An August fundraiser to help restore the old Joliet Correctional Center in Joliet, Illinois, will include a performance by a Blue Brothers tribute band, and organizers have invited one of the original Blues Brothers, Dan Aykroyd, to the event.
The Great Joliet Prison Break-In is slated for 5 p.m. Aug. 25 inside the historic, limestone-walled prison. According to organizers:
“The Great Prison Break-In” will be an evening of the best music, food and beverages our area has to offer, all in the prison yard of this historic site. The Blooze Brothers, M&R Rush and Petty Cash are ready to rock the joint, with proceeds from the event will benefit the Joliet Area Historical Museum’s continued work to stabilize the Prison in order to make it accessible for public tours and educational programs,” the marketing material reads.
Tickets can be bought online $40, and only 3,000 will be offered for sale. Tickets also are available for $35 at the Joliet Area Historical Museum and the Joliet Region of Commerce. Sorry, kids — the event is for patrons 21 years old and older.
All proceeds from the event will go toward restoring the long-closed prison.
Joliet Chamber president Mary Jaworski told the Joliet Patch:
“We are still working on bringing in some celebrities,” Jaworski told Joliet Patch this week. “We would love to get, of course, Dan Aykroyd. We’re still hoping to. We’re still working on that.”
Aykroyd and the late John Belushi were the key members of the Blues Brothers, which found fame during “Saturday Night Live” performances and later with “The Blues Brothers” movie, which featured the Joliet prison in a key early scene.
For now, event-goers won’t be able to tour the grounds because the city still is trying to secure long-abandoned buildings in the sprawling complex. However, Jaworski said limited tours might be available when the event rolls around in a few weeks.
If it is successful, Jaworski said the Great Joliet Prison Break-In might become an annual event.
Interest in rehabbing the 160-year-old prison jumped after the city in December took out a five-year lease from the state. The prison closed in 2002.
The city seeks to eventually organize bus tours inside the prison, along with opening a hotel, restaurants and gift shops in its grounds. The prison remains a popular photo op for Route 66 travelers.
The old Joliet Correctional Center shouldn’t be confused with Stateville Correctional Center, which sits in nearby Crest Hill, Illinois, along Illinois 53 (aka Route 66) and still is being used.
(Hat tip to Marla Bagdon; image of the Joliet Correctional Center in Joliet, Illinois, by JymPolranges via Flickr)