Arts, Community, Library, Live Music, Live Theater, Local, Nature, Organizations, Park Forest, Recreation

In and Around Park Forest for the Week of February 12, 2024

Park Forest, IL-(ENEWSPF)- This week in and around Park Forest, be sure to register by Wednesday, February 14, for an event in Village Hall on February 21. We also include information from the Village of Park Forest and Fine Arts news for the coming week. Also, please check out the Park Forest Historical Society’s Valentine’s Day display.

Likewise, there are activities available with the Will County Forest Preserve District.

If you would like us to mention something about your club, organization, school, or events in the community that you would like published, please e-mail [email protected] with the details no later than 5 p.m. on Friday.  Thank you.

In case you missed one of the most exciting Super Bowls I can remember, the Kansas City Chiefs won this one in the last seconds of the first overtime.

Kansas City Chiefs win Super Bowl LVIII
The Kansas City Chiefs win Super Bowl LVIII (Credit: NFL+MGN)

Village of Park Forest: Official

Black History Month

The Recreation, Parks & Community Health Department presents Celebrating Our Roots: A Journey into African American Genealogy on Feb 21., in the Village Hall boardroom at 10 a.m.

Renowned speaker Janice Gilyard will give a one-hour presentation into the rich tapestry of African American heritage through genealogy. Residents are invited to come and bring any information or stories to share about their families.

To register for this free event, click here. The registration deadline is Feb. 14. 

Snow, Sips & Eats: Black Business Pop-up

The Village will host the Snow, Sips & Eats: Black Business Pop-up on Feb. 24. Residents are encouraged to visit the DownTown and support local Black businesses. There will be ongoing raffles to win gift cards and baskets. The Black Business Pop-up runs from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. and will start at Village Hall.

Boards and Commissions

The Village Board is not scheduled to meet this week.

The Human Relations Commission is scheduled to meet on Tuesday, February 13, at 6:30 pm at Park Forest Village Hall.

The Economic Development Advisory Group will meet on Wednesday, February 14, at 6 pm in Village Hall.

The Youth Commission will meet on Thursday, February 15, at 7 pm in Village Hall.

Will County Forest Preserve District

Here are the Forest Preserve District of Will County programs for the week of Feb. 12. Online registration is available on the Event Calendar at

Willy Woodchuck
Wish Willy the Woodchuck, the Forest Preserve District’s mascot, a happy birthday and learn about woodchucks during a Nature Play Day After Hours program for parents and their tots on Feb. 13 at Plum Creek Nature Center in Crete Township. (Photo by Forest Preserve staff | Chad Merda)

Nature Play Day After Hours – Happy Birthday, Willy the Woodchuck

6-7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 13, Plum Creek Nature Center, Crete Township. This nature-themed program for 3- to 5-year-olds will focus on the Forest Preserve’s mascot, Willy the Woodchuck, by exploring groundhogs with games, activities, cake, and more. Will Willy appear, or did he see his shadow and return to his burrow for six more weeks of winter? Registration is required.

Mocktails at the Museum

5-7:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 15, Isle a la Cache Museum, Romeoville. Celebrate Galentine’s Day by making botanical-inspired mocktails. Learn about their nature and history connections and explore the museum after hours. Light snacks will be provided. Ages 18 or older; cost $5 per person. Register by Feb. 11.

Take a Break with Tree Communication (Zoom Webinar)

Noon-12:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 16, online. Grab your lunch and enjoy a quick, 30-minute session with a naturalist. Learn how trees communicate with each other in remarkable ways using underground fungal networks. Free, ages ten or older. Register online for the Zoom ID and password.

Sunday Funday Game Day

Noon-2 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 18, Isle a la Cache Museum. What better way to spend time with family or friends than with a board game? Participants will have a chance to try different board games with nature and history themes. Free, ages eight or older. Register by Feb. 15.

Park Forest Public Library

Alice’s Ordinary People

Join documentary filmmaker Craig Dudnick at 5 p.m. on Wednesday, February 14, in the Ringering Room of the library for a screening of his 2012 film, “Alice’s Ordinary People.” The documentary follows Chicago activist Alice Tregay and her work with Jesse Jackson and others as part of Operation Breadbasket. Her work educating thousands on how to work in political campaigns effectively helped pave the way for the election of such notables as Harold Washington and Barack Obama. 

Registration for this event is necessary and is now open.

Read more on February at the PFPL here in John Hudzik’s article.

Arts & Entertainment

Prairie State College Presents the 35th Annual Jazz Fest

35th Annual Jazz Fest
PSC’s 35th annual Jazz Fest is Friday, February 16, at 7:30 p.m. in the Conference Center.

Prairie State College (PSC) announces the 35th Annual Jazz Fest, a spectacular musical event featuring renowned guest artists showcasing exceptional middle and high school talents. The festival promises a captivating experience for jazz enthusiasts and the wider community.

