Something to Look Forward To
By Village Manager Phil Kiraly
Today, together with the Glencoe Park District, the Village regretfully announced that Glencoe’s revered 4th of July events, as well as other special Glencoe community events, will not take place as usual this summer due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As we grapple with an already lengthy list of necessary cancellations and changes in our community and region this summer, we will especially feel the loss of this year’s 4th of July festivities, as well as our Memorial Day remembrance ceremony, Movies on the Green, Meet the Machines and Glencoe’s annual Downtown Sidewalk Sale. We are working to reschedule our Art Festival from late July to mid-October, but only doing that if we can do so safely.
Let me start by emphasizing just how complicated, difficult and upsetting it is for the Village to make decisions like these. Every unit of government, as well as organizations in every industry, have had to make similar difficult choices that not only impact our plans surrounding the things we love to do but also the lives and livelihoods of many people.
As our Village Board considered this change (along with Park District Board of Commissioners), our Board and staff discussed at-length how to safely undertake these community events. Unfortunately, there is no effective way to do that right now, and without the reassurance that all event participants, staff and volunteers would be completely safe, we could not move forward. Believe me when I say that after the amazing year of celebrations we enjoyed as a community in 2019 marking the Village’s Sesquicentennial, this year’s reality is even more disappointing.
Our community has been hunkered down under the Governor’s Stay at Home Order since March 20, with quite some time to go before we start to work toward returning to normal (read the Governor’s recently announced Restore Illinois plan here). I think we are all hoping for something to look forward to, like a vacation, attending a sporting event or even just an opportunity to sit down with friends and enjoy a nice meal together. Of course, we’re all hoping schools, businesses, restaurants and theaters can reopen again soon.
Despite the lengthy list of the things we can’t plan to do this summer, there are still many things we can look ahead to in our community. Here are a few suggestions:
- The return of summer sun and (mostly) warm weather, bringing us outside to enjoy our beautiful yards, Glencoe’s parks and area forest preserves
- A virtual Memorial Day celebration on Monday, May 25 being developed in partnership with our amazing Glencoe Historical Society
- Virtual and no-contact celebrations of 4th of July (we are working with our friends at the Park District on some really good ideas)
- A new and improved Tudor Court that will someday soon host patrons coming to Writers Theatre and will provide a new set of places to gather together once it’s safe to do so
- Eating great food from our favorite restaurants and enjoying a new purchase from our amazing small businesses and Glencoe establishments (when we can) to help support them and our vibrant business community
- Participate in virtual programs at the Chicago Botanic Garden, Glencoe Library, and Glencoe Park District. I especially like the new sidewalk scavenger hunt developed by the Park District and Friends of the Green Bay Trail’s new
- Finding new ways to celebrate birthdays, anniversaries, graduations and retirements so that we can remember that even in the most difficult of times, we need to find the joy that these events bring. (I celebrated a milestone birthday this week – yard signage and drive-bys by friends and family really made it special!)
- Continuing to connect with our friends, family and fellow community members through conversations over a fence, over Zoom or while six feet apart on the Green Bay Trail
Maybe these won’t bring the same fun experiences we’re used to during a typical summer here in Glencoe, but fun is what we make it, and our community is incredibly good at resilience and adaptability. I have no doubt we will find ways to continue to come together as a community. (If you have suggestions that the Village can help facilitate, please let us know by sending us an e-mail.)
These next months won’t be easy, and we’ve all got responsibilities to keep in mind (like keeping social distancing in mind, wearing masks in public and staying home as much as we can) as we work to keep COVID-19 at bay. Just remember that we are #GlencoeStrong, and we will get through this stronger if we get through it together. Let’s look forward to that.
P.S.: Happy Mother’s Day to every mom and mother figure out there! Especially in these times, we need to thank those moms for all they do every day.