For the first time in years, Sue and I stayed up past midnight and celebrated the New Year at midnight. We went out for some Chicago pizza a little earlier in the evening and then headed into downtown Naperville which is about 5 miles from where we live.
At Naperville's Millennium Carillon they have 2 celebrations to ring in the New Year. The first one is at 6:00 p.m. with the bells tolling for parents and their little ones. The adult affair starts at 11:15 p.m. with a Carillon Concert followed by the Mayor counting down from 10 until the stroke of Midnight.
Here are a couple of pictures from the 2012 to 2013 event.
I'm posting this tip just to promote a website about Downtown Naperville. As I write this on New Years Eve 2012 my wife and I have just decided to see if we can actually stay up to midnight tonight listening to our downtown carillon ring in the New Year as she is off work tomorrow (Nurses get some holidays off) and we can both sleep in.
So if you get to this page and want to know what is happening in Naperville at any time of the year, you can click on this link and find out if any of the activities are of interest to you.
Shortly after we moved to town back in 1979, Naperville was already getting ready for their 150th birthday party in 1981. Joe Naper and his family had moved from Chicago and settled here in 1831 along with banks of the Du Page River. For the town's 100th birthday they converted an old stone quarry into a beach (another tip) and for the 150th birthday they created the Riverwalk. Now 30 years since the original opening the Riverwalk has continued to be expanded in phases and currently some much needed upgrading work is being done on some of the original section.
The website calls this the "Crown Jewel" of Naperville and indeed anyone who has ever spent time here in the Spring, Summer, Fall or Winter and walked along its 1.75 miles of brick paths will readily agree with that statement.
Along the path are several small parks, fountains, bridges over the river, sculptures, places to meet and just about anything you would want to do for a nice day outdoors. Families, teens, older adults all use the walk and enjoy its many amenities.
Over the past couple of years some archeology digs have been going on around Naperville to find out where Joe Naper and his family first set down roots in the town now bearing his name. This section of land at the corner of Jefferson and Mill St on a slight hill above the DuPage River was where they finally came up with some of the original foundations and other artifacts of the Naper Homestead.
The family came to this section of Illinois along the DuPage River from Ashtabula, Ohio back in 1831. They established a goods store and trading post along with their first homes.
The City of Naperville has recreated a little bit of the buildings foundations along with a number of signs which go through a little bit of the early history of Joe Naper's establishment of the city I call home.
Way back when in 1979 when Sue and I first moved to Naperville we were introduced to the Naperville Municipal Band by our new next door neighbor, Dick, who played clarinet in the band. Over the years we went to the band concerts occasionally on Thursday nights first just the 2 of us, and then the 3 of us, 4 of us and finally the 5 and 6 of us. It was a very nice evening out with the kids as they had a playground set near the back of the park and you could still listen to the band playing its 90 minute concerts.
The band is now in its 152nd year. The band offers 10 free concerts every Thursday night in the summer starting at 7:30 p.m. Concerts start the 2nd week in June and conclude the 2nd week in August. Throughout the rest of the year the band plays in several parades and usually has one or two winter concerts.
Our former neighbor, Dick, still plays in the band (we both still live in Naperville just in different homes) and this past Thursday Sue and I got down to a band concert for the first time in several years. An enjoyable FREE evening where you can spread out a blanket, eat food and enjoy a nice evening in the park.
I don't remember coming here when I was a kid, but my parents said they took my sister and I hear sometime in the early 1960's. Little did I realize then that I would be moving to this town in 1979 and making it my home.
Centennial Beach like the names says was actually created in 1931 on the 100th birthday of the founding of the City of Naperville in 1831. At that time 39 Naperville residents each put up $500 each to purchase the former stone quarry to build an in town beach. Naperville is approximately 32 miles from Lake Michigan and its beaches so this was envisioned as a perfect spot for those in the ever expanding Chicago suburbs to spend a day without having to travel all the way into Chicago. Today about 155,000 people use Centennial Beach every year between Memorial Day (end of May) and Labor Day. (beginning of September).
They do have resident season passes available, but you can also buy individual day tickets. $6 for Naperville residents and $10 for non-residents. $3 after 5:00 p.m. It is open most days for general swimming from 11:00 a.m. to dusk. The park has free parking, concessions and a bath house to change.
There is both a shallow end and a deep end including diving platform. And yes it does have a small beach also. Lifeguards are abundant.
A 4 Day Food and Entertainment Fest in Knoch Park features usually 15 to 20 different rib vendors from around the country vying for the best of the fest. This year's Ribfest 2011 takes place every day from Noon until 10:00 P.M. July 1st to July 4th.
Top 2011 entertainment are former local groups who made it big in the 70's and 80's, Styx and REO Speedwagon.
This community band was started in 1859, and has been delighting the Naperville community ever since. They offer free performances year round but their main season is during the summer. During the winter they take up residence at several different local theaters halls. The Naperville Municipal Band gives free concerts all summer long in Central Park at their permeate band shell. The schedule is set in advance and the concerts are generally on Thursday at 7:30. The show changes week to week and every year you are guaranteed to get the 1812 Overture complete with cannons at least once. The shows are always enjoyable and almost always free to the community.
