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Beckley: Summer special events create a sense of place and community pride

Published: Thursday, June 12, 2014 10:54 a.m. CST
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Brandi Beckley is the external affairs manager at the Downers Grove Park District.

Besides being fun, festivals and events offer a wealth of economic and social benefits to communities; they bring communities together and instill a sense of community pride.

Experts agree that hometown pride is a critical factor in the development and improvement of any community. Residents with community pride are more likely to speak positively about their town to others and to volunteer with organizations and activities that support the common good. Festivals and events also create bonds among public and private organizations, government and neighborhood groups, as well as connections among elected officials, staff, volunteers and interested residents.

Many of us remember growing up in our hometowns and attending the festivals, parades, farmer’s markets and heritage-related events. Those special times created a “sense of place” for our hometowns and built an emotional attachment to that place.

As a Park District, we strive to create community pride, build a sense of place, and inspire memorable experiences.

This summer, we hope you will come out and enjoy some of Downers Grove’s community events, including free entertainment at the Summer Concert Series on Tuesday evenings in Fishel Park, from May 27 through Aug. 26.

We’re not even done yet. Three free Movies in the Park will be shown on a giant inflatable screen on Thursdays, July 24 ("Beethoven," dogs welcome!), Aug. 21 ("Monsters University") and Sept. 18 ("Casablanca") in Fishel Park, beginning at dusk.

The Summer Nights Classic Car Shows take place each Friday evening in Downtown Downers Grove, May 16 through Aug. 29.

Enjoy the community’s largest festival, the Rotary Grovefest, the weekend of June 19-22, along with the 37th Annual DG 5 Miler Race on June 22.

Gather your friends and family along Main Street for the July 4th Parade, patriotic speech at Fishel Park and later a fireworks display on 75th Street.

It doesn’t stop there. Grab your fishing poles and wet a line in Barth Pond at the Annual Fishing Derby on Saturday, Aug. 2.

Even though the kids are back in school, September is prime event weather in Chicagoland. Visit the Annual Flea Market in Hummer Park on Sept. 6, and the Fine Arts Festival Downtown Sept. 6-7.

These events are just to name a few! With all of these wonderful opportunities to socialize with your neighbors and visitors from our surrounding communities, it’s bound to be a great summer here in Downers Grove. No doubt our town is a great place to live, work, play and visit this summer.

For more information about Downers Grove special events, visit dgparks.org, downers.us and downtowndg.org.

Brandi Beckley is the external affairs manager at the Downers Grove Park District.

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