Why it won't be free to enter Naperville's Last Fling
Getting into anything other than the carnival at the Last Fling festival this Labor Day weekend in Naperville will come with a cost.
But admission to all of the event's main stage shows will be included in the $10 daily price or a $30 four-day pass for Aug. 30 to Sept. 2.
"I truly feel like it is a much better deal," said Karen Coleman, co-chairwoman of public relations. "The four-day weekend pass for $30 is less expensive than what we've charged most nights for just the main stage acts."
In addition to the carnival, the festival used to offer free admission to a kids area at the Naper Settlement, a smaller stage on Jackson Avenue, a business expo and lines of food and drink vendors. Organizers with the Naperville Jaycees this year worked with the Chicago-based event planning company Star Events on a fencing plan to begin charging admission for everything but the carnival.
It's a change the Jaycees have discussed for about the past dozen years and will implement for the festival's 54th annual run, with gates at the Naper Settlement and on Jackson Avenue at Main and Eagle streets, Coleman said.
"Rather than just having a greeting area and accepting donations, we will have a bag search area as well as a gate, which will keep our patrons safer," she said.
Fencing in the Jackson Avenue setup with food and drink vendors will allow guests to walk around with alcohol, instead of staying in one limited area, Coleman said.
Jaycees expect the move won't be popular with everyone, although they said tickets started selling immediately at 10 a.m. Tuesday at lastfling.org.
"We know that ticketing the entire event, save for the carnival, will be a turnoff for some people. If someone just wants to walk in and grab a hot dog or something, they can't do it anymore," Coleman said. "But the people who are coming intending to go to the festival are really going to get the most opportunity for the money because the $10 allows you to go anywhere in the fest for that day."
The Last Fling this year includes a new art expo and concerts on the main stage beginning at noon on Aug. 30, Aug. 31 and Sept. 1.
Headliners include '90s acts Better Than Ezra, Vertical Horizon and Big Head Todd & The Monsters. Local opening groups include 7th Heaven, 97Nine, The Right Now, Take the Reins, 16 Candles, The Ron Burgundy's and Tres Moustache.