Discover Tinley is a mixed bag where local Tinley Park denizens as well as curious out-of -towners come to get free stuff, find something their looking for (for example: remodelers), be pleasantly suprised by a new discovery, and kill time. What you find are usually over 100 booths, each with a different business or entity. You have your insurance companies, restaurants, and other businesses, but then you have things like the Will County Model Railroad Club and the Tinley Park Historic Society that are not looking to drum up more business.

This year’s Discover Tinley Expo was slated to have more for families and children. See flyer below.

Now that I’m a mom I was curious to see the new attractions geared towards families and children. The last time I went to Discover Tinley was back in April of 2017 as a vendor alongside my husband for our business, Geoffresh. Today at Discover Tinley we were the general public, and this was our experience.

Entrance at Discover Tinley 2019
Redevelopment of Tinley Park Display at Discovery Tinley 2019

The first thing we saw was a display of the renderings of the future of Downtown Tinley Park and a board that the village wanted people to write out and post what kind of business they would like to see come to the downtown area.

Tinley Park Community Development Board 2019 at Discover Tinley 2019
Tinley Park Historical Society Discover Tinley 2019

Next we visited the Tinley Park Historical Society. One of the people who works there recommended I join a Facebook group they started called, Tinley Park! You Know You Are From There When You Know Its History…Over 3,200 members strong!

Plinko Game at Tinley Park Library Booth at Discover Tinley 2019

Going with the family spirit, the Tinley Park Library’s booth featured a game called Plinko. Where the disc landed determined what you could win in the raffle.

Tinley Park Mom and Family at Discover Tinley 2019
A chef doing a cooking demo at Discover Tinley 2019.
Puppy at Discover Tinley 2019
A puppy available for adoption with Tinley Park P.A.W.S.
Code Ninjas at Discover Tinley 2019
This caught our attention, a new business coming to Orland Hills (neighboring Tinley Park) for teaching kids how to code in different computer languages called Code Ninjas.
Lou Malnati Pizza at Discover Tinley 2019
The concession stand area had nacho chips and pretezels, and booths had candy to give out, but Lou Malnati’s was a godsend for giving away something more substantial: pizza!
High Touch High Tech at Discover Tinley 2019
A lot was said about High Touch High Tech for their science demos, but it was pretty boring unfortunately.
Inflattable Slide at Discover Tinley 2019
White Water Canyon Mermaid Photo Op at Discover Tinley 2019
White Water Canyon’s mermaid photo op was genius.
Dart Board at Discover Tinley 2019
Will County Model Railroad Club at Discover Tinley 2019
At the very last row of the expo Will County Model Railroad Club. They come every year.


So was this year’s Discover Tinley Park Expo efforts to have a rich offering of attractions for families and children a success? In my opinion it was a work in progress.

The demos were very small scale. I think I passed most of them up because they were so shoestring I didn’t notice them. And while a local celebrity appearance from Svengoolie was a neat idea, he’s a bit more dark and adult for kids.

The event had pretty good attendance, but it lacks in color, verve, and spectacle. I think it’s time to revamp the expo, take the gray shale colored space and make it into a spring block party that leads up to the summer block parties on Oak Park Avenue. I don’t know it this is the best decision, but I know that part of what helps a community boost its spirit and culture is to take occassions like the expo and do more than the bare minimum with them. It’s frankly dull walking through the rows and rows of businesses and organizations, even they look like they’d rather be somewhere else. There are blips of things of interest like the mermaid photo op for my daughter or trying to win prizes, but there’s got to be a better way to inspire people to come out and spend time at the Tinley Park Convention Center. What’s another carrot that could be dangled besides free stuff?


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