The next few weeks are action-packed at the Plainfield Park District. The fun kicks off with a fun-filled Saturday as the park district hosts the annual You Can’t Catch Me Fun Run followed by the annual Grinchmas on the Green.
The You Can’t Catch Me Fun Run kicks off at 1 p.m. It’s a 1-mile themed run around Village Green, which is decorated with holiday lights and sights. Participants receive a shirt and swag bag that includes a unique, event-themed giveaway along with other cool items.
The fun run is sponsored by Heartland Bank.
At 4 p.m., the annual Grinchmas on the Green begins, with free hot chocolate and cookies underneath the pavilion in Village Green.
At 5 p.m., Santa and the Grinch will arrive via a firetruck courtesy of the Plainfield Fire Protection District. About 5:15 p.m., Santa and the Grinch will light up the giant Village Green Christmas tree.
Photo opportunities with Santa and the Grinch follow about 5:30 p.m. in Whoville (the tennis courts).
Grinchmas on the Green is sponsored by D’Arcy Buick GMC, Moravec Orthodontics and NuMark Credit Union.
On Dec. 8 and 9, the park district is offering a Journey to the North Pole, where participants enjoy a wagon ride on the festive Eaton Preserve trail en route to a visit with Santa. Times slots run in 20-minute increments beginning at 5 p.m. and ending at 9 p.m.
Noon Year’s Eve concludes 2023 with music, games, crafts, inflatables, snacks and a giant balloon drop for kids ages 3 to 12. The event runs from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Prairie Activity & Recreation Center, 24550 W. Renwick Road in Plainfield.
You Can’t Catch Me Fun Run, Journey to the North Pole and Noon Year’s Eve require registration at bit.ly/PPD-Registration. Grinchmas on the Green is a free event.
Black Friday at PARC
The Prairie Activity & Recreation Center is the place to be on Black Friday weekend, as the best membership deal of the year will be available.
A membership to the Prairie Fit Fitness Center – which includes use of the fitness center, indoor track and gymnasium – will be $17 a month for the first year only, requiring a one-year commitment.
The deal is for new members only. Memberships must be bought in person at the Prairie Activity & Recreation Center, 24550 W. Renwick Road, Plainfield, from Nov. 24 to 26.
The center is open from 6 a.m. to 3 p.m. Friday, Nov. 24; from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 25; and from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 26.
Youth athletic leagues
In addition to special events, the park district also has indoor flag football and soccer leagues kicking off in January. Both of these leagues take place at the Go Pro Dome in Minooka.
Flag football participants ages 7 to 9 and 9 to 11 enjoy all the positive aspects of football without the physical risks. Participants develop skill-position fundamentals along with sportsmanship, strategy, teamwork, self-control and self-discipline while competing and having fun.
League play is six-on-six with a maximum of 12 players per team. The registration deadline is Dec. 15.
The new indoor soccer league is for ages 3 to 17 and takes place on reduced-sized turf fields to aid in player development. There is no practice, games only. The registration deadline is Dec. 1.
Van Horn Woods renovation
The Plainfield Park District continues to make progress on the renovation of Van Horn Woods, an 87-acre community park that straddles Lily Cache Creek north of Caton Farm Road and south of Route 30.
The primary objectives of the 87-acre Van Horn Woods development project are to:
- Enhance the natural amenities already on-site.
- Improve accessibility throughout.
- Expand recreational and educational opportunities.
Project elements include:
- Replacement of the playground at Van Horn Woods East.
- Fishing pier improvements.
- Shoreline restoration
- Addition of fitness pods
- Permanent fixtures at the bike park.
- Pollinator garden.
- Disc golf course.
- Expanded trails throughout.
The district recently unveiled plans for the playground, which will be sensory in nature and geared toward those on the autism spectrum.
The play area will feature a main structure with some traditional play elements, including:
- Ground-level, under-deck play spaces.
- Sphere for sensory interaction.
- Rocking rider.
- Sensory dome with various small spaces and interactive elements.
- Communication board designed in collaboration with the Northern Will County Special Recreation Association.
The main play area will feature turf surfacing. An additional play area contains a swing set with some musical elements in addition to tot, belt and friendship swings. This area will be on engineered wood fiber surfacing.
There also will be a seating area in between these play areas for caregivers with benches, a picnic table and a trash can. The entire play area is under existing mature trees that should provide ample shade, and some additional trees also are being planted within this scope of work.
The installation of the fitness pods along with the renovations of the bike park and dog park at Van Horn recently were completed and are open for use.
Fishing pier improvements, shoreline restoration, the disc golf course, a pollinator garden and expanded trails will be completed in the spring.