Feature 35th Annual Jazz Fest Concert Details

  • Date & Time: Friday, February 16 at 7:30 p.m.
  • Venue: Barnes & Noble College Auditorium, PSC Conference Center
  • Guest Artists: Orbert Davis (trumpet), Darius Hampton (saxophone), Valerie Nicholson (piano), Larry Gray (bass), Ernie Adams (drums)
  • Ticket Price: $10 (available at the door)
  • Contact: For more information, call (708) 709-3742

“Ain’t Misbehavin’” Opens Thursday at The Drama Group

Ain't Misbehavin' Cast
Charlaine (Liane Williams), Nell (Marquetta Jackson), Andre (Kentrell Dawson), Armelia (Erline Dorcy), and Ken (Anthony Augustine) sing a Fats Waller tune in rehearsal for “Ain’t Misbehavin'” at The Drama Group. The show runs from February 16 – 25.

Amidst the winter chill, The Drama Group is electrified to announce the arrival of “Ain’t Misbehavin’” to its stage, promising audiences a journey back to the vibrant era of the 1920s jazz scene. With Cordaro Johnson at the helm as Director, Elliott Bell as Music Director, and Liza Marie as Choreographer, the production breathes new life into the legendary repertoire of Fats Waller, evoking the ambiance of the iconic Cotton Club in Harlem.

Set to captivate audiences from February 16 to 24, with additional matinee performances on February 24 and 25, “Ain’t Misbehavin’” promises an evening of exuberant entertainment. The Drama Group, known for its commitment to accessibility, offers online ticketing through BookTix Ticketing and Livestreaming, ensuring seamless access for all art enthusiasts.

Freedom Hall Presents: Looking Ahead

On Saturday, February 24, at 7:30 pm, Freedom Hall in Park Forest presents An Evening with BIG SUIT… A Tribute to TALKING HEADS BIG SUIT is a collective of nine musicians drawn to cerebral adventures, infectious rhythms, and pioneering music known as Talking Heads. BIG SUIT began when a Chicago-area producer reached out to Deacon Blues founder Steven Kikoen with a request to form a Salute to the prolific group.

Tickets are: Adults $50 I Older People $45 I Groups $42.50

More Here

Park Forest Historical Society

A 1950s Valentine’s Day in Park Forest

The Park Forest House Museum will transport visitors to the enchanting era of the 1950s with its special exhibition, “Step Back into a 1950s Valentine’s Day.” Nestled at 227 Monee Road within St. Mary’s Catholic Church, the exhibit runs from February 3 to March 9, 2024. A living testament to Park Forest’s unique history, the site will open on Wednesdays and Saturdays from 1 to 3:30 p.m. Additional viewing times are available by appointment.

The exhibit meticulously recreates a classroom from Forest Boulevard School, nestled in a row of townhomes. This is quite a highlight. See the classroom adorned with crepe paper candy baskets. There are construction paper heart-shaped Valentine “mailboxes” on each desk. See a nostalgic display of red honeycomb, puffy hearts, and vintage Valentines throughout the house. Complementing this Valentine’s Day theme, the museum also features exhibits commemorating the 75th Anniversary of Park Forest.

Admission to this journey back in time is $5 for adults, with children 12 and under enjoying free entry. Visitors may park in the small lot and knock on the second-to-last classroom door. 

Read More Here…

LGBTQ+ Events

Rainbow flag
Source: Wikipedia

The Rainbow Cafe

The Rainbow Café is an opportunity for single or partnered gays, lesbians, bisexuals, or other members of sexually marginalized groups and their allies over age 18 to meet one another and socialize in a safe and supportive atmosphere.

Those attending are encouraged to bring some non-alcoholic drinks and a dessert or snack to pass or bring a financial donation. However, neither is mandatory. The Rainbow Café is held from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. on the third Friday of each month at the Unitarian-Universalist Community Church, 70 Sycamore Dr.

For more information, call 708-481-5539 and connect to the Rainbow extension.

Thornton Historical Society

The Untold Story of the Orphan Trains

From Thornton: The Village of Thornton Historical Society will present a program entitled: “The Untold Story of the Orphan Trains.” This is a 30-minute video by author Michael T. Keene. It will be shown on Monday, February 26, at 7:00 pm at the Historical Society’s museum at 114 N. Hunter Street in Thornton.

The late 1800s saw mass immigration to the United States. Due to sickness and poverty, many of these immigrants left behind orphaned children, over 30,000 alone in New York City. These orphans, dubbed “Street Rats” by the police, lived in alleyways, under stairs, and in piles of rubbish. Many were run over or died of starvation and exposure.

Learn how New York City solved this problem by putting the children on trains that went out West. Everyone is welcome, and admission is free. Refreshments will be served after the program. We hope to see you there.