After a two-year hiatus, Fall Festival at Danada is back

Join a celebration of the horse and the fall season at the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County's Fall Festival at Danada on Oct. 8-9.

It will be 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday at the Danada Equestrian Center at 3S507 Naperville Road in Wheaton.

Over the course of the two-day event, the main outdoor arena will feature trick riding, vaulting, carriage driving, a drill team, and equine therapy demonstrations by various performers, including the Midwest Renegades, Chicago Vaulting, and Stateline Hotshots Rodeo Drill Team. Breaks in the equestrian program will feature live music by local bluegrass recording artist Ashley Lewis (Saturday) and dulcimer player Sherri Farley (Sunday). A full entertainment schedule will be available at closer to the event.

Visitors can meet Danada's own Nick the Painting Horse and buy his artwork in the gift shop; tour the barn that once housed Kentucky Derby winner Lucky Debonair; and learn about horse care, grooming, and tack. They can also take horse-drawn wagon rides through the autumn woods; watch artistic pumpkin-carving demonstrations; and visit with representatives from DuPage Animal Services, which will be on hand with adoptable animals and the organization's mobile veterinary clinic.

Children can take pony rides, decorate their own paper hobby horses, explore a hands-on nature exhibit, and participate in activities provided by DuPage Children's Museum and Wheaton Park District's Sensory Garden Playground. And on Saturday from noon to 5 p.m., kids can meet and have their pictures taken with PBS Kids' "Nature Cat."

  Isabella Dalskov of Glen Ellyn rides her horse "Rainbow" during the hobbyhorse romp interlude between demonstrations at the 2018 Danada Fall Fest in Wheaton. Rick West/, 2018

"We're eager to welcome back thousands of visitors to our annual celebration of the horse," said Wayne Zaininger, the center's manager. "We're excited to offer two full days of equestrian performances and fall activities for the first time. Fall Festival at Danada is one of the only free equestrian shows of its kind in DuPage County."

Visitors are also invited to stop by the Danada House, former home to Dan and Ada Rice, for the Friends of Danada's "Nature Art and Photo Show," a juried competition featuring local artists.

"The Fall Festival at Danada is a one-a-kind equestrian festival that's fun for all ages," said Forest Preserve District Commissioner Jeff Gahris, District 4.

Forest Preserve District President Dan Hebreard echoed his sentiments. "The Fall Festival at Danada offers families a unique opportunity to celebrate horses and welcome fall in beautiful natural surroundings," he said.

Food and beverages at the event will be available for purchase by local food truck vendors, including MotoChef (Lord of the FryZ), BoJo's Concessions and Catering, and Windy City Ice Cream.

Fall Festival at Danada takes place rain or shine. Admission and parking are free, but there are fees for some activities (cash and check only).

The Forest Preserve District of DuPage County has been connecting people to nature for more than 100 years.

More than 6.2 million people visit its 60-plus forest preserves, 166 miles of trails, six education centers and scores of programs each year.

For information, call (630) 933-7200 or visit, where you can also link to the district's e-newsletter, blog, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Tik Tok pages.

Article Comments
Guidelines: Keep it civil and on topic; no profanity, vulgarity, slurs or personal attacks. People who harass others or joke about tragedies will be blocked. If a comment violates these standards or our terms of service, click the "flag" link in the lower-right corner of the comment box. To find our more, read our FAQ.