DarienFest to include auction of Adirondack chairs for breast cancer research

Main stage entertainment

Friday, Sept. 5

6:15 to 8:15 p.m. -- DJ Noah Schaik

8:30 to close – Gina Glocksen Band

Saturday, Sept. 6

1 to 2:15 p.m. – The GMRC Band

3 to 4:30 p.m. – Back in the Daze

5:30 to 7:30 p.m. – The Amy Kelly Band

8:30 to close – Hi Infidelity

Sunday, Sept. 7

1 to 2 p.m. – Darien Idol

3 to 4:15 p.m. – Battle of the Bands

3 to 4:15 p.m. – Karate for Kids Demonstration

4:15 to 5:15 p.m. – Radio Disney

5:15 to 5:30 p.m. – Closing Ceremony, Chair Bid Winners Announced, 9/11 Remembrance

6 to 8 p.m. – R Gang

Proceeds from a silent auction of artist-enhanced Adirondack chairs during the upcoming DarienFest celebration will benefit local women undergoing treatment for breast cancer.

Nine of distinctive wooden chairs were purchased by merchants in the city’s Chestnut Court shopping center, 7511 Lemont Road, in partnership with the Darien Chamber of Commerce Women in Business. The chairs were decorated and painted by local artists, and have been on display all summer at various merchants in the shopping center. The designs vary from geometric and floral patterns to Disney characters, as well as a chair patterned after the HBO hit “Game of Thrones.”

“The chairs are stunning,” said Clare Bongiovanni, the chamber’s president and CEO who is also a breast cancer survivor. “Once we’ve auctioned them off, all of the proceeds will be used to send meals from our member restaurants to the households of women in Darien who are dealing with breast cancer.”

Bongiovanni said while she was unsure how much money can be raised through the auction, she is confident interest will run high once DarienFest gets underway on Friday, Sept. 5.

“The auction will interest people with connections to breast cancer, and people who love art,” she said. “I’m hoping a couple thousand dollars can be raised.”

Gail Sablick, who owns Wild Orchid Salon in Chestnut Court, said the chairs represent Darien’s first foray into the arena of public art patterned after Chicago’s highly successful Cows on Parade event in 1999.

“We didn’t know how it would go,” said Sablick, who worked closely with the chamber and other merchants to pull off the effort. “It was hard to find the artists at first, but once we got the word out several of them contacted us.”

The artists range in age from teens to the 80s, she said. Sablick also said anyone affected by breast cancer in the Darien area can contact her via email (gail@wildorchidsalon.com) to sign up as a potential benefit recipient.

Chair bids will be accepted at the festival grounds within Darien Community Park, at 71st Street and Clarendon Hills Road, until 4 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 7. The winners will be announced during the festival’s closing ceremony, set for 5:30 p.m. that same day. Bongiovanni said she hopes the winners will be on hand at the closing ceremony to bring their chairs home with them, but said they do not have to be present to win.

Other DarienFest highlights will include the third annual Darien Idol competition patterned after the “American Idol” television show. Ten contestants have qualified for the event in two categories, ages 12 to 15 and 16 to 19. The event begins on the main stage at 1 p.m. Sept. 7. It will be followed at 3 p.m. by the Battle of the Bands competition, which will find bands with three to eight members between the ages of 12 and 28 performing two songs each.

Also on Sept. 7, the Darien Pet Parade returns for its second year, with check-in taking place from 1 to 1:30 p.m. at the North Pavilion. The parade itself starts at 2 p.m. Some of the proceeds from the $10 per dog registration fee will benefit A Caring Place Humane Society. All participants must sign a waiver and release of liability form, which can be downloaded at www.darienchamber.com or picked up at Darien City Hall, 1702 Plainfield Road. Advance registration can be completed on the chamber website. Bongiovanni noted that while advance registration is preferred, parade participants can still sign up on the day of event.

This year’s DarienFest will mark its 27th year. The festival organizing committee relies on a solid relationship with the Darien Park District to stage the event at the city’s largest park. Sizable portions of Community Park are closed to the public for five days, including the three days of DarienFest and the preceding and following days for setup and cleanup, respectively.

“People can still come to the park and they can still use the playground” on those days, said Robert Strickler, superintendent of parks. The chamber compensates for the park district for use of the site, as well as for electricity and other amenities provided by the district, he said.

VIP parking (for a $5 donation) for festival attendees will be available at the Indian Prairie Public Library, 401 Plainfield Road, while general parking will be available at Hinsdale South High School, 7401 Clarendon Hills Road, just east of Community Park. The library will be closed during DarienFest.

There will be an opening ceremony at 5:45 p.m. Friday, Sept. 5. with the Eisenhower Junior High School Marching Band performing. The festival will be open until 10:30 p.m. Sept. 5; from noon to 10:30 p.m. Sept. 6 ; and noon to 8 p.m. Sept. 7. Carnival wristbands, good for unlimited rides Friday evening and from noon to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, will be $25.

Food vendors include Chuck’s Southern Comfort Café, Ashley Foods, Blackhawk BBQ & Seafood, Zazzo’s Pizza, Tropical Sno, and Windsor Ice Cream Shoppe. Beer, pop, water, and other beverages will also be available, as will roasted sweet corn and other selections from a booth staffed by members of the Darien Lions Club.

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Main stage entertainment

Friday, Sept. 5

6:15 to 8:15 p.m. -- DJ Noah Schaik

8:30 to close – Gina Glocksen Band

Saturday, Sept. 6

1 to 2:15 p.m. – The GMRC Band

3 to 4:30 p.m. – Back in the Daze

5:30 to 7:30 p.m. – The Amy Kelly Band

8:30 to close – Hi Infidelity

Sunday, Sept. 7

1 to 2 p.m. – Darien Idol

3 to 4:15 p.m. – Battle of the Bands

3 to 4:15 p.m. – Karate for Kids Demonstration

4:15 to 5:15 p.m. – Radio Disney

5:15 to 5:30 p.m. – Closing Ceremony, Chair Bid Winners Announced, 9/11 Remembrance

6 to 8 p.m. – R Gang

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