When you’re 125 years old, traditional faux pas do not carry as much meaning.
So the Village of Kenilworth didn’t mind throwing itself a birthday party on Sunday, Oct. 10, outside the Kenilworth Assembly Hall.
With help from the Kenilworth Park District, the village invited residents to the hall’s lawn for a family-friendly celebration that included music, games, food trucks and drinks.
Village President Cecily Kaz said new residents mingled with longtimers to make for a special day for the community.
“We had a great event and a beautiful day,” she said. “It was a wonderful turnout — a lot of young families and a lot of older residents of 40 or 50 years. It was nice to see that mix. You rarely see that mix.”
The Village of Kenilworth was incorporated in February of 1897 once it achieved the necessary 300 residents, according to a summary from the Kenilworth Historical Society.
Over the 125 years, the village’s population has grown to an estimated 2,500 people and just over half a square mile.
The history of Kenilworth is commemorated by the historical society in a portion of the Village Hall. On Sunday, the society showed off a new permanent exhibit on the town’s history “to provide a context that will allow us to dive deeper into the stories and subjects of our temporary exhibits,” it says on the group’s website.
The exhibit features touchscreens and an interactive experience that allows guests to search and explore homes, photos, maps and more. The historical society, 415 Kenilworth Ave., is open from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. on Mondays and Thursdays.
The 125th anniversary bash also celebrated the village’s special project, the Heritage Tree Program, an initiative spearheaded by former Village President Ann Potter that promises to plant 125 trees within a year.
“This initiative works to restore the canopy of old growth trees we have lost since the Village was founded in 1896, and to preserve the beauty, integrity, and stability of our verdant community for the future,” it says on the program’s dedicated web page.
Kaz said so far at least 77 trees have been planted across the Village in 2021, and the remainder will go in the ground in the spring of 2022. She said that more than $23,000 has been raised for the project, which has seen participation from local churches, Joseph Sears School and residents.
The party and tree program is just adding to the “positive energy” flowing through Kenilworth right now, Kaz said.
“This was just an opportunity to get together and have an informal celebration,” she said. “There’s a lot of positive energy, lots of new families have come to town, the school did a homecoming event a few weeks ago. It’s just really energized in a positive way. This anniversary built upon that.”
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