Once again I find myself amazed that another summer is coming to a close. The best solace I find each year is the Naperville Jaycee’s Last Fling festival which is currently underway during its usual Labor Day Weekend run. It’s always amazing to see how different the Riverwalk and downtown looks when Last Fling is in full motion.
First of all, if you are reading this posting and there is still time to get downtown to experience Last Fling, stop reading immediately and go take advantage of this year’s end-of-summer celebration. The weather is an absolute blessing and the options are plentiful regardless of whether you enjoy entertainment, food, rides, entertainment or entertainment.
My family and I just arrived back home from our first day at Last Fling. My sister-in-law is in town from New York City and she had such a good time that she purchased a souvenir Last Fling shirt which she is presently wearing as she sits in the other room winding down with the boys.
I always take in at least one concert and my dream Last Fling band, Cheap Trick, is playing tomorrow night on Rotary Hill. My very first 45 rpm record was Cheap Trick’s “Dream Police” which I wore out on my record player as a kid. While downtown today I was able to secure tickets not only for the grown ups, but thanks to the nice volunteer at the volunteer booth, I also grabbed a couple of limited quantity free tickets for the pint-size members of our party.
It is no coincidence that our visit to Last Fling today began around lunchtime. We found a table over in the beer tent and set out to hunt down the perfect festival food fare. In typical fashion, our selections were the double corn dogs, Italian sausage, ribbon potato chips and fresh squeezed lemonade. Even though I’m not a big drinker, I’ll have to admit I had a rare draft beer that totally hit the spot under today’s hot sun.
The kids could hardly eat due to their unbridled excitement about the midway rides. However, they did manage to find a momentary distraction as the buffetesque Mr. Myer’s band played latitude-changing music. My youngest participated in the limbo portion of the set as Mr Myer’s band played the overly familiar theme song to one of my son’s favorite cartoons, Dragontales.
Once we were disgustingly full from the indulgent midway fare, we were off to the rides. Along the way, we stopped at a couple of games to try our luck. I’m pleased to report my three-year old with a little minor help from his dad won the big prize at the water gun balloon busing game.
Quickly, my six year-old’s luck ran out which resulted in the voluntary parting of the four dollars he brought with him from his piggy bank. Thus, we purchased some ride tickets and headed to the midway. Though it was a bit hot with the sun sizzling overhead, I would never complain about the clear and rain-free weather which has blessed this farewell weekend to summer. Race cars, jet skis, frog hops, slides and dragon rollercoasters left plastered smiles of delight on my sons’ faces. It certainly had me recollecting my own childhood and the magic of those familiar carnival rides.
My sister-in-law and I dared each other to ride the big spinning twin pod attraction, but we arrived at the ride site to discover a line that was a bit too long. Eventually the boys ran out of ride tickets and plowed through two additional large lemonades and we all decided to call it a day. We headed back to the car with the knowledge that we would be returning tomorrow for the big Cheap Trick concert.
All I can say is we have already forgotten about the sun-soaked sweat and are already talking about these newest long-lasting memories of sharing these fleeting days of childhood with the boys. My personal thanks to the Naperville Jaycees for all the work they do and the experiences and memories they are responsible for creating. Every single volunteer is part of what makes the world of Naperville so wonderful for us all.