April 24, 2020 – With the goal of eliminating large gatherings as potential pathways for the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus, Oak Park Public Health Director Mike Charley today issued an order prohibiting all public events in the Village through June.
Among the many types of events covered by the order are A Day in Our Village, sidewalk sales, theatrical productions and sporting events.
Click here to read the order
“I know these events are part of the character of the community and important to our local economy, but reducing the chances of spreading COVID-19 is critical to protecting the health of citizens,” Charley said. “Only by limiting social contact can we hope to control this highly contagious virus.”
Canceling A Day in our Village, Oak Park’s annual festival celebrating diversity and community involvement, was a difficult call, officials said. First held in 1973, the event draws thousands of people to Scoville Park on the first Sunday of June. To many, it is as the unofficial beginning of the summer special event season here.
“Words can’t express how sad it makes us to have to cancel this one-of-a-kind gathering,” said Community Relations Director Cedric Melton, whose department rallies a small army of volunteers, schedules entertainers and recruits local restaurants to make A Day in Our Village the community’s premier summer special event.
A Day in Our Village was created in the early 1970s to provide an opportunity for current and prospective residents to discover Oak Park’s diversity and variety of civic, cultural, social service, business, educational and religious organizations and groups.
Since then, A Day in Our Village has grown beyond Scoville Park at Lake Street and Oak Park Avenue to encompass events at Park District sites and a food court on the nearby main Public Library plaza.
The event has been canceled only one other time. That was in 1975, when the still fledgling event faced a shortage of volunteers who handle the multitude of on-site tasks that make the gathering possible.
“Missing a year will be hard,” Melton said, adding that he is confident the step will not dampen the community spirit that has made A Day in Our Village so popular. “Given the risks of holding such a large gathering in the midst of a worldwide pandemic, there is no question that it is in the best interest of the community to take a year off and hope for better times ahead.”
Recruitment of participants and volunteers for this year’s event had been suspended earlier this month. Melton said registration fees will be refunded to those organizations that had already reserved a space.
Information on A Day in Our Village is posted on the Village website at www.oak-park.us/dayinourvillage. Email questions about the event or its cancellation to firstname.lastname@example.org.