Robbins, IL -- It was that time of year, again. The aroma of ribs and other smoked meats, along with thick smoke permeated the air from massive grills. Children of all ages running around. Said children screaming in delight from riding carnival rides. Blues performers crooning. Rappers, well, rapping. And one little girl who belted out Lorde's emo-pop smash hit "Royals" with vocals that would rival the New Zealand singer-songwriter.
It was time for the 16th Annual Robbins, Illinois Back-to-School Festival. The three-day festival, which was held at 13800 South Trumbull Avenue, kicked-off Friday, August 29th and wound down with a parade and Gospel music festival on Sunday, August 31. Families came from far and wide to celebrate with food, fun and plenty of entertainment.
Nice and naughty
The event offered carnival rides, raffles and it wouldn't have been complete without free backpacks chock full of plenty of school supplies for children elementary to high school grades. The fest, which was sponsored by Manny's Blue Room and The Village of Robbins, Illinois, featured performances by the living legend Mr. Lee & Company, along with Denise LaSalle. By sundown on Saturday, the blues performances were primarily for the grown folks. Mr. Lee’s performance included his signature outrageous lyrics which leave nothing to the imagination, as well as his standard showcase of physical agility.
Remembering Michael Jackson
Commemorating Michael Jackson's birthday last week, attendees were wowed by a performance from world renowned Michael Jackson tribute artist, the Chicago-based Rico. Channeling the Gloved One himself, Rico nailed the legendary Moonwalk, whipped long, loose locks of hair and pulling off his shirt, a la MJ. The performance was indeed mesmerizing, as Rico's performance served as a reminder of what an imaginative and gifted performer MJ was. It was also a fitting tribute to un-matched talent that seems to manifest every few generations.
Special honors were given to Fannie Brown, the sister of the Godfather of Soul, James Brown. Fannie informed the crowd of a pending bombshell that James Brown was possibly murdered and that further details are forthcoming. Another special honor -- in lieu of Indiana's week-long celebration of Michael Jackson's life -- was given to a music industry living legend who originally discovered The Jackson 5, Steel-Town Records producer Gordon Keith. Keith still resides in the Jackson's hometown.
And now, a word from the sponsors
The Robbins festival sponsors and promoters ranged from luxury perfumer and national philanthropist Marilyn Jones -- also a sponsor of the 41st Annual Daytime Emmy Awards -- to event promoter Valencia Dantzler, a.k.a. Mother Diva. Dantzler is also a professed Ambassador of House Music who coordinates and promotes the Jackson family's annual visit to Indiana.