Bring the family out for Northbrook Days
Northbrook Days returns Aug. 3-7 to its newly established home at downtown Northbrook's West Metra Commuter Lot, 1401 Shermer Road.
The 98th festival will deliver more than a dozen carnival rides, a bags tournament, activities for children like face painting and balloon twisting, and for the proverbial children of all ages temporary tattoos.
Numerous bands include the return of the perpetually popular jam band Mr. Blotto, and a real coup for the fest, Lil' Ed and The Blues Imperials, Chicago blues royalty who are regulars at the legendary Kingston Mines club on the North Side.
What is basically a "taste of Northbrook" offers food from local restaurants, plus beer, wine and other beverages.
There are nightly raffle drawings, culminating in the grand prize raffle drawing on Aug. 7 for a chance at up to $10,000 cash.
Admission to the all-volunteer fest, the sole annual fundraiser for the nonprofit Northbrook Civic Foundation, is a deal in itself, if one chooses. The $10 ticket doubles as a coupon at sponsoring Waterway Carwash, a $12 value.
But Matt Settler's favorite moments at Northbrook Days (northbrookdays.com) aren't anything specific.
They are all of the above.
"Truthfully, it's going to sound weird, I just love seeing the big picture," said Settler, Northbrook Days co-chair along with Northbrook Civic Foundation President Ellen Westel.
"I love stepping back and looking out onto the whole layout and admiring what we've accomplished," said Settler, in his eighth year as co-chair.
"You get to see that kid eating ice cream and having fun with the family, or you've got friends meeting up again since last summer, or two moms with their kids in strollers talking about what's going on in their lives. The 35,000-foot view is what I like to call it," he said.
Another thing Settler really likes is that the Northbrook Civic Foundation puts the proceeds from the festival right back into the community.
The money goes toward grants for organizations that serve the village, such as the North Suburban YMCA, the Josselyn Center and the Northbrook Symphony, and also to need-based college scholarships for Northbrook high school students. Since 1950 the Civic Foundation has distributed more than $3.2 million.
Reduced to raffle sales only in 2020 by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Civic Foundation still raised $38,000.
In 2021, despite moving Northbrook Days to the Metra lot after decades at Village Green Park, the event again drew its normal five-day attendance of around 30,000 people. Settler said last year's festival raised about $100,000.
"Last year was great," he said.
He expects nothing less from this year's festival, which Settler said will offer more shaded seating areas and will bring in ticket kiosks for food and rides.
"We're really proud of what we've accomplished and where we've come," Settler said. "If you're looking to get out and see friends and have a good time with the family, this is the place to go."