Synonomous with Father’s Day weekend is Naperville’s annual Naper Days Festival www.naperdays.org, which benefits the Naperville Heritage Society and Naper Settlement. I’ve yet to write about Naper Settlement www.napersettlement.org but plan to do so soon as the settlment is an experience not be missed by residents and visitors alike. Though the weather outside feels more like August and less like June for all the heat and humidity,
(A quick shot of the Mitchell Mansion at Naper Settlement with the Naper Days main stage in the background.)
my son and I headed out early this morning to beat the crowds and temperature at Naper Days. Naper Days is truly a family festival with a little something for everyone. There is a main stage full of music ranging from local amatuer to professional. This morning we enjoyed a little bit of the younger teenage local bands and I want to encourage all of them to keep living their passion. You all did great!
For the toddlers, there is an abundance of play areas full of moon jumps of all shapes, sizes and themes. The Carriage Club of Naperville www.carriageclubofnaperville.com featured a free slide obstacle course and moon jump which my son enjoyed thoroughly shortly after we arrived. The main toddler play area is fenced in and had everything from mini hand-controlled paddleboats to a long tunnel obstacle course to a dome full of balloons blowing all around. I want to thank the young staff who was managing the area as they were extremely conscientous of everyone waiting their turn and were genuinely friendly to the kids. I believe the area was sponsored by partysaver.com www.partysaver.com .
For the adults, there is no shortage of food and cold beer to sample. The centerpiece is the Taste of Naperville, which plays upon the theme of the larger Taste of Chicago. At each of the vendor booths, you could shell out a couple of bucks for taste samples ranging from skewered shrimp to mini filet sandwiches. Vendors at this years Naper Days include: Catch 35, Hugos Frog Bar, Riva, Sullivans, Braconis, City Club, Belgios Catering, Chef by Request, Angeli’s Catering, Famous Daves BBQ, India Harvest, Timpano, Cold Stone Creamery and Arbor Vitae Java and Juice.
I want to take a moment to deliver a special note about Arbor Vitae Java and Juice www.java-juice.com. As you may or may not know, Arbor Vitae was a cherished independent coffee and juice shop which until recently was located in downtown Naperville on Jackson Avenue next to Egg Harbor Cafe. They closed their downtown doors and have since moved out the NIU’s Naperville Campus on Diehl Road. Additionally, they sell their coffee at Casey’s Supermarket in Gartner Plaza South of downtown off of Washington Street. Like many, I was heartbroken to see Arbor Vitae leave downtown given the fact the place had independent character and spirit and the fact there are already three Starbucks outlets in downtown (including Barnes & Nobles). I have nothing against Starbucks and occaisionally drop by for an iced coffee; however, there is something wrong when downtown has three Starbucks forcing an independent coffee house out of business. I encourage everyone to show support to Arbor Vitae and check them out either at their Diehl Road location or pick up their coffee at Casey’s. Maybe one day they will reappear in downtown.
Also at Naper Days is a children’s craft and performance area sponsored by the DuPage Childrens Museuem www.dupagechildrensmuseum.org . I caught up with a couple of neighbors from our street participating in the Corn Bag Toss tournament. As of this writing, Todd and Ken had made it to the second round.
Aside from the many temporary attractions, your $5 admission also gives you access to the grounds and buildings of Naper Settlement which is worth the price of admisssion in itself. In addition to the outdoor buildings, if you’ve never been to the indoor museum in the lower level of the Pre-Emption house I strongly encourage you to do so as it features relics and art which tell the story of Naperville’s history.
Finally, it’s worth noting that Naper Day’s major sponsors are the Naperville Sun, the Carriage Club of Naperville, First National Bank of Naperville, Comcast and the City of Naperville which underwrites part of the festival with a grant from the Special Event and Cultural Amenities Fund. Beyond the major sponsors, there are also a myriad of business and indivdual sponsors which can be viewed at http://www.naperdays.org/index.php?id=653 . I encourage you to support all of those who support all that makes Naperville and it’s many festivals great.
As for the Naper Day’s Executive Committee and volunteers, the World of Naperville would like to extend a special thanks and acknowledgement:
Howie Crouse, Event Chair
Ray Kinney, Advisor
Alex Harris, Advisor
John Buckley, Naper Settlement / Sponsorship
Michelle Harrison, Naper Settlement
Lori Montgomery, Administration / Sponsorship
Kimberly Kaindl, Marketing/PR
Committee: Collin Pradel, Ann Marie Stuopys, Lynette Klingbell, Kevin Dolan, Ilyssa DeMare, Marie Reneman, Curt Vance
Jim Jacobson,, Beverages / Logistics
Committee: David Byrne, Greg Moran
Jim Healy, Insurance / Legal
Committee: Eric Wilen
Melissa Risden, Entertainment / External Events
Committee: Marie deGroh, Kevin Dolan, Kevin Gensler, Dave Kelsch, Roxanne Lang , Katie Risden
Jason Altenbern, Manpower
Mark Rice, Taste of Naperville
Committee: Jim Healy, Roy Schoeneck
Mary Ann Junkroski, Family and Children’s Activities
Committee: Peg Yonker, Gail Kobe, Jacque Clermont, David Kelly, Gene Drendel, Dawn Kelsch, Chris Cash, Jeff Penick, Joe Sweeny, Stephanie Penick, Judy Teichen
Naper Days Kids: David Healy, Eric Healy, Kally Harris, Emily Kinney, Sara Kinney, J.R. Kinney, Austin Kelsch, Jackson Kelsch, Jack Lang, James Lang, Brendan Montgomery, Alexa Montgomery, Sam Scott, Chloe Scott, Colin Pradel, Mitch Gauen, Ben Gauen, Jack Kennedy, Joe Kennedy, Nicholas Pradel, Zachary Pradel
If you happen to read this before the end of the weekend, Naper Days runs through tomorrow (June 17) at the Naper Settlement on Aurora Avenue in downtown Naperville. To learn more, visit www.naperdays.org .