The second annual Naperville Salute is back this Fourth of July weekend at Rotary Hill. It’s a family-friendly event that began yesterday and it shows appreciation for veterans, active military, first responders, and their families.
“We have family fun and entertainment every day, but specifically Saturday and Sunday morning from 10:30 to 12:30. It’s free for everyone to come on the hill during that time. Reptile display, arts and crafts, and face painting. You name it, we’ll have it here. We’ll have some food available at the same time,” said Michele Clemen, chairwoman for Naperville Responds for Veterans.
Attendees will also be able to enjoy live music performances. The band Shining Star, who pays tribute to Earth, Wind, & Fire, kicked off Friday night. Other performers this weekend will be Eric Chesser, Red Pop Fury, The Wayouts, Jon Langston, and several others. Admission is $15 on Saturday and Sunday, but it will be free on the Fourth of July. Kids 11 and under have free entry every day, although, they must be accompanied by a paying adult for late afternoon admission.
There will also be a fireworks display on Sunday night beginning at 9:30 p.m.
A new event this year will be the 5K Ruck March taking place on the Fourth to honor veterans and military men and women.
“It is a march with a weighted backpack. So, we’re going to start at the Grand Pavilion, march along the Riverwalk and the Prairie Path all the way up to the Fawell Dam, turn around, come back, and everything ends up right here on Rotary Hill. So, you carry this weighted backpack to kind of simulate what it’s like for our military men and women as they’re marching through when they’re deployed,” said Clemen.
All of the proceeds of the event will go to assist local veterans in need through Naperville Responds for Veterans. Not only is Naperville Salute something every family can enjoy, but it also supports the people who fight for our freedoms.
“It’s tremendous. We got a ton of veterans out here. They’re here celebrating with us and a lot of people that celebrate veterans. So, we understand that they paid a price sometime back. Come out and enjoy it. We want to do a salute to you and that’s what we’re doing,” said Patrick Bowler, board member for Naperville Responds for Veterans.
The festival concludes on the Fourth of July on Monday.
For Naperville News 17, I’m Josiah Schueneman.
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