DuPage County

New DuPage Community Arts Festival coming to Wheaton

Saying that the arts are an integral part of the community, a DuPage County Board member has spearheaded the creation of a new performing arts festival.

“For us to come out of this pandemic stronger than before and to help with recovery and to really strengthen our economy, we need to also focus on the arts,” said county board member Lynn LaPlante of Glen Ellyn.

LaPlante was the main driver for the creation of the inaugural DuPage Community Arts Festival, which will run from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. Saturday, May 28, at the DuPage County Event Center & Fairgrounds in Wheaton. The festival will feature three concert stages, a family-friendly arts activities area, nearly a dozen food trucks, a beer and wine tent and more.

“It’s an all-day arts immersion experience,” said LaPlante, who is also the chairwoman of the ad hoc DuPage Fine Arts Committee. “We’ve been working nonstop on this for the past 18 months.”

Plans were afoot to stage what was hoped to be the inaugural DuPage Community Arts Festival last fall. But a spike in COVID-19 variants (and the then-restrictions on vaccinations for youth) prompted the bipartisan DuPage Fine Arts Committee to reschedule.

Glen Ellyn-based musician Ralph Covert is slated to perform twice at the festival. His family-friendly rock band Ralph’s World is one of the opening acts at 10 a.m., and then Ralph Covert and The Bad Examples perform more grown-up rock at 1:30 p.m.

“Looking at the schedule, there are a couple of times I’ll personally be running back and forth between stages due to the smorgasbord of great music,” Covert said. “The range of different styles of music and cultures that are reflected -- it’s going to be exciting.”

Some of the music acts include the Ides of March featuring Jim Peterik, the Orbert Davis Quintet, Muriel Anderson, Son Monarcas, the DuPage Symphony Ensembles and more.

“There are so many people who would love to go out and see live music,” said Covert, adding the arts can help drive economic development.

LaPlante agrees, citing how the DuPage County Convention & Visitors Bureau estimated that patrons attending the Cleve Carney Art Museum’s 2021 exhibit of “Frida Kahlo: Timeless” at College of DuPage helped to infuse $10 million into the local economy.

“I really am a firm believer that a rising tide lifts all boats,” said LaPlante about showcasing DuPage County artists and musicians together in a new festival event.

“We’re hoping for thousands of people to attend, and this will help raise the profile (of local artists and organizations) to get new subscribers, new attendees,” LaPlante said. “The point is to help everyone.”