This Weekend Around Oak Park

August 3-5

Photo courtesy of @emaynard_photography

The buzz of the cicada, the gentle hum of the window air conditioner….Oak Park is ringing with the sounds of summer. I’ve been soaking in every sensory experience I can – trying to preserve all of these summer sensations for those looming chilly winter mornings. Evening walks around town have been so uplifting and inspiring these past few weeks.

Does anyone else walk past the beautiful Pleasant Home in Mills Park and get immediately injected into the novel, The Great Gatsby? I hold a firm belief that Gatsby himself is up there just pining for his Daisy (and also crossing his fingers his 1922 Rolls-Royce doesn’t get ticketed by the village parking patrol).

A walk through that park is always a walk back in time for me. My yoga pants and hoodie are suddenly a sequined mini dress, my baseball hat a feathered headband. Am I late to the gala? Bouncy piano music plays in the background…

I have the imagination of a true only-child.

As Midwesterners, we are good at fantasizing about warmer days, drier days, less humid days but these past weeks have been a glorious reality. The perfect backdrop for new experiences and explorations around town.

Fitgerald said it best, “And so with the sunshine and the great bursts of leaves growing on the trees, just as things grow in fast movies, I had that familiar conviction that life was beginning over again with the summer.”

Just like F. Scott’s imagery implies, this summer weather is inspiring me to learn new things, challenge myself and grow. Some ways to embrace this new beginning and life optimization that goes with this invigorating weather:

Oak Park Festival Theatre Performance of “The African Company Presents Richard II”

Pack up a picnic basket and your lawn chairs and settle in under the canopy of trees in Austin Gardens for opening night of “The African Company Presents Richard III”.

Synopsis from the Oak Park Festival Theater website:

“What you gonna do? Change the world with a play?” – The African Company Presents Richard III

Forty years before the Civil War, a little know war took place in Manhattan, NY. This war was battled not on a field, but on a stage by a group of Black actors performing the words of a dead White poet.

When the sun rises, these actors put on masks, playing the parts of maids and waiters that society has cast them in. But when the sun goes down, this groups of artists finds their voice – along with their feelings – as they discover themselves in Shakespeare’s poetry. And they are not alone. Their production of RICHARD III performs with such artistry and passion that it attracts white and black audiences alike, gains critical acclaim, and overflows the theatre with packed audiences six days a week. That is, until a prominent white company rents the theatre next door in order to open their own production of Richard III– and is determined to shut down the African company’s show at any cost. It is a behind the scenes story like no other – passionate, funny, uncompromising and uniquely American

Showtimes: Friday & Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 7 p.m.
Venue: Austin Gardens, 167 Forest Ave., Oak Park
Tickets: General admission $32 | Seniors $27 | Students $15 | Children under 12 & dogs free. Purchase tickets at


Wizard Rock the Vote: A Harry Potter Party for Teens and Adults
Harry Potter nerds unite! Just in time to honor Harry Potter’s birthday (7/31 for you Muggles), The Oak Park Public Library is joining forces with the Harry Potter Alliance and hosting a Harry Potter themed afternoon. Festivities include a Quidditch game in Schoville park (or Veterans Room if weather modifying charms don’t work), a civics engagement discussion with the opportunity to register to vote and a musical performance by Tonks and the Aurors. The Harry Potter Alliance is a group that uses parallels from Harry Potter to engage fans in real-world action. They have 225 chapters in 25 countries and have done groundbreaking work in equality, human rights and literacy.

From the OPPL website:

All ages events are a great way to kick death eater butt, engage with your community, and hear awesome music!
1-2 p.m.: Quidditch (Scoville Park, weather permitting, or Veterans Room)
2-3 p.m.: Civics engagement (Community Engagement Space)
3-4:30 p.m.: Musical performance by Tonks and the Aurors (Veterans Room)

1:00-4:30 p.m.
Main Library Second Floor – Veterans Room
All ages are welcome

Feel the Beet

Sugar Beet Food Co-Op is hosting an open house this Saturday, Aug. 4 from 1:00-2:00 p.m. Learn what a food co-operative means and explore the storefront this Sunday at the storefront located at 812 W. Madison St. There will also be an Owner 101 after the store tour with tips and tricks to make the most of your membership. The event is open to the public – RSVP in store or e-mail




Registration Opens for Fall Park District Programs

Grab a pumpkin spiced beverage and start thinking about your fall calendar! Browse through the Park District of Oak Park’s Fall Program Guide and start outlining your autumn adventures.

Registration for Fall programs begin Aug. 4 at 8:30 a.m., Aug. 11 for non-residents.

Whether it’s wheel throwing, terrarium construction, co-ed volleyball or a haunted tour of the village – the Park District has loads of offerings to suit any ghoul. Check out the Park District of Oak Park’s website for a digital version of the program guide.

If you have events planned that you would like to be included in articles like this, please email your event info to so we can get the word out!


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