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updated: 9/16/2013 8:03 AM

Bartlett hosting World Peace Day celebration

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Bartlett will play host this month to one of the biggest celebrations of World Peace Day in the suburbs.

Families are invited to attend "Eat, Play, Love and Walk for Peace" from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 21, at the Bartlett Nature Center, 2054 W. Stearns Road.

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The event is hosted by Play for Peace, an international, nonprofit organization based in Chicago that teaches youth in communities in conflict to use cooperative play and team building to be compassionate and peaceful.

Play for Peace Board Member Lisa Gelsomino said this is the second year the organization has held a World Peace Day event in Bartlett. Last year, it was held at the Sunrise Lake Outdoor Education Center and about 100 people attended. The organization decided to move to a larger venue this year in anticipation of a bigger turnout.

"There seems to be a lot of interest in it," Gelsomino said.

The highlight of the event is a nature walk beginning at 12:01 p.m., shortly after a moment of silence as a way to recognize the United Nation's International Day of Peace. Registration for the walk is $25 for adults and $10 for kids. Children ages 3 and younger are free.

Registration includes a peace T-shirt, registration bags, a raffle ticket, free ethnic food from local businesses, crafts, face painting and Skype calls with Play for Peace kids around the world.

While walking the one- or three-mile trails, children will get help from a nature guide to find birds and other wildlife. They also will receive a medal from a member of the U.S. Coast Guard.

For attendees who choose not to participate in the walk, food, face painting, crafts and Skype sessions will be available for $1 each.

Representatives from the Bartlett Fire Department, the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, the DuPage Forest Family Expeditions and other organizations will be on hand to teach children about wildlife and safety.

Gelsomino said there likely will be a big World Peace Day march in Chicago, but the Bartlett event is geared more toward children.

"This is not really a protest; it's really a celebration of hoping for peace," she said. "We really want to spread this positive message in the community."

All proceeds from the event will go toward Play for Peace. The organization is hosting additional events in Guatemala, Morocco, Japan, China and India this month.

For information or to register for the Nature Walk, visit playforpeace.donorpages.com/WorldPeaceDay2013/.

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