A Day In Our Village: Celebrating diversity, community and Iris Lozeau

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What a gal: Oak Park's A Day in Our Village is dedicated to Iris Lozeau (right), who had been a part of the festival since its inception. | PHOTO COURTESY OF MICHAEL D. STEWART

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This is the first time in the A Day in Our Village festival’s 40-year history that Iris Lozeau won’t be a part of it.

According to Ellen Plourde, the activity chair of the festival, which is held annually on the first Sunday in June at Oak Park’s Scoville Park, said Lozeau died around Thanksgiving and this year’s festival, to be held June 2, is dedicated to her.

“She had been involved in some capacity since the first,” Plourde said. “She just always came back and kept volunteering. She was always at the first info booth.”

Plourde called Lozeau “super-sassy, but in all the right ways” and said she was a walking time capsule of the A Day in Our Village festival.

“She had pictures, posters and shirts of every single day,” Plourde said. “If there was ever anything we gave away, she had it.”

Cedric Melton, Oak Park’s director of community relations, said that the festival will mark its 40th anniversary, but he would not reveal what the celebration would entail.

“This is a big year for us,” he said. “We’re planning on doing some things that are a surprise for people.”

Plourde and Melton both said the festival is the perfect event for people who are either new to Oak Park or are thinking about moving to Oak Park because it allows them to see everything the city has to offer in one place.

According to Oak Park’s website, all sorts of groups and organizations — civic, cultural, social service, business, educational and religious — will be represented at the festival.

“It’s really a day for current and prospective residents,” Melton said. “It’s a fun-filled day, but it’s also an informational day.”

Plourde agreed and said that as of May 21, the event had 160 applications for booths. Several vendors, she said, have not appeared at the festival before, including the Blue Star Banner Family Platoon, a support group for military families, and Hulafrog, which is an online community to help parents find local activities for kids.

“It’s like a one stop shop for so many things,” Plourde said. “It’s the perfect new resident event.”