Crystal Lake cancels 2020 Lakeside Festival

Dole Mansion still needs to raise $500,000 to maintain the building, pay the mortgage

Crystal Lake’s 2020 Lakeside Festival, which initially was postponed because of the COVID-19 pandemic, now has been canceled, the Lakeside Legacy Foundation announced Friday.

The Lakeside Festival, which has been happening annually for more than 40 years and typically is held over the Fourth of July weekend, is the Dole Mansion’s largest fundraiser. All financial support for the Dole comes from fundraising efforts and donations from individual community members and businesses.

The Dole Mansion now needs to raise more than $500,000 to maintain the historic building and pay the mortgage while retaining a “skeleton staff,” according to a news release.

As of Friday, the mansion has raised $154,000.

If the money isn’t raised, the Lakeside Festival traditions – as well as community art shows for local schools, live music concerts and culinary kitchen gatherings – will cease to exist, which may lead to “the end of the Dole” itself, according to the release.

“We are obviously very disappointed to announce that we are canceling the 2020 Lakeside Festival,” Lakeside Fest co-chairman Ron Russell said in a statement. “As much as we were looking forward to this fun family event, we must remain vigilant and focused on the safety and well-being of our community and take measures to reduce the spread of this pandemic. I look forward to 2021, when we can come together as a community to celebrate the Fourth of July at the Lakeside

The Dole is thinking of ways to conduct appropriately socially distanced fundraisers that follow state public health guidelines.

“If we are able to produce these fundraisers, we assure you we will follow the guidelines to keep our community safe, bring awareness to our needs, and to show the community the bigger plan of what we have to offer McHenry County for years to come,” according to the statement.

“We were on an upward trajectory plan for sustainability as ‘A New Day at The Dole,’ but COVID-19 derailed that, and we once again need the support of our community,” said Nancy Merkling and Janet Kay, co-executive directors of the Dole.

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