Imagine back 100 years ago to Aug. 8, 1914, when what is now known as the village of Villa Park was merely a vast landscape of farmland with very little, if any, residential settlement or business industry within its vicinity. A field of dreams, some folks might say.
Fast forward to Aug. 8, 2014, in the village of Villa Park, a well-settled community of nearly 22,000 residents. A community nestled among Sears Catalog homes, brick bungalows and the former Ovaltine factory, with thriving school districts and generations steeped in family traditions and memories, now coming together to commemorate a huge milestone for Villa Park – our 100th birthday.
It all started when the village of Ardmore was legally organized and incorporated with a residential population of 300 people, a small but mighty group comprised of families chasing the American dream. Sheer determination later led to officially changing the name to the village of Villa Park, this after gathering petition signatures and taking it to a vote.
Local real estate developers also took notice of the flurry of activity occurring in the area. They provided transportation from Chicago to Villa Park on the train and offered potential residents various “incentives” such as 200 baby chicks or 20 apple trees to those who were willing to relocate to a growing community with great potential.
Now, as our big birthday bash fast approaches, we are preparing for what promises to be a weekend chock-full of fun and celebration for the entire family. You only turn 100 once in your life, so why not party like it’s 1999 … or in our case, like it’s 2014!
Between Friday, Aug. 8, and Sunday, Aug. 10, there will be more than enough activities to keep Villa Park residents, friends and guests occupied.
The weekend festivities will include a Healthy Villa Park initiative with a blood drive and other health-related checkups, a centennial dinner dance and a villagewide barbecue with all the fixins’ accompanied by live music performed by various bands.
Other attractions will feature interactive games for the kids, a shop local business expo, a spectacular fireworks display, a Centennial Grand Prix bicycle race and a vintage motorcycle show.
Come one, come all to the village of Villa Park to help us not only celebrate such a proud time in our town’s history but also embrace new beginnings.
Here’s to the next 100 years, Villa Park!
Deborah Bullwinkel is the Villa Park village president.
To learn more about the Villa Park Centennial Celebration, visit www.villapark100.com.