A celebration of horses and the fall season takes place from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Oct. 8 and 9 at the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County’s Fall Festival at Danada at the Danada Equestrian Center, 3S507 Naperville Road in Wheaton.
During the free two-day event, the main outdoor arena will feature trick riding, vaulting, carriage driving, a drill team and equine therapy demonstrations. Performers include the Midwest Renegades, Chicago Vaulting and the Stateline Hotshots Rodeo Drill Team, according to a news release.
Breaks in the equestrian program will feature live music by local bluegrass recording artist Ashley Lewis on Saturday and dulcimer player Sherri Farley on Sunday. The full entertainment schedule is at dupageforest.org/fall-festival.
Visitors can meet Danada’s Nick the Painting Horse and buy his artwork in the gift shop, tour the barn that once housed Kentucky Derby winner Lucky Debonair and learn about horse care, grooming and tack. Visitors also can take horse-drawn wagon rides through the autumn woods, watch artistic pumpkin-carving demonstrations and visit with representatives from DuPage Animal Services, who will be on hand with adoptable animals and the organization’s mobile veterinary clinic.
Children can take pony rides, decorate paper hobbyhorses, explore a hands-on nature exhibit and participate in activities provided by the DuPage Children’s Museum and Wheaton Park District’s Sensory Garden Playground. From noon to 5 p.m. Saturday, children can meet and have their pictures taken with PBS Kids’ “Nature Cat.”
“We’re eager to welcome back thousands of visitors to our annual celebration of the horse,” Wayne Zaininger, the center’s manager, said in the release. “We’re excited to offer two full days of equestrian performances and fall activities for the first time. Fall Festival at Danada is one of the only free equestrian shows of its kind in DuPage County.”
Visitors are invited to stop by the Danada House, the former home of Dan and Ada Rice, for the Friends of Danada’s Nature Art and Photo Show, a juried competition featuring local artists.
Food and beverages will be available for purchase from local food truck vendors, including MotoChef (Lord of the FryZ), BoJo’s Concessions and Catering and Windy City Ice Cream.
Fall Festival at Danada takes place rain or shine. Admission and parking are free, but there are fees for some activities (cash and check only).
For information, call 630-933-7200 or visit dupageforest.org.