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The best things in life — and often in Naperville — are free

The Frontier Kite Flying Festival promises sights gigantic kites exciting demonstrations stunts much more.  |  NAPERVILLE PARKS

The Frontier Kite Flying Festival promises sights of gigantic kites, exciting demonstrations, stunts, and much more. | NAPERVILLE PARKS

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Updated: June 18, 2013 6:40AM

One of the most common complaints about Naperville I hear from readers is that there is nothing to do here that isn’t expensive, often too expensive for struggling families. And that’s just not right.

Costly events make it impossible for the large group of Napervillians who don’t have much disposable income to enjoy the nice weather with the rest of their community. That’s why “free” stuff, stuff for which we’ve each paid a tiny amount in taxes, is so important. It doesn’t cost families an additional dime.

On Friday the 17th, for example, there’s the Naperville Park District Youth Ambassadors’ 10th annual Battle of the Bands contest in Central Park from 5 to 8 p.m. If you enjoy high school student rock bands, or can turn your hearing aid way down, you might enjoy this first night of summer music in the park. And if you need to use the washroom, there finally are some nice ones. You won’t have to stand in embarrassing bathroom lines worrying, or sit on uncomfortable benches, so there’s no longer any reason to stay away from the park.

The next day, May 18, you could head over to the First Division Museum at Cantigny, 1S151 Winfield Road in Wheaton, and help celebrate Armed Forces Day from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. They’re honoring our service members and the United States Military with a mobile petting zoo and other activities. Both parking and admission are free. Learn about your magnificent military in a fun and relaxing environment. For information, visit

Or you could spend a couple of hours that day, from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m., at Kline Creek Farm to watch the blacksmith repair equipment and demonstrate the techniques of blacksmithing. In either case, you could end the day by watching a fireworks display at 8:30 p.m at North Central College. They will be set off from the practice field behind the Residence Hall/Recreation Center, 440 S. Brainard St., and can be viewed from the Zimmerman Baseball Stadium located on the south end of campus.

The next day you could head back to Kline Creek Farm, from 1:30 to 3:30, to learn all about beekeeping. Then head over to Churchill Woods from 5:30 to 7 p.m. to try geocaching, a fantastic family activity in which you use a GPS receiver to find caches that people have hidden all over the world. Ages 6 and up, under 16 with an adult, free registration at 630-933-7248.

On Wednesday the 22nd, from 10 to 11 a.m., you could join staff and volunteers on a specially guided viewing of nesting herons and other wading birds at the Lake Renwick Nature Preserve near Plainfield. It is at Renwick Road near Route 30. For information, call 708-946-2216. Telescopes and binoculars are available for use.

On Sunday, May 26, the 85th Army Band with the Naperville Municipal Band will be performing in Central Park at 4:30 p.m. On Monday, at 10:30 a.m., the Memorial Day Parade begins at Jackson Avenue and West Street and proceeds up Washington Street to Benton Avenue. A concert will be performed in Central Park after the parade. Admission to Centennial Beach will be free that day from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

One of my very favorite events is the Frontier Kite Fly Festival at the Frontier Sports Complex on June 2 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. You can fly your own kite and see giant kites, demonstrations and live music. And there’s an archery tournament for novices who have their own equipment at Blackwell Forest Preserve on June 12 from 5 to 7 p.m. Some equipment is available for loan at no cost. Call 630-933-7248 after May 28. No crossbows.

So there are plenty of events for those of us who can’t shell out big bucks for everything, and frankly free is usually more fun.

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