Thursday, November 01, 2012

The Cook County Forest Preserve's National Grove. Riverside Illinois.October 2012.

I took this photograph a cople of weeks ago, during a very rainy autum afternoon.

From approximately 1969 to 1983, I attended many local Chicago area polka music picnics that were held here at the Cook County Forest Preserve's National Grove, located just west of Des Plaines Avenue near West 31st Street in Riverside Illinois.

I did not go to these events by choice, as I was just a kid back then, and my parents were polka music fans. I wasn't. Heck! Three Dog Night was more my style back then. Unfortunately...I was not a big fan of etnic "Heritage" music back then as you can proboubly tell by now. Things are much different for me these days. This music is more appreciated by me today, after a beer or two.

Seen here at National Grove, is the grove's "New" and recently constructed pavilion shelter structure. This open sided structure, recently replaced the old flat roofed one from the 1950's and 60's era.

When I was "Stuck" going to the polka music picnics that often featured three or four piece local Polish or Czechloslovakian Chicago area polka music bands, they would often set up and play under the roof of the pavilion.

A hot food ethnic food concession serving Potato Pancakes, Hot Dogs, or Polish Sausage and Saur Kraut was also set up underneath the pavilion roof as well. The Potato pancakes were greasy, but very flavorful nonetheless. The soft drinks that they served, was usually that inexpensive "Yummy" brand of generic soda from the Jewel Food Stores, while beer was often served from a truck that featured side mounted taps.

During the 1960's and 70's era, My old Chicago neighborhood on the near southwest side of the city, stll had a large Eastern European population consisting of ethnic Polish, Czech and Yugoslavian imigrant residents. However...not for much longer.

Although I had a field to run and play in here at National Grove, there mostly were no other kids to play with. Many of the people attending these events were local senior citizens. Some from Europe.

I would throw balsa wood gliders or a Frisbee for fun while the band played on.

Still, National Grove is in a pleasant pastoral setting, and is a nice place to visit today in the greater Chicagoland area.

Eddie K.

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