Join in a celebration of the horse and the fall season at DuPage County’s Forest Preserve District Fall Festival in Danada on October 8-9.

It will be 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday at the Danada Equestrian Center at 3S507 Naperville Road in Wheaton.

During the two-day event, the main outdoor arena will feature horseback riding tricks, jumps, carriage driving, a drill team, and equine therapy demonstrations by various performers, including the Midwest Renegades , Chicago Vaulting and Stateline Hotshots Rodeo Drill Team. . Breaks from the horse program will include live music from local bluegrass artist Ashley Lewis (Saturday) and dulcimer player Sherri Farley (Sunday). A complete entertainment program will be available on closer to the event.

Visitors can meet Danada’s Nick the Painting Horse and purchase his artwork in the gift shop; visit the barn that once housed Kentucky Derby winner Lucky Debonair; and learn about horse care, grooming, and tack. They can also take horse-drawn wagon rides through the autumn woods; watch artistic demonstrations of pumpkin carving; and visit with representatives from DuPage Animal Services, who will be on site with adoptable animals and the organization’s mobile veterinary clinic.

Kids can go on pony rides, decorate their own hobby paper horses, explore an interactive nature exhibit, and participate in activities offered by the DuPage Children’s Museum and Wheaton Park District’s Sensory Garden Playground. And on Saturdays from noon to 5 p.m., kids can meet and have their picture taken with PBS Kids’ “Nature Cat.”

Isabella Dalskov of Glen Ellyn rides her horse ‘Rainbow’ during the workhorse interlude between demonstrations at Danada Fall Fest 2018 at Wheaton.
– Rick West | Personal photographer, 2018


“We look forward to welcoming thousands of visitors back to our annual celebration of the horse,” said Center Director Wayne Zaininger. “We are thrilled to offer two full days of horse shows and fall activities for the first time. The Danada Fall Festival is one of the only free horse shows of its kind in DuPage County. “

Visitors are also invited to stop by the Danada House, former home of Dan and Ada Rice, for the Friends of Danada “Nature Art and Photo Show,” a juried competition featuring local artists.

“Fall Festival in Danada is a one-of-a-kind equestrian festival that will appeal to all ages,” said Forest Preserve District Commissioner Jeff Gahris, District 4.

Forest Preserve District Chairman Dan Hebreard echoed his sentiments. “The Danada Fall Festival offers families a unique opportunity to celebrate horses and welcome fall in a beautiful natural setting,” he said.

Food and beverages from the event will be available for purchase from local food truck vendors including MotoChef (Lord of the FryZ), BoJo’s Concessions and Catering, and Windy City Ice Cream.

The fall festival in Danada takes place rain or shine. Admission and parking are free, but some activities are chargeable (cash and check only).

DuPage County’s Forest Preserve District has connected people to nature for over 100 years.

More than 6.2 million people visit its more than 60 forest reserves, 266 kilometers of trails, six educational centers and dozens of programs each year.

For more information, call (630) 933-7200 or visit dupageforest.orgwhere you can also access the district’s electronic newsletter, Blog, Facebook, Twitter, instagram and ICT Tac pages.