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GroveFest canceled but plenty of summer events in the works

Summer is fast approaching and with it comes the return of some but not all of the annual events that Downers Grove residents enjoy each year.

The village’s summer celebration Rotary GroveFest has been canceled.

“This year, we have met as a committee a number of times but will not be holding our Rotary GroveFest this year and we are very sad we won’t be,” said Keith Hoffman, one of the event organizers. “We have looked at the health landscape and not sure people are ready to attend. We know that people are itching to get out and enjoy life again, but at this point in time, we don’t know how people will react.”

Rotary GroveFest is the group’s biggest annual fundraiser. Organizers said they are taking a closer look at another option for August, September or October, Hoffman said.

The Downers Grove Downtown Management Corp. has canceled the Sumer Nights Classic Car Show for 2021. The show typically takes place in downtown Downers Grove on Friday nights.

“Under the current mitigations the car shows are on hold,” said Erin Venezia, executive director for Downers Grove Downtown Management Corporation. “We will continue to monitor the situation.”

But it won’t be a boring summer by any means. The Downers Grove Park District is gearing up to host a number of events in accordance with state health guidelines.

The summer concert series is set to make a comeback beginning May 25 and continuing through Aug. 17.

“We’ll be doing them every Tuesday night at 7 p.m. at Fishel Park,” said Dawn Hartman, the park district’s director of marketing and community engagement.

Masks and social distancing will be required. Registration also will be required of those attending park district events.

“They’ll reserve a week before each concert date,” Hartman said. “We will be capping our capacity. It’ll be a smaller scale this year, but we’re still excited to offer it.”

The park district plans to livestream the concert series.

In addition to live music, residents will have the opportunity to watch movies on the big screen thanks to the park district, which is offering drive-in movies at the Downers Grove Golf Club, 2420 Haddow Ave.

“Ghostbusters” will be shown in June and “The Dark Knight” will be screened in July. Movies begin at 9 p.m. The cost is $25 for residents and $35 for non-residents.

Hartman said the drive-in movies have been a very popular park district offering.

“I think people miss the drive-in movies,” she said. “It’s been a huge hit during difficult times with COVID. People can still socially distance and enjoy the movies in their car.”

Other park district events include the Aug. 7 fishing derby and the Aug. 28 BBQ Bolt 5K Run.

The fishing derby will be at Barth Pond, 55th Street and Fairview Avenue. The BBQ Bolt 5K Run will begin at 8 a.m. at McCollum Park, 6801 Main St. Registration opens May 1. For information, visit

The Downers Grove Park District will recognize its 75th anniversary this summer.

“From June 2021 to June 2022, we’ll be celebrating with a bunch of different activities and events,” Hartman said.

The celebration will consist of, among other things, two Party in the Park events, a special Downers Grove Museum exhibit opening and reception, and a 3-versus-3 basketball tournament.

The park district doesn’t plan to host the annual Harvest Fest this summer.

“We did retire that event and we did plan to start offering some new events, but we put those new ideas on hold until next year,” Hartman said. “We were already in a transition. For the most part, what we’ve done in the past we’re bringing back.”

Butterfield Aquatic Center, 21W730 Butterfield Road, will be open this summer and is providing Downers Grove residents access at a discounted rate.

Hartman said the park district’s other pool partners have postponed their discounts for residents in 2021 due to capacity requirements for COVID-19.

The Indian Boundary YMCA of Metro Chicago announced that it is hosting the downtown market every Saturday, beginning May 8 through Oct. 16. The market will be from 7 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. near the Downers Grove train station, 5001 Main St., in the south parking lot adjacent to Burlington Avenue.


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