A night under the stars, listening to music and sipping wine,
sounds like the perfect date night. But if you're headed to the
Ravinia Festival this summer, just toss some juice boxes into your
picnic basket and you've got some ready-made family time on your
"It's such a multigenerational place," says Amy Schrage,
associate director of public relations. "Grandparents to
grandkids-this is an experience for everybody."
Since Ravinia is a casual, open space, little ones can wander
around without getting nasty looks, and you can bring your own
dinner to nibble throughout the afternoon or evening.
Schrage says the Kraft Great Kids concerts emulate the
festival's main stage programming and include everything from
classical to dance to rock.
"It's important to have a mix to offer up to families," Schrage
says. "We're entertaining the parents, as well."
Of course, classical music is at the heart of Ravinia's
programming, since it's the suburban summer home of the Chicago
Symphony Orchestra. This year, a special Kraft Great Kids concert
on July 21 focuses on young classical musicians as part of a live
broadcast of WFMT's radio show Introductions with David Polk.
The July 31 performance of Gustav Holst's The Planets includes
film footage from Adler Planetarium and astronomers to help watch
the sky with telescopes.
Ravinia also uses select early-evening concerts with the CSO to
offer "Family Space," an area where kids can make music-related
crafts, hear stories and try out some instruments at the instrument
Adding to the family appeal: kids 15 and under are always free
to classical shows (as well as high school and college students
with ID). Plus, a family fun guide provides activities and
simplified program notes to read while listening to the music.
"We really want this to be that place to bring kids and
introduce them to different kinds of music," Schrage says.
And as long as mom and dad don't forget those juice boxes, we're
pretty sure the whole family will leave Ravinia humming a happy
Elizabeth Diffin is the senior editor at Chicago Parent. She lives in Wheaton.
See more of Elizabeth's stories here.
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