As Naper Settlement begins winding down its summer season, it has the task of choosing an event that sums up this year's theme of "American spirit."
And to organizers, nothing seemed more American than an outdoor picnic under the summer sun.
Attendees are encouraged to bring their own lunch or purchase food on-site and can partake in a cupcake walk, balloon toss, watermelon-spitting contest, an apple pie contest and other games at the Naper Settlement's Hometown Picnic, which will run from noon to 4 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 11.
The Naperville Light Guard Band also is set to perform from 12:30 to 2:30 p.m. on the grounds. The band is a project of the Naperville Municipal Band, which dates back to 1859 when a group of 15 men got together and played for a Fourth of July Picnic in Burlington Park.
The Naperville Light Guard Band hopes to recreate that original band with uniforms and instruments from the late 1800s.
Admission is $12 for adults, $10 for seniors, $8 for children ages 4-12 and free for Naperville Heritage Society members, season pass holders and children 3 and younger.
"We've decided to plan the Hometown Picnic as kind of a last hurrah before going back to school," said Jenn Edginton, learning experiences coordinator at the settlement. "The theme of the summer was celebrating the American spirit, and the wrap up of that is this August Hometown Picnic."
Each summer month has played host to a theme within the larger American spirit celebrations. June's was "Building a Town," July's was "Work and Play," and August's theme is "Rolling on the River," and features the humor and books of Mark Twain, one of America's best-known authors.
Events include learning steamboat jargon, Twain and Tom Sawyer trivia, Bert the Barber demonstrations and picnics.
Edginton said the Hometown Picnic provides the community with traditional games that are challenging yet fun and that bring some back to older days.
"I think it's a way to come together as a community and celebrate a great summer and focus on the way fun used to be had," she said.
Edginton said Naper Settlement's mission is to preserve Naperville's history and teach it to others.
"The Naper Settlement is always trying to engage the public in new and different ways, as well as ways that reflect our past, present as well as our future," she said.