Dragon boat races, festival may be returning to St. Charles next summer

  • Dragon boat races may be making a comeback to St. Charles this summer as part of a new Heart of the Fox festival.

    Dragon boat races may be making a comeback to St. Charles this summer as part of a new Heart of the Fox festival. Daily Herald File Photo

Updated 12/6/2019 10:11 AM

When a community festival disappears -- either to take a short hiatus or simply because its time had come and gone because of finances, manpower or lack of community interest -- you tend to forget about it.

It hasn't been that long since the Pride of the Fox RiverFest in St. Charles called for a timeout. This summer event has undergone a few changes over the years, but it's been "gone" only one year.


At least part of it may be making a comeback as the St. Charles River Corridor Foundation and St. Charles Kiwanis continue planning for their family-oriented Heart of the Fox event that, in effect, took the calendar spot in early summer that Pride of the Fox RiverFest once held.

The dragon boat races stood out during Pride of the Fox RiverFest, creating a competitive and entertaining part of the festival right on the Fox River in the Pottawatomie Park area. Those races and all of the hooting and hollering that came with them appear ready for a comeback.

It's a little early to fully blow the bugles on this, but we can blow a small horn as contracts have to be worked out and signed off on. But Heart of the Fox planner John Rabchuk feels confident about how next summer's festival is falling into place.

"Contracts aren't signed yet, but they are in the works," Rabchuk said. "We will be contracting with the Pride of the Fox organization to run the dragon boat races as part of our overall Heart of the Fox event."

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Even with the addition of the dragon boat races, festival planners are juggling things to the point it takes on a rebranding of sorts for Heart of the Fox.

"We eliminated the tug-of-war because we just couldn't get enough teams to make it a contest," Rabchuk said.

With that event sidelined, festival planners are focusing on Heart of the Fox with an emphasis on "Family Fun Along the Fox." That aspect would remain under the Heart of the Fox umbrella, Rabchuk added.

How that will look with the umbrella completely opened remains to be seen, but we can tell from chatting with Rabchuk that plenty of family events will be highlighted and expanded.

In addition, the St. Charles Chamber of Commerce will operate its annual Health and Wellness Fair as part of the summer event.

Rabchuk hinted at some other "surprises" regarding both land and water events.


As much as anything, festival planners want Heart of the Fox to have a different look and feel than other summer festivals.

"We hope to keep building it up as a community family event without beer tents and funnel cakes," Rabchuk said.

Snopko socks effort:

Wyatt and Porter Snopko are back in the business of helping others, specifically those who can use new socks or underwear.

As we noted the past couple of years, the Snopko boys place collection bins at their school, this year Thompson Middle School, and in front of their St. Charles home to collect donations to give to Lazarus House and Hesed House homeless shelters.

After reaching new heights in the past year in donating more than 700 pairs of socks, the boys are hoping to break that record this year.

Join the academy:

Anyone who has ever been curious about the daily routines of our police officers can take a lot of the guesswork out of that equation.

Geneva residents are encouraged to sign up for the city's 2020 Citizen Police Academy, which will be from 6 to 9 p.m. Thursdays, Jan. 9 through March 26, at the Geneva Police Department. This program gives residents a close-up look at what takes place in police operations.

Those 21 and older who live in Geneva or operate a business in the city can apply for the free academy. Applications are available on the city website at geneva.il.us or at the Geneva Police Department. Application deadline at the police department or through the mail is Friday, Dec. 13.

Those who participate can expect to learn about the police hiring process, use of force, crime scene investigations, technology crime, traffic enforcement, crime prevention, drug education and active shooters.

More information is available from police Sgt. Brad Jerdee at (630) 232-4736 or bjerdee@geneva.il.us.

Missing the Inn:

In being in the Campton Hills-Wasco area recently, I was tempted to stop in at the Dairy Queen along Route 64.

More importantly than actually wanting Dairy Queen on a cold night, it reminded me one of my favorite lunch spots used to sit at that location.

It was called Wasco Inn, and I can't begin to estimate how many times I met with other newspaper colleagues in that place in the late 1970s through much of the 1980s.

It was the perfect spot for those of us who worked in St. Charles to meet with those who were in news "outposts" in Elburn or Sycamore.

That, and the hamburgers and french fries were quite good.

Visit at his 'house':

Santa Claus sure gets around at this time of year, and kids have plenty of chances to catch a glimpse of him or even sit on his lap and make a pitch for what they'd like to see Christmas morning.

But as far as traditions go, I remember visiting with the jolly old elf in his "house." It added to the aura and mystery in that you and your parents were getting close to a private session with Santa.

So, in that spirit, I remind everyone that Santa is indeed greeting kids at his "house" at the corner of James and Third streets in Geneva, just as he has done for the past several decades.

He'll be there from 6 to 8 p.m. Fridays and noon to 4 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays, along with an extra time slot from 6 to 8 p.m. Monday, Dec. 23. That would be his last chance to chat with local kids, as he'll be quite busy the next day.

• dheun@sbcglobal.net

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