6 tips for navigating Naperville's Last Fling
Traditions Naperville residents expect from the Last Fling Labor Day festival -- concerts, a carnival, silly contests and races, business booths and a large area for kids -- all will be back this year as the four-day event begins Friday.
Festival organizers with the Naperville Jaycees say visitors should come to explore, buy their concert tickets in advance, don't forget to buy beverage tickets, leave tarps behind and be prepared to walk or take a shuttle for parking to enjoy the event to the fullest.
1. Explore. The Last Fling festival grounds aren't in one specific park and aren't gated, so there is plenty of room for wandering or taking a stroll. Family Fun Land will occupy the Naper Settlement grounds at 523 S. Webster St.; concerts will take place at the base of Rotary Hill near the Millennium Carillon, 443 Aurora Ave.; and a carnival, business booths and the entertainment stage will line Jackson Avenue.
"There are all sorts of great vendors and their wares are always delicious," Last Fling Coordinator Chad Pedigo said about the spread along Jackson Avenue.
"A lot of interesting businesses come out with all sorts of things to offer. It's an opportunity to possibly receive free items from some of these folks."
2. Buy show tickets in advance. Headlining shows Saturday and Sunday featuring O.A.R. and Smash Mouth could sell out, organizers warn. So Pedigo suggests buying tickets online in advance at lastfling.org/concert.cfm.
Saturday's show, which ends with O.A.R. at 8 p.m. after Junkyard Groove at 4 p.m. and Josh Holmes and his band at 6 p.m., costs $20. Sunday's concert with Out For Hours at 4 p.m., Vertical Horizon at 6 p.m. and Smash Mouth at 8 p.m. is $15.
3. Come Friday or Monday on the cheap. Friday's show with cover bands Maggie Speaks and ARRA is a kickoff party for the entire Last Fling, Pedigo says, and it's only $10. An adult ticket also comes with a beverage ticket good for one drink.
"They're both fantastic cover bands that just come with a high-energy performance that really kicks things off," Pedigo said about Maggie speaks and ARRA, whose lead singer Ronnie Platt of Lombard recently was named the new lead singer of the band Kansas. "That just tells you the caliber of talent that they bring out. It's going to be a great time."
4. Leave tarps behind. Lawn chairs and blankets are allowed for people who want to relax on Rotary Hill for a show, but tarps don't make the cut. Plastic tarps can make the matted grass of the hill slippery, Pedigo said. Also, don't bring any glass containers, outside food or beverages, video recording equipment, weapons or pets.
5. Remember, tickets buy beer. For the second time, the Last Fling is requiring visitors to buy beverage tickets before exchanging them for beer. Beverage ticket booths are located near the entertainment stage on Jackson Avenue and on Rotary Hill.
6. Walk or shuttle for parking. Parking garages on Chicago or Van Buren avenues in downtown Naperville are good options for the Fling, as are other on-street spots throughout the downtown. But handicapped-accessible shuttles are available from three locations: the Naperville Metra station, 105 E. 4th Ave.; North Central College, near the Merner Field House, 450 S. Brainard St.; and All Saints Academy, 1155 Aurora Ave. Shuttles run 5 to 11 p.m. Friday, 4 to 11 p.m. Saturday and Sunday and 1 to 6 p.m. Monday.