If you had a good friend -- someone you've had great times with, made memories with -- who was leaving town until late next spring, you'd throw a goodbye party to send your pal off in style and let them know they'll be missed.
That's just how the Naperville Jaycees club feels about summer.
For months now, we've all had good times with summer at pools, barbecues, parades, baseball games and so much more. But now summer's packing its things and getting ready to leave us for a while. And the Jaycees and their volunteers are throwing that party -- the annual Labor Day weekend Last Fling festival.
The fest runs Friday through Monday, Aug. 31 to Sept. 3, in downtown Naperville and includes a carnival, a family fun land, special events, a milelong race and a Labor Day parade.
The main stage lineup features The Ides of March with Jim Peterik, country artists Craig Morgan and Chris Cagle, and rocker Pat Benatar with Neil Giraldo. Main stage entertainment takes place in the evenings on Rotary Hill, across from Naperville Central High School, 440 W. Aurora Ave.
On the hill
On Friday, gates open at 5 p.m. and at 6 p.m. The Hat Guys play, followed at 8 p.m. by The Ides of March with Jim Peterik -- known for their hit "Vehicle." Tickets are $10.
Carrying on the tradition of catching country music stars on the way up -- like past performers such as now-mega famous Jason Aldean, organizers have big hopes for this year's acts.
"We're hoping for that same kind of reaction for Chris Cagle and Craig Morgan," said Rosemarie Breske Garvey, Last Fling's co-executive director. "We're very lucky. We have a really great team who brings the best entertainment to the Fling."
On Saturday, gates open at 3 p.m. At 4 p.m. Jason and the Haymakers take the stage, followed at 6 p.m. by Chris Cagle, who sings the recent hit "Got My Country On" and older favorites, including "What a Beautiful Day," "What Kinda Gone," and "Chicks Dig It."
At 8 p.m. Craig Morgan plays. Morgan's known for recent hits "This Ole Boy," "Redneck Yacht Club," "Bonfire," "Little Bit of Life," and "That's What I Love About Sunday."
Tickets for Saturday night are $15.
At 8 p.m. Pat Benatar and Neil Giraldo play. Rocker Benatar is best known for her hits "Hit Me With Your Best Shot" and "Love is a Battlefield."
Tickets for Sunday's entertainment are $15.
"Admission is free on Rotary Hill Monday, and that's a great tribute to our armed services folks, and we're very thankful to their services to our country," Breske Garvey said.
There's a ride for every age at this year's Last Fling Carnival -- 22 rides that take over Jefferson Avenue between Main and Ewing streets.
The Mega Pass -- good for unlimited rides throughout the entire weekend -- is $60 at carnival ticket booths. On Saturday, a carnival deal offers unlimited rides from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. for $20.
Carnival hours are 5 to 11 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday.
Family Fun Land
There's fun for the whole family -- much of it free -- Saturday through Monday in the Family Fun Land.
Entertainment includes bounce houses, pony rides, an arts and crafts area, and family-focused business expo booths,
New this year are the Great American Duck Races -- a favorite from the DuPage County Fair -- that will do several shows throughout the weekend.
Family Fun Land hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday.
Numerous special events take place throughout the weekend, including a sand volleyball tournament, a Big Wheel race, senior bingo, horseshoe contest, doggy disc competition, bed races, water balloon dodge, skater's picnic, super soccer shootout, apple pie bake-off, diaper derby, slam dunk contest, spaghetti-eating contest, wine tasting, ice cream-eating contest, rib cook-off, and apple pie-eating contest.
Many special events require preregistration.
"We're not really doing anything vastly different, but we're improving and growing upon all the previous years," said Courtney Brown, the fest's public relations chairwoman.
"We're trying to continue the momentum of all the things that we've done in previous years."
The Fling Mile
Lace up the old running shoes for a quick jaunt down the parade route for the Fling Mile, which takes place right before the Labor Day parade.
Race day registration takes place from 8 to 9 a.m. at Naperville North, 899 N. Mill St., and is $20.
Labor Day Parade
The annual Labor Day Parade -- the largest in the state -- steps off at 10 a.m. beginning at Naperville North and heading south on Mill Street, east on Jefferson Avenue, south on Main Street and west onto Porter, ending at Naperville Central High School, 440 W. Aurora Ave.
The parade's theme honors the history of local TV station NCTV-17.
The parade will air on NCTV-17 at 7 and 11 p.m. Monday.
Free shuttle buses run from several free remote parking locations: the Burlington Santa Fe Naperville train station, North Central College, and All Saints Catholic Academy. Drop off and pickup is at the corner of Eagle Street and Aurora Avenue. Shuttle hours are 6 to 11 p.m. Friday, 4 to 11 p.m. Saturday, 4 to 11 p.m. Sunday and 1 to 6 p.m. Monday.
For information about Last Fling and the events taking place throughout the weekend, visit lastfling.org or call (630) 961-4143.