Seasonal synergy

Fall Family Fest and Fire & Police open house team up for community fun

Hinsdale's trees have begun shedding their leaves, and the town's denizens are adding layers when heading out.

Autumn is in full splendor, and there's no better way to celebrate the season locally than at the 2023 Hinsdale Fall Family Fest from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 14, in Burlington Park 30 E. Chicago Ave.

The event, put on by the village's parks and recreation department, was moved to the park from its previous Hinsdale Middle School site. Mike Hayes, superintendent of parks and recreation, said the new location easily allows visitors to attend the fest and the Hinsdale Fire and Police departments' annual open house (see details below).

"We wanted to coordinate with the fire and police open house right next door. People can come to the fall fest and the open house, and have everything right in one neighborhood," Hayes said.

A cornucopia of reasons should entice residents to the fest. First, it's a great chance to try on and show off those Halloween costumes before the actual day, whether rocking a solo look or going with a group theme. The Hinsdale Chamber of Commerce is sponsoring its annual costume contest at its booth from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., and what a treat (not trick) to be among the winners announced at 1:30 p.m.! Don't forget to smile for The Hinsdalean, which will be taking photographs of revelers from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

In addition, kids of all ages can enjoy inflatables, food trucks, entertainment and crafts before heading home with free pumpkins - as long as you're one of the first 500 participants, so don't creep along.

"We'll have three different types of bounce houses," Hayes noted. "About 14 of 15 event sponsors will have tables set up in the park with crafts and for trick-or-treating."

Selected businesses in the downtown business district also will be welcoming trick-or-treaters from noon to 3 p.m.

"Hopefully the weather will stay nice, but it's going to be a rain or shine event," Hayes said. "It was huge success last year and we're looking forward it to it being just as successful this year."

Fire and Police open house

Just down from Burlington Park at 121 Symonds Drive, the Hinsdale Fire and Police departments will be hosting their annual open houses from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

October 8-14 is Fire Prevention Week, and residents can meet the village's first responders and get an up close look at the firefighting profession. People can check out the fire safety trailer, watch a fire extinguisher demonstration (and test their own) and take a tour of the station, while kids can play the "Fight that Fire" game.

The Northern Illinois Fire Sprinkler Advisory Board will conduct live burn demonstrations, showing the speed with which a fire can become deadly while conveying the crucial benefits of fire sprinklers.

Side-by-side rooms, similarly furnished and each with smoke alarms, will be set on fire. One will feature a single sprinkler, the other will not, and attendees will be able to feel and see the contrast between the fire's impact in the two spaces.

"Because today's homes tend to have open designs and furniture and other contents made from petroleum-based plastics and synthetic materials, a fire can turn deadly in less than two minutes," said advisory board Executive Director Erik Hoffer in a statement. "With these demonstrations, people can see how fast the entire room ignites and reaches flashover, which not even firefighters in their full gear can survive. "Simultaneously, can see how heat automatically activates a fire sprinkler, stopping the fire from becoming deadly and giving people precious time to evacuate."

Fire department officials will discuss typical fire department response times, the importance of working smoke alarms and well-practiced escape plans. Cooking is the leading cause of home fires by far, accounting for about half of all U.S. home fires, according to national statistics, and attendees will gain tips for avoiding such potentially deadly incidents.

Visitors to the police department will be able to meet the officers, learn about crime scene investigation, see live demonstrations and tour the station while also enjoying fun balloon artist, a DJ and food.

The night before the open house, at 7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 13, the Silent Parade will honor fallen firefighters. Parade attendees are asked to gather on the front lawn of Hinsdale Village Hall along Chicago Avenue. The parade begins in Hinsdale, proceeds west on Chicago Avenue and continues on Naperville Road before ending in Lisle.

Hayes said he hopes residents appreciate having both fall favorites take place simultaneously.

"We're not stretching our resources out but combining and utilizing all of our strengths," he said. "It will bring the whole community together, instead of having separate events, which was our goal."

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Author Bio

Ken Knutson is associate editor of The Hinsdalean