By SUBURBAN LIFE MEDIA comp:000049183ad5:000000023d:5016 /__uuid/ced02828-aea1-404b-8025-416c8dbf30f3/Cantigny-water-balloon.JPG 113 0 3290 2840 3177 2840 new
A water balloon cannon was part of the fun at last year's McCormick Day. All activities at the coming commemoration will be free, even the birthday cupcakes served at noon Tuesday, July 30. (Photo provided)

Cantigny Park will celebrate the birthday of its benefactor, Col. Robert R. McCormick, on Tuesday, July 30.  Free activities and demonstrations for visitors of all ages are planned throughout the park from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. in Wheaton, and parking will be free all day.
McCormick, former editor and publisher of the Chicago Tribune, was born on July 30, 1880.  He lived on the 500-acre country estate from 1920 until his death in 1955.  His will designated Cantigny as a gift to the community.

Special events

•    McCormick Museum open house (10 a.m. to 1 p.m.)

•    Amy McCormick performance by Ellie Carlson (McCormick Museum
Gold Theatre, 11 a.m.)

•    Spinning demonstration by Esther’s Place Fiber Arts Studio (all day)

•    Splash artillery target practice (First Division Museum, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.)

•    Sheepherding demonstration by Heatherhope Farm in Sycamore (every hour on the half hour starting at 10:30 a.m.)

•    Birthday cake cutting (Visitors Center, noon)

•    Wreath-laying ceremony honoring Robert R. McCormick (Exedra monument, 3 p.m.)

Throughout the day, vintage games for children will be available on the Parade Field, in addition to craft activities. A giant mural will be available for painting starting at 1 p.m. Kids also are invited to make newspaper hats and birthday cards on the McCormick Museum’s south porch.

Park visitors can take turns on a hand-cranked ice cream freezer at 11 a.m., or try their hand at butter making at 1 p.m. The activities recall life during Col. McCormick’s time at Red Oaks Farm, as Cantigny was known originally.

The McCormick family loved dogs, and bulldogs were a particular favorite. On McCormick Day, adoptaBull English Bulldog Rescue will be on site to share its animals with visitors and promote the organization’s mission.

McCormick Day will conclude at 3 p.m. with a wreath laying at the Exedra, the final resting place of Col. McCormick and his first wife, Amy. Cantigny Post 556 of the American Legion will conduct the brief ceremony.

The First Division Museum and Robert R. McCormick Museum will be open on McCormick Day from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission to both museums is free throughout the year.
Visitors also can stroll through Cantigny’s 30 acres of colorful gardens, including the lavish Rose Garden and Idea Garden, designed to inspire.
Inside the Cantigny Visitors Center, Le Jardin restaurant will serve lunch from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., and Bertie’s sells ice cream, snacks and coffee drinks from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Also on McCormick Day, the newly remodeled Cantigny Shop will be open from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

Cantigny Park, 1S151 Winfield Road, is open every day during summer from 7 a.m. to dusk. A complete schedule of concerts, workshops and special events is posted online at For details about Cantigny Golf, including the Cantigny Golf Academy and nine-hole Cantigny Youth Links, visit