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updated: 7/1/2011 2:52 PM

Kline Creek offers historic holiday celebration

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  • An Uncle Sam impersonator on stilts chats with costumed interpreters during a past Fourth of July Celebration at Kline Creek Farm. The 1890s farm provides a living history lesson for all who visit its grounds.

      An Uncle Sam impersonator on stilts chats with costumed interpreters during a past Fourth of July Celebration at Kline Creek Farm. The 1890s farm provides a living history lesson for all who visit its grounds.
    Courtesy of the Forest Preserve District of DuPage

  • Visitors to Kline Creek Farm's Fourth of July Celebration will be able to tour the property's 1890s farmhouse, chicken coop and other historic facilities. Tours will begin each hour on the hour.

      Visitors to Kline Creek Farm's Fourth of July Celebration will be able to tour the property's 1890s farmhouse, chicken coop and other historic facilities. Tours will begin each hour on the hour.
    Courtesy of the Forest Preserve District of DuPage

 
By Megan Bannister
mbannister@dailyherald.com

Most Americans celebrate the Fourth of July with hot dogs and fireworks.

But the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County once again will offer residents a long-running historical alternative.

From 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, July 2 and 3, at the Kline Creek Farm, 1N600 County Farm Road in West Chicago, area families are invited to celebrate the Fourth of July the way Americans would have more than a century ago.

"The 1890s were a great time of national pride," Kline Creek Farm spokeswoman Sue Clark said. "And the glorious Fourth was the most celebrated public holiday."

In past years, the event has drawn an estimated 800 to 1,000 guests to the property, an attendance organizers would like to see repeated, Clark said.

Kline Creek Farm, an 1890s living-history farm owned and operated by the forest preserve district, allows visitors to experience daily life on a Victorian farm.

"We're here to put people back in that time frame, in that era," Clark said.

The farm will offer tours of its historic buildings, including a Victorian farmhouse, smokehouse and chicken coop, beginning each hour on the hour, as well as a live history lesson from costumed interpreters.

Each year the Kline Creek Farm Fourth of July Celebration offers myriad traditional community events as a unique alternative to modern patriotic festivities.

"The Fourth of July is this country's first national holiday and we take part in that from a historical perspective," Kline Creek Farm Educational Site Manager Keith McClow said.

Fourth of July activities like churning ice cream, made from chunks of ice cut out of the farm's lake during winter and stored for summer; the launching of a model tissue paper balloon; and crafts like paper fireworks are scheduled for both afternoons.

Each year, the Fourth of July ceremony, scheduled for 2:30 p.m. both days, steals the show with themed songs, recitations and a reading of the Declaration of Independence.

The focus of the ceremony is determined by the organization's annual subject of research, McClow said, though he remains tight-lipped about this year's theme.

"It's a secret," McClow said.

A secret DuPage residents might have to spend a day on the farm to figure out.

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