Jody Watley headlining second annual Naper Pride Fest

It'll be a jam-packed day of fun at the second annual Naper Pride Fest this weekend.

Grammy-winning singer Jody Watley and “America's Got Talent” competitor Brian Justin Crum headline the festival that will take place from noon to 10 p.m. Saturday at Naperville's Naper Settlement, located at 523 S. Webster St.

The festival ran for two days last year. However, Naper Pride Executive Director Margie Wolf says organizers settled on a one-day event this year for budgetary reasons.

But don't worry Naper Pride Fest fans. The third annual celebration next year will return to two days to support vendors coming to Naperville from as far away as Oklahoma.

“We've already got the framework together to return to two days next year,” Wolf said. “We've learned to be a little faster on our feet. That's why we're kind of planning two events at once right now.”

Visitors will notice several improvements from last year, including a six-seat golf cart that will help people move between different designated areas. Wolf said about 3,000 guests attended last year's Naper Pride Fest. Organizers hope to surpass that number on Saturday.

In addition to food and drink options on the festival grounds, several musical acts will perform on the main stage leading up to the performance by Watley, whose hits include “Looking for a New Love.”

Additional vendors will be on site this year, including the DuPage County Health Department's Care Van that will provide COVID-19 and Monkeypox vaccines. DuPage County Animal Control will have an adoption event, the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County will offer information about planting native plants, and DuPage County Senior Services also will attend.

There will be carnival games, a mermaid and an Under the Rainbow tent for young people to gather together.

“In order to be included, we ourselves have to be inclusive,” Wolf said. “Literally anybody is welcome to come to our event.”

General admission tickets are $10 or $15 for front-of-stage access. Seniors and veterans will be admitted for $5. Children 11 years old and younger will be admitted free.

“We want our Naperville neighbors to come out and enjoy this festival,” Wolf said. “It'd be sad if they missed a good time.”

  The second annual Naper Pride Fest will take place Saturday at Naper Settlement. Rick West/
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