How Naper Settlement plans to replace events leaving Naperville

Updated 7/27/2019 7:47 AM

While it might seem like the biggest and best-known events are leaving Naperville -- Christkindlmarket, Ribfest, Civil War Days -- at least one venue has a rebuttal with some new things planned.

Naper Settlement -- which lost Christkindlmarket after a three-year contract with host German American Events was not renewed, and which declared the end of its own Civil War Days after a 37-year run -- has two new events on its calendar this year and three new ideas for next, President and CEO Rena Tamayo-Calabrese said.


She's heard the refrain, "Why is everything leaving?" Tamayo-Calabrese said. But she says the cultural, festive, historical, celebratory and inclusive occasions her organization has planned offer one possible answer: It's not.

"While some things are leaving, I'm not sure I agree with all the statements out there," she said. "Perhaps the point is being missed that we have several other exciting arrays of community events that are planned."

This year's first new offering is Festa Italiana, scheduled for Aug. 2-4 at 523 S. Webster St.

"Come for the food, stay for the fun," the event's promotional flyers say, describing Festa as a "showcase of authentic Italian culture, music, artisans and much more." The event will include stages for Italian music and rock along with other dancers and performers and the Zoppé Family Circus.

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Next up is Yuletide Fest, which is set for Thursdays through Sundays in December, until Christmas. Top attractions include a holiday market, food trucks, ice sculptures and hot drinks inside a heated tent. The new event will coincide with the annual Naper Lights display by Naperville Sunrise Rotary.

When the Naperville City Council finalizes its special events calendar for 2020 in December, three new events at the Settlement could be included.

First up is Homefront 1940s Weekend, which is being planned for late May to take the place of Civil War Days. This event will take on a new topic each year, which the Settlement hopes will coincide with a traveling exhibit it will display, Tamayo-Calabrese said.

Pending city council approval of the event, that will be the case in 2020, when the Settlement will host an exhibit from the National World War II museum in New Orleans called "Manufacturing Victory: The Arsenal of Democracy."

The Settlement also plans to host a new gay pride event, Naperville Pride, on Aug. 20 and 21, 2020, and to replace this year's Naperville Wine Festival with Naperville Uncorked, another wine-focused event, scheduled for July 25.

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