Cantigny Park to celebrate France Aug. 11-12. ‘French Picnic Under the Stars’ precedes ‘Annual French Connection Day’

Cantigny will celebrate French culture—and the park’s special connection with France—at upcoming back-to-back events:
French Picnic Under the Stars
Saturday, Aug. 11 from 6 to 11 p.m.
Guests will have Cantigny Park all to themselves for an evening of food, wine, live music and stargazing. An illuminated 23-foot Eiffel Tower replica will add a festive touch of Paris while pic-nickers enjoy cabaret and popular music by Chicago Elite Orchestra (from 6:30-8:30 p.m.). Take home a memory from silhouette artist Cassidy Alexander. As darkness falls, members of the Naperville Astronomical Association and Chicago Astronomical Society will assist guests in viewing stars and planets through telescopes. At 7:30 p.m., enjoy a presentation on constellations in the Cantigny Theater.
Special event admission applies: $15 per car or $12 for Cantigny members. French-themed picnics for two are available for preorder (wine optional). Tickets and ordering information is online at
French Connection Day
Sunday, August 12, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
One of the park’s signature events is back for an 11th year. Attractions and activities include:
• French Market by Bensidoun USA
• Music by Traveler’s Dream
• Can-Can dancers
• Strolling mime, accordionist and vocalist
• French yard game pétanque (courtesy of Chicago Pétanque Club)
• Kids’ craft project
• French treats at Bertie’s Bistro
• Beer and wine garden
• 23-foot Eiffel Tower – the perfect photo opp!
French Connection Day is a free festival. Parking is $10 per vehicle.
The French theme commemorates an important chapter in the life of Robert R. McCor-mick, Cantigny’s benefactor. In 1918, at age 37, Colonel McCormick commanded an artillery unit in the Battle of Cantigny in France as a member of the U.S. Army’s First Division. It was Ameri-ca’s first significant victory in World War I.
Upon returning to Wheaton, the Colonel renamed his estate after the tiny French village that he and his fellow soldiers helped liberate from German occupation.
In his will, McCormick (1880-1955) established Cantigny “as a public park and museum for the recreation, instruction and welfare of the people of the State of Illinois.”
Cantigny Park is open every day this summer from 7 a.m. to dusk.