Park.

Local residents can’t wait for the 1st Annual Grease Lightning Carnival. Image courtesy of

We can’t say we’ve ever heard of a costume-carnival. But if there ever was a carnival where guests would be encouraged to break out the poodle skirts and hair grease, this is it. Your author can personally attest that the northwest side is abuzz about the upcoming event. Whether it’s 60-year-olds with actual memories of Taft High during the 1950’s or those who came afterward and relished the fact that the movie was written by and based on Taft students, area residents are already making plans to attend.

Grease Lightning Carnival at Taft

‘Carnival enthusiasts are invited to attend the first annual Norwood Park Grease Lighting Carnival,’ the announcement from the Norwood Park Chamber of Commerce began, ‘an event to celebrate 75 years of excellence at Taft High School on August 21th through August 24th, 2014. The four-day “Grease” themed rock-n-roll carnival will attract hundreds of alumni, students and friends, along with thousands of neighborhood residents to help celebrate the school’s 75th anniversary.’

Showing that this is truly an area-wide effort, the carnival is sponsored by the Norwood Park Chamber of Commerce. The Chicago Park District is donating the use of portions of Norwood Park, across the street from Taft, for four days. CPS and Taft are donating the school’s parking lots for paid parking, cost $10, and the lots will be run by volunteers from the school’s JROTC program.

With proceeds from the Grease Lightning Carnival going toward the restoration of Taft and Norwood Park, event organizers want to thank the generous sponsors who’ve made this 75th anniversary celebration a success before it even starts. They include the Taft High School Foundation, Union Pacific, Presence Resurrection Medical Center, Neighborhood Remodelers, Lisa Sanders from Dream Town Realty, Pat Riordan from Riordan Insurance, State Representative Michael McAuliffe, Norwood Crossing, Superdawg drive-in and P&K Research.

Carnival details

The carnival will take place Thursday-Sunday, August 21-24 at 5801 N. Natoma, literally. Attractions will be scattered along the street that separates Taft High School and Norwood Park, with the event spilling out over both. The carnival’s announcement and website make no mention of whether or not there is an admission price. Hopefully there isn’t. The neighboring Jefferson Park Fest held a week or two ago charged admission, and it seemed like the event suffered dearly for it.

The Taft-Norwood Grease Lightning Carnival will instead sell $25 all-day wristbands for the rides, with Mega-wristbands available covering all four days. Organizers will also charge $10 for parking directly across the street from the event. The beer garden, food booths, games and other promotions are also sure to bring in some much needed local funding. Also, if you like classic rock and classic cars, you won’t be disappointed. With the movie Grease being the carnival’s theme, it’s probably a good bet that both the songs and the cars from the famed film will be featured prominently.

The carnival’s days and hours are:

Thursday, Aug 21 – 5-10pm

Friday, Aug 22 – 5-11pm

Saturday, Aug 23 – 1-11pm

Sunday, Aug 24 – 1-7pm

For more information, visit



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