By Abby Johnson
Spice up your daily home commute with live music, fun activities and good food at BAPA’s 3rd annual Family Fun Nights. The celebratory summer kick-off is coming to a station near you on Thursdays, June 14, 21 and 28 from 5:30 to 7 p.m.
“It’s a great opportunity for people to spend time with their families and mingle with their neighbors,” said BAPA Executive Director Susan Flood. “You’re on the same train with the same people every day, but how many times do you actually talk to each other?”
Family Fun Nights was started in 2015 for this exact reason: To encourage neighbors to get to know each other. To make friends of what may be only friendly faces. Now the festivities are in their third year, and their popularity, their symbolizing of Beverly as a familial neighborhood, are what make Flood proud of continuing this tradition.
“One of our goal’s at BAPA is to make our community more than a place where people live,” Flood said. “We want the Beverly Hills/Morgan Park neighborhood to feel like home. We want residents to love where they live.”
Of course, these events must be planned with the children in mind. That’s why the “Meet Mom ‘N’ Dad at the Metra” is the theme for the third year in a row. With a bouncy house, face painting and sidewalk chalk available at every station, there are plenty of activities to keep the kids busy. Food and beverages will be available for purchase from the Calabria Imports food truck and Sweet Freaks Chocolates will be selling desserts.
While the event hasn’t wavered from its original purpose, its location has changed. For the first time, Family Fun Nights are “on the move”, advancing from one Metra station to another, much like the trains that run alongside them. This year, the festivities will take place at three locations, as opposed to the previous years’ steady 103rd St. spot. Flood said the move is an attempt to bring attention to other gathering places throughout the neighborhood. The fun nights have been so popular, they begged for expansion, she said.
“We want people from all across the neighborhood to have the chance to join in the fun,” Flood said.
The festivities will take place at a different Metra station every Thursday, beginning Jun. 14 at 91st St Station/Maggie Cosme Park, 9201 S. Longwood Dr., where guests can participate in soccer drills with Kics United, listen to a performance by the Chicago Children’s Choir and practice tennis drills with the Beverly Hills Tennis Club. Kids can also learn about animals and nature with Erin Yanz of Nature’s Creatures.
Commuters of the 99th St Station can enjoy the festivities Jun. 21, which will feature Live Music with Bridget and Garrett at Tranquility Stage, an arts/crafts table and Nature’s Creatures. The caboose arrives at 111th St. Station for the final gathering on Jun. 28, where children can enjoy a petting zoo from Miss Jamie’s Farm.
Sponsors of this year’s event are Little Company of Mary Hospital, Mike Haggerty Buick GMC, Beverly Bank & Trust, Office of the 19th Ward, Beverly Improvement Association, AT&T, Shops of Walden, and Beverly Ridge Homeowners Association.