Visitors can celebrate DuPage County's cultural heritage and natural history Saturday, May 26, during "Family Field Day at St. James Farm."
The celebration, which runs from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at St. James Farm Forest Preserve near Butterfield and Winfield roads in Warrenville, will feature a variety of events, including equestrian and canine demonstrations, antique tractor displays and children's activities. Admission is free, but a $5 per family fee applies for some activities.
In the Limerick and Sanka arenas, visitors can enjoy classical dressage, show-jumping, Western pleasure riding and other demonstrations by the Equestrian Fiesta Troupe, Midwest Renegades, Wayne DuPage Hunt Club, and St. James Farm and Wayne DuPage Hunt pony clubs. Friends for Therapeutic Equine Activities also will explain the benefits riding has for children with mobility impairments.
Volunteers from the forest preserve district's Kline Creek Farm will provide milking demonstrations at the 1920s dairy barn and tours are scheduled on the half-hour at the two stables on the St. James property.
In the indoor riding arena, visitors can view the McCormick Tractor Exhibit with antique and restored tractors from the International Harvester Corporation Collectors Club Chapter 2 of Northern Illinois. Navistar will showcase hybrid vehicles from its present-day fleet. A parade featuring many of the tractors and vehicles will run along the hay-wagon and shuttle routes at 2 p.m.
New this year, the Bensenville Police Department Arson Investigation K-9 Unit, the German Shepherd Search-and-Rescue Dog Association and the Windy City K-9 Disc Club will showcase agility and working breeds in the Hound Paddock.
The German Shorthaired Pointer Club of Illinois and Gary Current of Current Dog Training will demonstrate retrieving skills at a marsh near the pavilion, and the International Heritage Conservancy will have falconry demonstrations and natural-history lessons.
In the children's area, kids can join volunteers from the district's Mayslake Peabody Estate for watercoloring or visit with native reptiles from Willowbrook Wildlife Center. They can try archery and fishing with district staff as well.
The Northern Illinois Raptor Center will have live birds, and Red Oak Nature Center, the Wetland Initiative and others will lead wetland explorations and dip netting for aquatic invertebrates.
Foster 2 Home, Houndsong Rescue, 4 Paws 4 U 4 Ever and ADOPT Pet Shelter will showcase rescued dogs, and FORWARD, a DuPage health initiative, will lead fun fitness exercises.
Visitors can bring picnic fare or purchase food and spread a blanket on the lawn near the music stage to listen to bluegrass by Ashley Lewis.
St. James Farm was the private estate of philanthropist Brooks McCormick. The 607-acre forest preserve is owned and operated by the forest preserve district and is open daily, June through November, to hikers, anglers, bicyclists and horseback riders.
For details, call (630) 933-7248.