Sunday was French Connection Day at Wheaton's Cantigny Park -- a day inspired by the military experiences of the park's founder, Col. Robert R. McCormick.
McCormick named his Wheaton farm "Cantigny" after the small town in France that he and his fellow soldiers helped liberate during World War I. Sunday's event acknowledged that history with a French-style outdoor market, French food and games, even a photo op next to the Eiffel Tower (well, a 23-foot model of the tower, anyway).
Hundreds roamed the Cantigny grounds Sunday morning. Gina Bodell, of Lisle, was among them, buying freshly made crepes after taking her daughter to a storytime session featuring the popular children's book character Madeline.
"My daughter loved it, which is no surprise. We've read those books together a million times," Bodell said. "And because it's such a beautiful morning, now I think we'll stick around for awhile."
The vendors at the outdoor market offered a variety of goods, from fresh produce and gourmet coffee to handmade kitchen and bath items.
Darrell Nolan, co-owner of The Wayward Book, an online store for used and rare books, offered a selection of his titles at the market, including histories, illustrated children's books and a valuable set of J.R.R. Tolkien's "The Lord of the Rings" trilogy.
"I try to go to the French markets here and in Geneva," said Nolan, a Naperville resident. "I see some regular customers at these events."
When done browsing the booths at the market, some visitors chose to sit and listen to live music from the duo Traveler's Dream. Others played a round of Pétanque, a French yard game played with metal balls. Still others headed to the face-painting area with their children.
"I'm not sure what we'll do next," Bodell said. "All I'm thinking about now is eating a crepe."