North Shore Views
Every June children from Winnetka and surrounding communities celebrate the end of school with a day at the Winnetka Children’s Fair. For two glorious days, the Village Green is transformed into a magic kingdom of sorts, with rides, games and other activities for preschoolers to preteens. The fair is held the Friday and Saturday after school lets out, this year on June 11-12. A 60 year tradition, the fair is actually a fundraiser for the Winnetka Community Nursery School. It’s run by the school’s forty-strong Board of Directors with the help of hundreds of volunteers from the community. If you live in Winnetka, have friends in Winnetka or your child attends (or has ever attended) Winnetka Community Nursery, you will be tapped for a shift as a volunteer.
I got my first taste of volunteering at the fair the spring after we moved back to the area. We had enrolled our daughter in the Nursery School and my husband was the first-ever male member of the Board. He was tapped to run the hot dog stand, along with another Board member. The first order of business was finding thirty volunteers to take two hour shifts for each of the two days of the fair. Since we had just moved here after being gone for seven years, we didn’t know a ton of people in the area and it seemed that all of the ones we did know had already been asked by someone else to work at their game or booth or ride. He managed to scrounge up most of the volunteers he needed, though I found myself working all eight hours, both days.
I will say that, of all the jobs at the fair, working the hot dog stand is the best. It’s always busy and you get to see everyone you know. You move around a lot and the tasks are varied, so you don’t get bored. And there is a constant supply of food and drink available should you get hungry or thirsty. (I always felt sorry for the people stuck in a booth by themselves baking in the hot sun without anything to eat or drink). And the best part was that the stand was right across the street from the house of our good friends, and they graciously made their bathroom available to us so we didn’t need to use the porta-potties at the fair.
The fair will be held this year on June 11 and 12 from 10:00am to 5:00pm on Winnetka’s Village Green (between Elm and Oak Streets, east of Green Bay Rd.). It’s a great way to kick-off the summer, so if you have children between the ages of 3 and 12, don’t miss it.