Bastille Day

From 1 to 4 p.m. July 17, the French Heritage Museum is hosting its annual Bastille Day Festival to celebrate French National Day.

In honor of the region’s French roots, a day of celebration will be held at the historic Stone Barn, 165 N. Indiana Ave., Kankakee.

Come out to enjoy music, vendors, history and food. Stop by to experience French culture and learn about our community’s early French settlers. Admission is free.

Bastille Day, or French National Day, is celebrated annually on July 14. It marks the beginning of the French Revolution in 1789, after the storming of the Bastille in Paris.

Beginning in 1417, the Bastille was a prison used to lock up those who opposed the French king. When King Louis XVI learned the Bastille had been attacked, he asked, “Is it a revolt?” He was told “No Sire, it is a revolution.”

The Bastille Day Military Parade has been held continuously in Paris since 1880, the year Bastille Day became a national holiday. It is Europe’s oldest military parade.

Taste of our CommUNITY

From 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday, the Village of Hopkins Park will be hosting The Taste of Our CommUNITY at Martin Luther King Park, 13675 E. Central Ave., Pembroke Township.

The day includes food, crafts, face painting, an inflatable water slide, live gospel music, line dancing, DJ Rod Sessions, live music from N Deep The Band, various vendors and more.

The event is free and open to the public. No personal grilling will be allowed. For more information, call Cathy at 815-944-8625.

Crosstown Exotics Reptile Show

Crosstown Exotics will host a special reptile show at noon Friday at Edward Chipman Public Library, located at 126 N. Locust St., Momence. This is run as part of the library’s Summer Reading Program. Audiences will touch and interact with various reptiles, invertebrates and amphibians. The event is free and open to the public.

Crosstown Exotics is based in Mokena and is run by Colin Langenderfer and Mike Levins. Their exotic creatures have appeared in TV shows such as “Empire” and “The Exorcist,” commercials for Mike’s Hard Lemonade and Allstate and films including “Captive State” and “The Adventures of Kitty Zombie.”

Braidwood Summerfest

From July 15 to 18, Braidwood Lions Club will be hosting “The Roaring ‘20s” Summerfest the Braidwood Park District’s Old Smokey City Park, 245 W. First St. Braidwood. There will be rides, games, food, nightly entertainment, bingo and more.

There will be live music by DJ Roy Gregory’s Rock, DJ Big “D,” Silverstrings, DJ Jeff Saltzman, Wicked Vic and The Back Alley Boozeman Band.

Saturday includes a car show from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on the east side of the skate park. All makes, models and years are welcome to participate. There will be a $15 registration fee.

Registration will take place from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. the day of the event. All participants must be parked by 11 a.m. to be judged. Free goodie bags will be given to the first 50 registrants. Trophies will be awarded at 2 p.m. to the top 15 participants.

A pie-eating contest, magic show, balloon twisting and arm painting will also be taking place on Saturday. From 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, there will be a flea market and arts and crafts show at the south end of the city park.

The annual Hometown Proud Parade will start at 1 p.m. Sunday on Braidwood’s Main Street. Line up will begin at 12:30 p.m. on Mitchell Street next to Casey’s.

The parade will begin at Main and Mitchell streets, travel down Main Street to Walker Street, turn south on Walker Street and end on Walker Street behind the Reed Custer Intermediate School.

At 9:30 p.m. Sunday, there will be a fireworks display to close out the event.

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Blessings in a Backpack Car Show

There will be a car show to benefit Blessings in a Backpack River Valley Communities from 1 to 4 p.m. at Central Christian Church in Bourbonnais, 310 Main St. NW, Bourbonnais.

Registration is $10 and the event will include awards, a 50/50 drawing, concessions and entertainment.

Former Citizen Spotlight Rhonda Currie of Illinois Coalition of Community Services said that one of her first projects was Blessings in a Backpack, which she worked on with the Rev. Robert Bushey of Central Christian Church. They connected with a group of people to examine insecurity issues with Kankakee School District and other school districts in the county and then provided nourishment to school children. This is an outreach effort that still exists today.

“I do not take credit. I was just a person to help organize and bring things together,” Currie explained. “But to see it grow — I believe we started with 50 students we were serving and to see that grow to 200 or more students at more schools. That’s something that I’m really, really proud of.”

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