A community will come together for five days of food and drink, rides, music, raffles and arcade games at the 99th Northbrook Days Festival.
It’s held Wednesday through Sunday, Aug. 2-6, in the West Metra commuter parking lot of the Northbrook train station, 1401 Shermer Road.
“It’s a lot of families coming out and seeing their friends,” said Matt Settler, in his 10th year as festival chair, joined by co-chair Ellen Westel.
“With kids today, they’re off to camp or baseball or gymnastics or whatever their kids are doing. This is a place where kids and families can come and see friends they haven’t seen during the summer … it’s a central location.”
It is the third straight year Northbrook Days will take place at the Metra lot. In 2019, the Northbrook Park District ruled out the traditional venue at Village Green. Scrambling, fest organizers and village staff, police and fire personnel moved the event to a parking lot at Northbrook Court.
In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic limited the festival to raffle sales. Still, it raised $38,000 toward the event’s primary purpose — providing scholarships to graduating high school seniors from Northbrook and grants to community organizations.
The ability to deliver all aspects of Northbrook Days — food, rides, games, and entertainment — to one area makes the Metra lot attractive to organizers.
“We would rather be raising money than having to figure out multiple locations,” said Settler, who noted in a good year the event draws about 30,000 people over the five days.
The festival is the sole fundraiser for the Northbrook Civic Foundation, which organizes the event.
“So many people know about Northbrook Days, but they forget that without the civic foundation there would be no Northbrook Days,” Settler said.
A nonprofit volunteer group initially established in 1907 as the Shermerville Improvement Club, since 1950, the foundation has raised more than $3 million, which it has used to fund scholarships to college-bound students and grants to Northbrook organizations.
“We’ve helped a lot of organizations, helped a lot of kids go off to school and be comfortable,” Settler said.
Before they go off to school this year they’ll be able to see music from Main Stage headliners SEMPLE band, Mr. Blotto, and Michael McDermott, plus other bands at the Main and Beer stages.
Keith Semple, vocalist and leader of SEMPLE band, was booked along with a guitarist for 2022 Northbrook Days. He said “a massive storm” sent them under a tent where they played for about 100 people.
“It was actually one of my favorite shows of the summer, so intimate,” said Semple, who will lead a quartet on Aug. 3. “We’re kind of hoping this year to redeem that by showing everybody the full-band side of us.”
Raffle drawings take place each night at the Grand Prize Tent, with a grand prize of up to $10,000 drawn at the festival’s conclusion at 7:45 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 6.
Sixteen carnival rides at the south end of the festival grounds feature the iconic Tilt-a-Whirl and another favorite, the merry-go-round.
There is a dedicated time for residents with special needs and their immediate families and caregivers to enjoy carnival rides and entertainment. Registration is required for this feature from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 5; sign up at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For the complete schedule and other information, visit northbrookdays.com.