The close of Labor Day weekend each year signals the start of many good things in this area: pumpkin and apple picking, cooler weather (hopefully) and Sunday football. However, Labor Day’s exit also means that we must say goodbye to summer festival season.
Summer festival season around these parts is a fleeting one—just six weeks long—but what it lacks in duration, it more than makes up for in bombast, high-end musical entertainment, great food and family-friendly fun. More importantly, local summer festivals, such as Sugar Grove Corn Boil, Elburn Days, Kaneville Fest and Maple Park Fun Fest, provide the perfect opportunity for members of the community to join together on a selected weekend and celebrate the things that make their respective town so wonderful and unique. Whether it’s a celebration of corn, truck pulls and mud volleyball, horse-drawn carriage rides, or softball and town-wide get-togethers, village spirit can be seen and heard practically everywhere from late Julyto early September.
And while these festivals are all very different in structure and presentation, they all represent the same idea: this village is a better place because of its residents.
That message was in full effect this summer when 48-year Sugar Grove resident Helen Jorgensen was named Citizen of the Year thanks to her countless (and we mean countless) contributions to the Sugar Grove community. Jorgensen has done it all: founded a hand-typed publication, served as a volunteer firefighter, drove a school bus, carried mail, etc. When the Corn Boil reconvenes every July, it’s to celebrate the caring contributions of citizens like Jorgensen, and we all can learn a little something about community involvement and pride from her.
Last but not least, these festivals can also help us put aside, for a short time, the small stuff that weighs down our daily lives, and instead serve as a reminder to all of us that life is only as good as the relationships we keep with our neighbors, friends and loved ones. Whether you’re devouring delicious corn with your family, touring through a maze of Elburn Days games with your children, enjoying Kaneville’s fireworks show with your neighbors or partaking in Monday morning breakfast with good friends at the outfield hayracks in Maple Park, you’d be hard pressed to find time better spent.
Here’s to what was a tremendous 2012 summer festival season. Next year’s season certainly has its work cut out for itself.