Glen Grove Community Project

September 2023: Stories of Tradition

The Spirit of Tradition

Right next door to Glenview, my hometown of Skokie has a tradition that many Skokie students enjoy and dread - the annual Backlot Bash. Oftentimes nicknamed the "Back to School Fair," our downtown summer street festival has been hosted every last weekend before Labor Day since 2007. The event has carnival rides, local food vendors, live music, and contributions from various organizations from the Skokie community.

I grew up going to the Backlot Bash with my family and then with friends and same-age cousins as I got older. Seeing the signs all over town about the Backlot Bash meant that summer was coming to a close and that I needed to go school supply shopping.

This year was the first year I got to play an active role in the Backlot Bash as an art vendor. As I was selling my Skokie postcards and resin wares, I got into discussions with people about the history of Skokie and about the random cutouts of Charlie Chaplin all over the fairgrounds. It surprised me that most people didn't know the reason for the celebrations and traditions surrounding the Backlot Bash.

Why did they even call it a "Backlot Bash?"

The Backlot Bash is named after Skokie's history as a backlot for movies. In the early 1900s, old Western movies were filmed along the streets near where the Skokie Theater now stands. Even in the 1980s, parts of Skokie were locations for films, including the movie Sixteen Candles (Niles North, where I graduated, was the set for some scenes in the movie). More recently, shows like Chicago Fire have filmed and even shopped for costumes in Skokie, continuing its long history of being part of the film and television industry.

The reason behind celebrations is just as important as the rituals and traditions that come along with them. Knowing the 'why' behind what we do gives even more meaning to how carry on our particular traditions. The meaning also increases the likelihood that these traditions will continue with the next generation.

I'm hoping that at a future Backlot Bash, someone will take note of a random Charlie Chaplin cutout and tell the story of Skokie that they heard from that one pink-haired vendor selling postcards. That way, the spirit of Skokie's summertime tradition continues on and is never forgotten.

Upcoming Holidays & Important Events

National Hispanic-Latino Heritage Month (9/15-10-10/15)

September 15 - October 15 celebrates contributions of Americans with Hispanic and Latino roots

September 15 to 17 - Rosh Hashanah

The Jewish new year, often symbolizing the casting off of bad things and taking in good and sweet things.

September 24 to 25 - Yom Kippur

One of the holiest days in the Jewish calendar. It is celebrated by fasting, prayer, and confession of sins.

September 28 to 30 - Chuseok

Also known as Hangawi, it is a harvest festival celebrating family and loved ones. Many people travel to their hometowns to pay their respects to the spirits of their ancestors.

September 29 to October 6 - Mid-Autumn Festival

The Mid-Autumn Festival is a harvest celebration where families reunite and appreciate the full moon. A famous legend regarding the Chinese moon goddess Chang’e’s legend is celebrated with offerings to her and her jade rabbit.

September 29 to October 6 - Sukkot

A week-long celebration that commemorates the journey the Jewish people took on their way to the Promised Land. Families eat and camp out in a Sukkah, a decorated tent, as well as recall ancestors.

October 5 - World Teachers' Day

A day to celebrate all educators and their impact in the lives of their students.

GGCP Meeting

Tuesday, Oct. 3rd, 3pm

3900 Glenview Road

Glenview, IL

The GGCP will be meeting at the Glen Grove Staff Lounge to make plans regarding the upcoming event, Remembering Loved Ones.

GGCP Meeting w/ Spanish BPAC

Thursday, Oct. 12th, 7pm

This is an online event.

We will have a Zoom meeting to discuss the upcoming event, Remembering Loved Ones. If you would like to attend this meeting, please contact a GGCP member.

Mark your calendars for...

Big picture
We will have craft stations surrounding traditions of Remembering Loved Ones as well as information from various community organizations such as Willow House, Glenview Youth Services, and the Glenview Public Library.

Community Blurb #2: Grandparents' Day

Grandparents Day was on September 10. Some Gators shared what they love most about their grandparents(s). Click here to watch the video!

Family Cooking Night: Mooncakes for Mid-Autumn Festival

Mooncakes are symbolic of the Mid-Autumn Festival. Their round shape symbolizes completeness and unity, as it is an important time for families to reunite and spend time together.

Watch the video and learn the story of Jasmine's family and their celebration of the Mid-Autumn Festival.

How To Make Mooncakes * Tasty

Guiding Question of the Month

Think of a tradition you have in your family. What is the story behind it?
Books on Holidays & Traditions on Destiny Discover

Mrs. Funke, the Glen Grove LRC Director, compiled a collection of books related to the various celebrations featured in the Community Project

Have questions? Send us an email!

Committee Members

  • Katherine Ellison, Glen Grove Principal
  • Aurora Joaquin, Glen Grove Speech-Language Pathologist
  • Katelyn Kelleher, Glen Grove Psychologist
  • Hedy Helfand, Glen Grove English Langauge Learning Teacher
  • Pam Leister, Glen Grove English Langauge Learning Teacher
  • Lisa Funke, Glen Grove Learning Resource Center Director
  • Marie Chang-Pisano, Glen Grove Reading Intervention Associate
  • Sylvia Gorski Duarte, District Title III Family Resource Teacher
  • Lindsey Lurie, District Multilingual Instructional Coach

Land Acknowledgement

(Published 11/15/2022)

The Glen Grove Community Project acknowledges that the land on which their community, Glenview District 34, lives and works today is in the original homelands of the Peoria, Bodwéwadmi (Potawatomi), Myaamia, Očhéthi Šakówiŋ, Hoocąk (Ho-Chunk), and Kiikaapoi (Kickapoo) People and pay respects to the elders and communities of past and present.

In conjunction with this land acknowledgment, we want to provide resources to learn more about the original peoples and communities of the land.