Forest Park campers set up their tents in baseball diamond No. 3 at the Forest Park campout.File 2011

The Park District of Forest Park will host its Family Garage Sale and Flea Market, Sept. 14 during the morning. Then later that night, the park district will open up the ball fields for a campout sleepover complete with a chuck wagon, providing hot dogs and beans, and a campfire for roasting marshmallows and making s’mores.

The rummage sale begins at 9 a.m. with the park district providing tables on a first-come, first-served basis. Here’s your chance to unload baby clothes, toys, games, collectibles, or anything else you may have. The district is charging $25 per resident vendor, $35 for non-residents.

The 12th annual campout begins at 5 p.m. Forest Park families can pitch their tents on the softball fields and spend the night.

Amid the ambient hum of the Eisenhower Expressway, 20 to 30 families participate every year. Lawn chairs, tents, sleeping bags, air mattresses and blankets fill diamond number 3.

This year, a late-night movie will be shown plus a ghost-story session. The event is reportedly as much fun for the adults, who stay up around the campfire after the kids have gone to sleep.

For an urban touch, a police officer will be on hand overnight. Coffee and pastries, provided by Blue Max, await campers the next morning.

Park Director Larry Piekarz said the campout always reminds him of the early years in his marriage when family vacations were camp-aways.

Today, he said, some local children don’t have much experience with the whole sleeping outdoors thing.

“A lot of urban kids don’t get to camp out, Piekarz said. “They don’t know about pitching a tent and the campfire and s’mores.”

The cost is $30 per family, up to six members, and $7 per additional person. Children must be accompanied by adults.

Call the park district for more information: 708-366-7500.

Jean Lotus loves community journalism. She covers news, features, two school boards, village council, crime, park district and writes obits for Forest Park Review. She also covers the police beat for...

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