Next year will mark the 100th anniversary of the founding of Forest Park, and the Centennial Committee hopes to pull off the party of the century.
The ad hoc committee formed last May, and has since been coordinating activities related to the village’s centennial. The committee has 12 members and has enlisted the help of several Forest Park residents and businesses. Among the planned activities is a three day festival during Labor Day weekend and a centennial parade. The committee also hopes to provide nationally recognized entertainment for the event.
“The celebration will be relatively large-scale,” committee member Sally Cody said. “There are many different facets to the event, and there’s a lot we want to do.”
The village council has been working with the committee to help fine tune their plans for next year’s celebration, Village Administrator Mike Sturino said.
“There’s a general oversight by the council, but we try not to micromanage,” Sturino said. “We want to help them get their mission accomplished.”
According to Sturino, there is a small line item in village budget to get the committee started on their project. However, the committee has been brainstorming ways to offset the expense of the celebration.
For example, the committee plans to hold a competition for residents to create a signature cocktail with a catchy name for Forest Park. The winning drink will then be sold at a progressive dinner later that year. And in conjunction with the elephant statues at Woodlawn Cemetery, which commemorate the circus train wreck that occurred in 1922, the committee will be selling elephant gummy bears provided by the Ferrara Pan Candy Company.
“Elephants have long-term memories,” Cody said. “So the committee thought: history and memory. Hey, that works.”
Committee member Bud Boy, who referred to himself as “the elephant guy,” has solicited individuals and businesses to purchase concrete elephant sculptures similar to the pig sculptures found in Oak Park. The cost of an elephant is $200, and proceeds will go toward the event.
As the event will be celebrating 100 years of Forest Park history, the committee will also have a time capsule, as well as a centennial scavenger hunt “where old meets new,” Cody said.
Centennial meetings are open to the public. The committee has held six meetings since its formation in May. According to Cody, more than 50 residents have expressed an interest in the event by attending meetings, participating in fund-raising efforts, and providing feedback on event planning.
“We’re open to any suggestions,” Boy said. “After all, it’s their party.”