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Catapult designers get creative at Cantigny's annual contest. (Photo provided)

Whether you're in the mood for outdoor theater for families with young children, or have a yen to see catapults in action or to enter the contest, the place to be is Cantigny in Wheaton, the setting for both events.


Tickets are on sale for “Jenny & the Old House,” an outdoor roving theater performance in the fall gardens, with performances at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 26 and 27. The show is recommended for families with children ages 10 and younger.

“Jenny & the Old House,” by Mark Adamczyk, is presented by the cast and crew of Lake Forest-based Citadel Theatre Company. It’s a light-hearted tale delivered by professional actors who move about the Cantigny grounds, performing in different settings.

The story is about a kid, Jenny, old enough to do things on her own and make new friends. But one of her errands takes her and her companions past “the creepy old Weaver house” as darkness settles in. Holding their fears in check, they begin a search for the truth about the old place. To learn more about the troupe, visit

Tickets cost $10 per person for ages 5 and older. They are available in advance at Cantigny Park, online at or by phone at 630-260-8162.  A limited number of tickets are expected to be available on the day of performance. Parking is free for ticketholders.

Spectators may want to bring blankets or lightweight portable chairs. Seating during the performance is on the lawn.

Cantigny Park is open throughout October from 7 a.m. to dusk at 1S151 Winfield Road. Upcoming events are posted at


The Cantigny Catapult Contest invites teams to build and demonstrate medieval war machines. The First Division Museum at Cantigny Park will host the third annual contest at 10 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 26. So far, 16 teams are registered to compete.

Teams of up to four people are challenged to build a catapult designed to launch a baseball. Teams will compete for first- and second-place medals in three categories: distance, accuracy and shot group. Prizes of $100 and $75 will be awarded to the first- and second-place teams in each category, respectively. 

For each category of competition, each team is allowed five minutes to complete three launches. The longest launch wins the distance contest, with official distance measured by where the ball first touches down.

For the shot group, the team whose three baseballs come to rest closest together wins. A target is used to determine the accuracy champion. The team hitting the target the most times wins; if no team hits the target, then the closest shot wins. 

Complete contest rules and the required team registration form are posted online at The website also features a video blog offering catapult design tips and photos from the 2011 and 2012 competitions.

Spectators are welcome at the contest, which takes place on the park’s parade field.  A master of ceremonies will announce the results of each launch and provide information about the competing teams.

Catapult designers get creative at Cantigny's annual contest. (Photo provided)