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Local News

100 years: Let the 3-day centennial celebration begin

VILLA PARK – A hundred years’ worth of Villa Park memories were buried in two large time capsules during a ceremony Saturday at Village Hall.

Those memories, however, are sure to resurface this weekend when they breathe life into a huge birthday party.

A wide range of events are packed into the three-day Villa Park centennial celebration that starts today.

“There’s a lot of excitement in the air. There’s a lot on the schedule,” Villa Park Village President Deborah Bullwinkel said.

Today marks the actual 100-year anniversary of the village’s incorporation on Aug. 8, 1914. Several events are planned for today, but the heart of the celebration takes place Saturday during an all-day picnic, which starts at 8 a.m. and features fireworks at 9:30 p.m. Bands start playing at 12:45 p.m. and continue until 11 p.m.

Barbecue beef and pork will serve as the main course while Villa Park church groups offer up side dishes.

A meal ticket is $5 and a pint of beer is $4. Proceeds from the picnic and the 5k run/walk that starts at 8 a.m. Saturday go toward covering the cost of the celebration.

“The idea is to make it affordable for everybody,” Bullwinkel said.

State Sen. Tom Cullerton, D-Villa Park, and a representative from Judy Baar Topinka’s state comptroller’s office are expected to attend and read proclamations congratulating Villa Park on 100 years.

Rae Rupp Srch, chairwoman for the 100th Anniversary Committee, joked that she only has a few more sleepless nights as all of her planning culminates this weekend.

The former village president (1993 to 2005) said the celebration is shaping up exactly how she envisioned it.

“In some cases, beyond my expectations,” she said. “It is just so neat that people have so many great ideas and to have so many people working together.”

Message in 2 bottles

The two time capsules, about 15 inches in diameter and 3 1/2 feet tall, were filled with a wide variety of artifacts, representing all corners of the community.

A brick from the Ovaltine factory and a CD by Villa Park band Plain White T’s will be among the items discovered when the capsules are unearthed 25 years from now.

“I hope when they open up the capsules again, they’ll see that progress has been made from present day to 25 years later. … We sure are working hard on it now,” Bullwinkel said.

Many of the institutions in Villa Park – from government to the historical museum and from schools to clubs like Kiwanis and Lions – submitted documents. The fire department, for instance, offered up one of the trauma dolls it gives to children to comfort them during emergencies.

A 1973 penny was one of the final items to find a home in the capsules. Bullwinkel said a boy approached her at Saturday’s ceremony and said it would mean a lot to him to know he contributed.

“How do you say no to that,” Bullwinkel said.

Rupp Srch said the churches in Villa Park documented their histories, which will be archived in the capsules.

“I think it’s interesting that for the first time we’ll have a history of the many churches in Villa Park,” she said. “And I think that’s really important.”

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Centennial schedule

Healthy Villa Park: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., 220 S. Villa Ave. Medical professional will provide free health screenings.
Centennial Stamp Cancellation: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., 220 S. Villa Ave. Official commemorative stamps were created for Villa Park's centennial. Stamps can be purchased and canceled by a U.S. Postal Service representative with the cancel date Aug. 8, 2014.

5k Run/Walk: 8 a.m. Start/finish at Yale Avenue and Park Boulevard. Registration starts at 7 a.m. Cost is $20 online and $25 on race day. Free Tot Trot starts at 9:30 a.m. for kids 5 and under. Online registration at
Centennial picnic: 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. at Cortesi Park and Lions Park. Bands start at 12:45 p.m. and end at 11 p.m. Children’s activities provided. Meal tickets are $5 and beer is $4. A local business expo and health groups will also be available.
Blood drive: 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., 220 S. Villa Ave. Donate to LifeSource and get a T-shirt.
Fireworks: 9:30 p.m. in Lions Park. An all aerial fireworks program will be conducted at Lions Park. No seating will be available in the baseball area.

Grand Prix Bicycle Race: 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Starting line is at Park Boulevard and Yale Avenue; race runs clockwise on Park, Princeton Avenue, Washington Street and Harvard Avenue.
• Vintage & Antique Motorcycle Show: 9 a.m. at Motor Cycle Center, 433 E. St. Charles Road. Open to all motorcycles title 1989 and older. Cost is $10 per bike. Awards at 2 p.m.

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