As many of you may know, the Naper Days Festival has welcomed the summer festival season to Naperville for the past six years. Having only missed one year at Naper Days, I’ve always looked forward to the event not only for the Taste of Naperville and live music, but as a deliberate chance to spend some time on the grounds experiencing the Naper Settlement, our community’s historical crown jewel.
Despite the challenges of staging this large festival on Father’s Day Weekend, I always liked to stand back at Naper Days seeing it not only as a celebration of summer, but as a glimpse into the history, heart and soul of our community as we gathered together in a way that cannot be achieved via Ribfest or even Last Fling.
It is with these thoughts that I was very saddened to learn upon visiting the Naper Days site a few minutes ago to gather this year’s dates that the festival has been “retired” citing “declining revenues combined with the current economic environment“.
I realize this event was a means to financially benefit the Naper Settlement and the Naperville Heritage Society; however, it’s sad to see how quickly we give up at a time when our community needs more than ever to come together, to be together, to celebrate Naperville in a way that is lost in the mix of other local festivals.
I’ve always believed that money is a measure of survival, not of purpose. In my mind, the scope of this festival has a broader reach as there is no better platform offered throughout the year for the Naper Settlement to share its purpose with the community than Naper Days. In the process of fund raising, we must never overlook the significant importance of friend raising and bringing the community and families together. SM