The Special Events Cultural Amenities (SECA) commission hosted a workshop over the weekend to hear from grant applicants during public forum. Groups and organizations spoke to the commission on their plans for events or projects where SECA can help provide funds.
In 2021 the inaugural Naperville SoulFest, which was “a true celebration of African-American and Caribbean descending culture,” came to Naper Settlement in June. It was a one-day event. For 2022, organizers are hoping to turn it into a three-day, weekend event.
“Cost is going up. Public safety is going up, especially what we just witnessed last week in Houston so I never want to be in that type of situation and that’s why we want to split the days up,” said Michael Brown, organizer of Naperville Soulfest. “Not saying it’s going to be 50,000 people there, but [it’s] just on our minds.”
Also looking to extend the number of days for their event is Naperville Responds for Veterans. The organization hosted their inaugural Naperville Salute this past summer. Moving from two days, the plan is to extend it to a four-day festival while “still planning to have a small footprint and keep it a hometown event” with more family-fun activities, according to event co-chair, Michele Clemen.
Another inaugural event that took place was Naper Pride Fest in September. In 2022, they are going with a more country-themed event called Pride on the Prairie. “It’s a coming together of Naperville roots,” said Margie Wolf, executive director of Naper Pride. “All of you that have been here long enough may remember Joe Naper days, it’s more of a founder’s day kind of feel.”
KidsMatter is planning a new initiative – games around the world. In partnership with the Naperville Park District, the organization said they want to create an opportunity for people from different backgrounds to plan games “to create a greater sense of belonging in our community as well as to have an opportunity for families to gather together and to go to a really fun activity.” The games would take place during the park district’s Kite Fly Festival.
Some other groups seeking SECA funding this year are the Naperville Preservation Society, Naperville Heritage Society, Sister Cities, and Summer Place Theater. The SECA commission will hold a meeting on December 1 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. to review and discuss grant applications and reach a unified recommendation.
The Special Events Cultural Amenities (SECA) Commission assists, informs and advises the City Council on matters pertaining to the arts, culture, and special events in the city of Naperville. The commission provides recommendations to the City Council on the annual allocation of SECA funds, encourages arts, culture, and special events in the community.
NCTV17 is partially funded by a SECA grant.
Naperville News 17’s Aysha Ashley Househ reports.
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