Glencoe Park District to celebrate 100 years
Alli Zipoli, 6, goes for the ball during a game of father and daughter broomball at a previous Glencoe Park District Winter Carnival. |File photo by Dan Luedert~Staff Photographer
Updated: January 13, 2012 10:59AM
Anybody have a team of sled dogs? If you do, the Glencoe Park District may have a deal for you.
The district is celebrating its centennial year in 2012, and already has a nearly full schedule of cool things to do every month. The first event, an expanded Glencoe Winter Carnival in and around the Watts Ice Center, promises to be downright frigid, held as it is in the dead of winter on Saturday, Jan. 12.
Perhaps the most interesting event that day, as listed in the current district program guide, would be the planned dogsled rides.
“Even if it doesn’t snow, we can still have the dog sled team on wheels,” district executive director Don Van Arsdale enthused Friday.
Dog sled teams are rare attractions at Illinois park district festivals, and David Johnson, district facility manager for Watts and the Glencoe Beach — charged with finding one — found out why.
He said Friday that there are just very few professional mushers in the area.
“I think there’s one in Illinois, and a few in Wisconsin. We tried contacting a few, and no dice.”
He was told that transporting dog sled teams longer distances can change the huskies’ disposition from sweet to aggressive. “And we don’t want that,” he said. “Especially with huskies,” which are equipped with bountiful muscles and teeth.
Dogsleds aren’t seen around these parts much, said Francine Barnes of Glenview’s Carriage Hill Kennels, who is usually on top of most canine trends. Friday, she said she was a kid the last time she saw one up close.
Somebody gave her dad a dogsled harness, and he attached one end to the family German short-haired pointer, and the other to a Flexible Flyer, and gave rides to her and her brother.
Susan Hawkins of the Lake County Forest Preserve District said Monday that her agency sells a handful of dogsled permits annually, but the trail available to the purchasers is so short that it guarantees that none of them are professional mushers.
Not to worry, however. There will be lots of things to do at the Watts Center, including informal skating races for anybody who wants to try to beat their age-group peers. There’s a hockey-shooting contest, games, s’more cooking, broomball and a raffle.
Friday, Johnson was looking for an ice sculptor to entertain visitors, and considering giving up the husky hunt in favor of a more conventional horse-drawn ride.
February’s centennial offering is the first “Leap in the Lake at Glencoe Beach.” Residents are encouraged to jump in the water after getting their friends and neighbors to pledge cash to Community Access to Recreation (CARE), the district’s scholarship fund to pay for programs for Glencoe residents who can’t afford them.
The jump itself costs $25 ($20 if you’re between 10 and 18), for CARE.
The leap’s no big deal, Van Arsdale said. “You can just wade in a little and then wade right out,” he said.
He’s considering a leap at 10 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 25, himself.
Johnson promised a warming tent, hot chocolate, an ambulance and wet-suited divers waiting in the water to rescue the ice water-challenged. Comfort will be provided by Wattson the Polar Bear, Watts mascot.
Each month, the district will have a drawing to give residents a prize, starting with free admission to a program in January. That will continue in March, but there is no special event that month, though the district was incorporated March 15, 1912.
“Maybe we’ll have a proclamation,” Van Arsdale said. “We’ve got so many wonderful things going on, we didn’t think we needed something every month.”
August and December are also quiet months this centennial year, because those are months many residents are out of town.
April, however, is a significant month, with Arbor Day celebrated (a day late) April 28 with the help of Dennis Downes, author of “Native American Trail Marker Trees: Marking Paths through the Wilderness.”
Downes — an Antioch painter and sculptor as well as the area’s ackowledged expert on trail trees — will lead a discussion on the living markers at Glencoe’s Veterans Memorial Park. Then he’ll instruct the district staff as they dip the top of a sapling into the ground and stake it down, creating a 21st century trail tree.
• May: A promotion at the district’s greenhouses, with a plant giveaway. Date not yet set.
• June 16: An ice cream social in Lakefront Park headlined by a Dixieland band, with a beach towel giveaway.
• July 4: Old-fashioned games in Kalk Park, in addition to the traditional fireworks. The district will enter a float in the parade this year.
• September: Early Learning Center poster contest. Drive to raise donations for 100 new trees to be planted in various parks.
• October: Historical Society display on the district’s century.
• November: A culmination event, with program demonstrations, likely at Takiff Center.