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Five Favorite Events in 2015

As 2015 winds to a close, so, too, does the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County’s centennial celebration. And it was quite a party! Although you'll have to wait another century for some of the year’s special events to return, here are five annual favorites that you can look forward to in 2016.

Wonders of Winter
A picture-perfect snowfall the night before the Forest Preserve District’s 14th annual winter event brought more than 1,000 outdoor enthusiasts to Mayslake Forest Preserve to sample a smorgasbord of seasonal offerings, including, horse-drawn hayrides, ice fishing, snowshoeing and historic ice cutting demonstrations. Visitors enjoyed encounters with live birds of prey, a geocaching demonstration, nature crafts and games, and roasting marshmallows. Mark your calendar for the 2016 event on Feb. 6. 

Stephanie and owl WOW 405

Family Field Day
The Forest Preserve District kicked off summer with this annual event at St. James Farm Forest Preserve. The event normally features equestrian performances that represent this historic property’s heritage, but an outbreak of the equine flu prevented horses from attending this year. But that didn’t stop the fun for the 5,000 people who enjoyed watching canine performances, listening to live music, taking barn tours and wagon rides, and trying kids activities or a hand at archery and fishing. Naturalists, rangers and volunteers were also on hand to answer everyone’s forest preserve questions. Mark your calendar for the 2016 event on May 28. 

Wagon ride 405

Just for Kids Fishing Derby
One of the District’s longest-running special events, the Just for Kids Fishing Derby at Blackwell Forest Preserve has tested the luck and skill of anglers 15 and under for almost three decades. Young contestants competed for the largest bass, bluegill and miscellaneous fish caught in various age groups, and for many it marked their first time fishing or catching a fish. For the hundreds of young anglers who participate each year, the derby also offers a casting contest, fishing instruction and a live display of fish caught during the event. Mark your calendar for the 2016 event on June 12.

boy fishing 405 crop 

Country Fair
Each year thousands of DuPage County residents kick off Labor Day weekend at the Country Fair at Kline Creek Farm. This event celebrates DuPage County’s agricultural past with shows, games and blue-ribbon exhibits. The fair is normally set in the 1890s, but this year recreated a 1915 expo in honor of the Forest Preserve District’s centennial celebration. Exhibits featured 1915 inventions and technologies, such as the telephone, phonograph, generator, and electric light, and explored women’s suffrage in Illinois and the role it played in establishing the county’s first forest preserves. In usual fashion, the event also included award-winning animal exhibits, farm implements, an authentic flea circus and special guest performances by acrobatic jugglers The Amazing Budabi Brothers, Professor Marvel's Flea Circus and Dr. J. A. MacRae's Tent of Wonders. Mark your calendar for the 2016 event on Sept. 3. 

Country Fair race 405

Danada Fall Festival
The weather was perfect for the Forest Preserve District’s largest special event, the Danada Fall Festival at Danada Equestrian Center. This celebration of the horse offered continuous equestrian performances, hayrides, kids’ activities, educational displays and yummy food. The main-arena line up included a parade of breeds and performances by MidWest Renegades Equestrian Drill Team, the Northern Illinois Outlaws Cowboy Mounted Shooting, and Danada’s very own musical drill team, which unveiled its secret super-heroes theme at the event. Visitors also enjoyed stable tours, pony rides, a hobbyhorse craft, live music, pumpkin and face painting, horse-care demonstrations and a nature art and photo show. Mark your calendar for the 2016 event on Oct. 9.

Danada Fall Festival 405 crop 

2016 is shaping up to be another fun year in the forest preserves. We hope to see you!

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