DeKalb and Sycamore park districts ready to kick off summer

According to the National Park and Recreation Association, six in seven U.S. adults say they are looking forward to participating in outdoor activities this spring and summer.

The top outdoor activities by generation are: attending picnics for Baby Boomers, going to the park for Gen X, visiting a beach or lake for Millennials and swimming for Gen Z.

Both the Sycamore and DeKalb park districts have scheduled a number of events throughout the summer for everyone to participate in and enjoy, in addition to the recreational facilities, including pools, golf courses and splash pads, being open this year.

“Our picnic shelters are open and ready to take your shelter reservation requests,” said Theresa Tevsh, superintendent of recreation with the Sycamore Park District. “We have 19 parks ready for play, social time and outdoor fitness. We have small lakes for fishing, and nature exploration. And I am happy to say, the outdoor pool will open this summer for swimming, lessons and aquatic exercise.”

“I think after being cooped up this past year due to the pandemic, people are ready to get out and get involved,” said Katie Drum, marketing director with the DeKalb Park District. “Our entire mission as a park district is to get people engaged, outdoors and learn together as a community. That’s been difficult to do this last year, but we will be offering almost all of our traditional programs this summer, as well as some new ones.”

Both the DeKalb and Sycamore districts have new executive directors. John Shea Jr. became DeKalb’s executive director in May and Jonelle Bailey began her role at the Sycamore district in September.

Both districts have ongoing park projects.

Projects in Sycamore include playground restoration at Founders Park and two new neighborhood parks: Reston Ponds and North Grove Crossing. Construction will begin this summer on Citizens Memorial Sports Complex. The first segment of the Great Western Trail Expansion will open in the fall and the Riverside Soccer Complex will open next spring.

Upcoming projects with the DeKalb district include renovating the ball fields at Prather Park after leagues end for the season and creating a natural off-leash area for dogs with trails at Katz Park. The Buena Vista Clubhouse has a new deck, and cart path improvements will be done at both district golf courses. There also will be new landscaping at the Ellwood House.

Welsh Park was recently renovated, with additions including a new playground, 8-foot walking paths, a seasonal splash pad, game area, rain garden, pickleball courts, and a new full basketball court with bleachers and an accessible park connect with depressed curbs. The district also teamed up with the DeKalb County Regional Office of Education to create the Basics DeKalb County Toddler Garden, which offers young children an interactive sensory play experience.

DeKalb will host three movies in the park this summer: “Dora and the Lost City of Gold” on June 11, “Frozen 2” on July 9 and “Karate Kid” on Aug. 13. Sycamore will host two movies in the park, including Disney’s live-action “Aladdin” on June 4 and “Tuck Everlasting” on Aug. 6.

DeKalb’s splash pad is located at the newly opened Welsh Park, 651 Russell Road, and is free and open daily from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. and is free for public use.

Sycamore’s Splash Fountain is located at the park district’s Legacy Campus, 480 Airport Road in Sycamore. Enter through the Community Center. Advance registration for a 75-minute time slot is required online at Children ages 11 months and younger get in free. The fee for ages 1 and older is $3 for residents and $5 for nonresidents. Children age 10 and younger must be accompanied by a paying adult within the Splash Fountain gate. Registration must be completed at least one hour in advance.

DeKalb’s Hopkins Pool will be open through Aug. 15. Season passes will not be available for the 2021 season. There will be admission entry for the kiddie pool area and general swim area with two-and-a-half-hour reservation time slots. There will be a 90-minute time slot exclusively for lap swim. Visitors are strongly encouraged to make a time slot reservation, however, walk-ins will be accepted as long as the facility has not reached its capacity restriction maximum. Lounge chairs and lockers will not be available. Admission is $5 per time slot for residents and $6 per time slot for nonresidents.

The Sycamore Community Pool, 940 E. State St., is free for children ages 3 and younger. The fee for ages 4 and older is $6 for residents and $9 for nonresidents. The Late swim fee for ages 4 and older is $3 for residents and $6 for nonresidents.

The DeKalb Municipal Band will perform Tuesdays, June 8 through Aug. 17, at Hopkins Park, 1403 Sycamore Road in DeKalb. Music at the Mansion will be held Wednesdays, June 23 through Aug. 4, at the Ellwood House, 420 Linden Place in DeKalb. Sycamore Park District’s Summer Concert Series will be held 7 p.m. Thursdays, July 1 through Aug. 5, at the Sports Complex, 435 Airport Road in Sycamore.

For a full listing of times, dates and locations of DeKalb Park District and Sycamore Park District events, visit their websites.

DeKalb Park District Summer Events


June 4 - Golf Date Night

June 5 - Dame’s Rocket Debacle

June 8 - Municipal Band Concert: Tribute to Jan Bach

June 11 - Golf Date Night

June 11 - Movies in the Park: “Dora and the Lost City of Gold”

June 15 - Municipal Band Concert

June 18 - Golf Date Night

June 20 - Father’s Day Birdie Brunch

June 22 - Municipal Band Concert

June 23 - Music at the Mansion

June 25 - Golf Date Night

June 29 - Municipal Band Concert

June 30 - Music at the Mansion


July 3 - Independence Day Scramble

July 4 - Independence Day 5K

July 4 - Municipal Band Concert: Star-Spangled Spectacular and Fourth of July Fireworks

July 9 - Movies in the Park: “Frozen 2”

July 10 - Unplug Illinois Day: Chalk Your Walk

July 13 - Municipal Band Concert: Night at the Movies

July 14 - Music at the Mansion

July 16 - Glow Golf

July 20 - Municipal Band Concert

July 21 - Music at the Mansion

July 27 - Municipal Band Concert: Children’s Concert

July 28 - Music at the Mansion

July 31 - Cardboard Boat Regatta


Aug. 2 - Golf Fore the Kids Scholarship Golf Outing

Aug. 3 - Municipal Band Concert: DeKalb Rotary/DeKalb Kiwanis 100th Anniversary Celebration

Aug. 4 - Music at the Mansion

Aug. 8 - Club Championship

Aug. 10 - Municipal Band Concert: Night on Broadway

Aug. 13 - Movies in the Park: “Karate Kid”

Aug. 17 - Municipal Band Concert

Sycamore Park District Summer Events


June 4 - Movies in the Park: Disney’s Live-action “Aladdin”

June 9 - Eco Explorers: Birds of Prey

June 12 - Family Health and Fitness Day

June 14 - Flag Day Ceremony and Concert

June 18 - Sunrise Walk and Talk

June 19 - Family Nature Program: Awesome Amphibians

June 19 - Geocaching Workshop with NIU Outdoor Adventures

June 26 - “What is in your bottle of water?”


July 1 - Summer Concert Series: Howard and the White Boys

July 8 - Summer Concert Series: The StingRays

July 14 - Eco Explorers: Dino Science

July 15 - Summer Concert Series: Soda

July 16 - Sunrise Walk and Talk

July 17 - Woodburning Course

July 22 - Summer Concert Series: Shout Out


Aug. 5 - Summer Concert Series: Back Country Roads

Aug. 6 - Movies in the Park: “Tuck Everlasting”

Aug. 11 - Eco Explorers: Invasive Species

Aug. 14 - Terrariums

Aug. 20 - Sunrise Walk and Talk

Katrina J.E. Milton

Award-winning reporter and photographer for Shaw Media publications, including The Daily Chronicle and The MidWeek newspapers in DeKalb County, Illinois, since 2012.