A Sunday stroll through the booths at Scoville Park during the 37th annual Day in Our Village this weekend will be a visit to the civic, cultural and volunteer organizations dear to the hearts of Oak Parkers – all in one place.
More than 150 diverse social services, religious, educational and business groups and organizations will pitch camp for an early-summer afternoon – accompanied by the sweet sounds of local musicians and the savory smells of local restaurant offerings.
Local entrepreneurs will join volunteers from the citizensf advisory commissions, the health department, churches and temples and Oak Parkfs First Responders from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. this Sunday, June 6.
Special features will include history games, a gardening booth with a plant-your-own-vegetable or flower activity, aikido demonstrations, color activities for children as well as face-painting and balloons. Oak Parkfs police and fire departments will display new vehicle technology.
Over 37 years, the festival has evolved from a village-wide open house to a one-stop shopping event at the park, says Community Relations Director Cedric Melton.
“Many people donft know that in 1997 the event was canceled for a lack of volunteers,” he says. “It made a resurgence in f98 because a lot of kids who attended in the f70s were now adults. They had been kids whose parents had brought them to the events. They remembered how much they learned and how much they enjoyed the festival.” An all-volunteer Day in Our Village Committee formed and did the work to bring the event back with a vengeance.
“We are always touting the inclusive philosophy that we have in Oak Park, and Day in Our Village gives residents and prospective residents a chance to attend to see the unique special services and organizations we have,” says Melton. This year, Melton had to do a bit of rearranging around the restoration work at the World War I.
“We moved people around,” he says.
Among the food vendors serving snacks, beer and meals on the library patio will be the Perfect Dinner, Mancinifs, Madly Popf, Avenue Ale House, Robinsonfs Ribs, Erikfs Deli, Dominos Pizza and the Optimists Club, with their world-famous roasted corn.
Meanwhile, across town at Rehm Park, the Park District of Oak Park will present a carnival from noon to 5 p.m. Expect free rides on the villagefs antique kiddie-train cars and a discounted pool admission ($3).
The thrilling Euro-Bungee (giant trampoline with bungee cords) returns for a second year. “I had a blast on it. I was doing a bunch of back flips on it,” says Shari Wenzel, special events and arts supervisor for the Park District – who gets to try out all of the activities herself first.
Also included will be two giant inflatable jumpy tents. Quarter carnival games will dot the park, and free tennis lessons will be offered from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Dominofs Pizza and Madly Popfn will also sell food at the Rehm location, says Wenzel.
“For the park district, Day in Our Village is the start of the summer. Itfs really when we start going full force. I always think of it as the beginning of a rollercoaster ride. Most of our summer camps start the next day,” she says.
Oak Park Townshipfs mini buses will shuttle patrons between the two parks from 11:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.