Northbrook Park District Restrictions Force Emergency Move of 2019 Northbrook Days Festival to Northbrook Court
NORTHBROOK – July 27, 2019 – Because the Northbrook Park District on Friday declared significant portions of Village Green Park off-limits due to soil conditions, the Northbrook Civic Foundation and its Northbrook Days Festival Committee are implementing an emergency backup plan to move the 95th annual festival to the Northbrook Court shopping center.
The festival will be held, as scheduled, beginning Wednesday, July 31, and running through Sunday, August 4, in the west side parking lot outside the recently-closed Macy’s.
The Northbrook Days Committee strongly disagrees with the park district’s assessment of conditions at Village Green Park. The festival has been held in the park for nearly a century in various conditions. The park district and Civic Foundation have long partnered on any needed restorations after the festival.
“Despite this disappointing decision by the park district and the turmoil it has caused for this Northbrook tradition, our dedicated volunteers are determined to make the 2019 festival a success,” said Matt Settler, president of the Northbrook Civic Foundation and co-chair of the Northbrook Days Festival Committee. “We are grateful to Northbrook Court and the staff at the village of Northbrook, including the police, fire, public works, and planning and development departments, for leaping into action Friday. The show must go on!”
The entire Northbrook Days Festival Committee asks that the community support the festival in this one-time move. Besides the fun and community spirit the fest creates, proceeds fund college scholarships for local students and grants for organizations that serve our community.
The festival schedule remains unchanged and can be found at www.northbrookdays.com.
On Friday morning, park district employees began roping- and fencing-off significant areas of the Village Green Park, areas critical for the festival to remain viable. The number of carnival rides that would be eliminated without these areas would be too much for the carnival company, which would eliminate the entire carnival portion of the festival. Other spaces, including those for many food vendors and the Grand Prize Raffle tent, would also be eliminated.
The park district informed the Civic Foundation on Friday that the earliest the areas in question would be re-assessed would be Monday morning. The previous date given by the park district for final approval on park conditions was Friday, July 26. Given this uncertainty, the all-volunteer festival committee reluctantly made the decision late Friday evening to move the festival. Festival setup begins Saturday morning. Waiting to hear a decision from the park district on Monday would not leave enough time to successfully implement the emergency plan, given the significant logistics involved in moving the festival. Volunteers are working through the weekend to prepare and begin setting up the festival at Northbrook Court.
“At a time when being on your cell phone increasingly counts as being social, Northbrook Days brings thousands of people together face-to-face. It is our largest community gathering of the year, dating back to 1925. It’s part of what makes this village special,” said Sandie Huberty, co-chair of the Northbrook Days Festival. “Our parks serve a purpose beyond grass and trees. They are places for our community to come together, to forge and renew bonds. The value of events at Village Green Park to bring residents together can’t be understated.”
The Northbrook Civic Foundation’s commitment to the Village Green Park is evident through the entry fountain and playground equipment, both funded with money raised at the festival. Over the last 60 years, the Northbrook Civic Foundation has donated more than $400,000 to Northbrook Park District improvement projects and millions in scholarships and grants in our community.