There are a lot of wonderful pools in the Naperville area, but not all of them can boast being over 75 years old! Centennial Beach was opened in 1931 to celebrate Naperville's centennial year. The pool house has had some updates since the 1931s but it is a wonderful piece of architecture. The beach had been one of the three actual quarry’s in Naperville; and the stone quarried from it helped rebuild Chicago after the great fire. You might hear some people refer to this ever popular summer hot spot as one of the following, “the beach”, “the quarry”, or “Centennial Beach”. The water is chlorinated, and there is a really sand beach. The deepest part of the quarry is 15 feet, but has a very large shallow area which does get deeper. There are hourly safety checks where everyone is expected to leave the pool and clear off the lowest deck. There is also a variety of water fountains, a slide, and digging equipment in the sandy area for little kids to play in. You can pack your own cooler but no glass and no “adult beverages”. They do have life preservers for children if you want to borrow one. The pool is beach is big (it covers 6 acres) so if you have small kids make sure you are ready to stick to them like glue.
Oh and the admission rate is for the entire day and is higher for non-residents. But if you just need a few hours of evening cool off; admission is last I knew (2010 year rates) $3 for the rest of the evening.
The Century walk includes about 35 peices of Public Art; some of the art was created by local children, others by local and regional artists. All of it is different, nearly all of it reflects some aspect of Napervilles long and dynamic history- it was founded in 1831 (that is before Chicago). Though a little kid my have trouble walking to all the sites at one time, but if you plan ahead you can hit the most kid friendly pieces. The Cat and the Hat statue is always a favorite; as is the Dick Tracy statue. Check out the interactive map to get all the history and details on each piece of art using their website. Oh one of the best things about this, is that it is free!
Every May Naper Settlement hosts a two day Civil War Days! The grounds are transformed in to a living breathing Civil War encampment; complete with demonstrations on a variety of subjects, shopping, and real camping! To top of the museums great interactive programming with costumed museum guides, and historical buildings (most of which are historic not reproductions), there are bands playing, and everyday a “real” battle. The event is wonderful, and I have gone year after year for years.
The Settlement has even held Civil War themed Summer Camps during the summer months!
Since, I was putting in another nomination for sexy buildings or the like, I figured I'd stay close to home with my 2nd nomination. Doing a little research on line I was surprised that the Carillon has now been in Naperville for 10 years. It seems really like yesterday when they were constructing it and trying to raise enough money for its completion.
Over the years we've heard one or two of the concerts and periodically they will have special events at the foot of the Carillon (like hosting Gold Medal Olympic Champion and 2nd Place Dancing with the Stars hometown boy Evan Lysacek.
Last summer, I took off on a Friday to do a photo walkaround of Naperville and even took a personal tour of the Carillon. You can either walk up or ride. I decided on the walk.
Oh by the way. If anyone asks and likes to play trivia, ask them which is taller the Statue of Liberty or the Moser Tower in Naperville. Look at the website for a comparison.
Anyway, hopefully this will spark me to write more about my hometown and show off not only the Moser Tower, but also other great pictures from our community.
The Millennium Carillon was completed in time for the millennium, dedicated in June 2000. It is a grand carillon which spans 6 octaves, one of only a few of this size. There are summer concerts on Tuesday evenings and from May-November you can climb to the top of Moser Tower for a small fee on Saturday and Sunday plus Friday from Memorial Day to Labor Day.
The Naperville Riverwalk is located in downtown Naperville, it runs along the DuPage River from Jefferson Avenue to Hillside Road, the riverwalk has 4 miles of paths. Their website suggests the best place to start is at Main and Jackson, you can also park near Centennial Beach on Jackson Avenue. It was built by residents in 1981 to mark the city's 150th birthday.
Along the way you can rent paddleboats for 20 or 40 minute rides on the big quarry, west of Eagle Street between the DuPage River and Aurora Avenue. Weather permitting, it's open on all nonschool days from early spring (April or May) through September. You'll also come across fountains, covered bridges, a memorial to victims of the 9/11 attack and lots of people if you come on a nice day.
Bicycles, skateboards and roller blades are not allowed on the Riverwalk, these paths are for pedestrians only.
My husband has been pestering me to do a triathlon for years, so when I saw this triathlon advertised, I figured it was a way to finally get him to stop bugging me. It's called the Naperdink Triathlon because it's so dinky that anyone can do it. This year it was held on July, 25, 2009. The event benefits the Rotary Club of Naperville Sunrise.
The triathlon, which is traditionally swim, bike, run, was organized as bike, walk, bike, swim. The 1st leg is a 2 mile bike along the streets and DuPage River Trail, a 1/2 mile walk around Pioneer Park and then 2 mile bike ride back to Centennial Park where you get out your floatation device and float around the beautiful Centennial Beach pool before feasting on a pancake breakfast.
It was a non timed event, everyone got a finisher's ribbon and a groovy lime green tshirt and we all got out and enjoyed a nice morning with a little bit of exercise. Now that's my kind of triathlon!