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Swedish Days' charm draws festival-goers

GENEVA –  Hot dogs were sizzling on the grill, funnel cakes were boiling in hot fat and the carnival rides were shrieking by on Saturday, second to the last of the six-day Swedish Days Festival in Geneva.

Jackie Reller of Batavia with her son Matthew, 3, in a stroller were deciding their next move: food, shopping, music or carnival.

"It's a family day," Reller said. "It's always good to come down here. The kids have fun, the grown-ups get to do things, too, it's nice. The food is always excellent"

As the 64th annual event is hosted by the Geneva Chamber of Commerce and includes activities, entertainment, food and several events.

Though weather predictions were for 90 degree heat and rain, it was humid, but temperatures hovered in the mid-70s with light breezes, so crowds were not discouraged from all the festival's offerings.

Joyce and Richard Escalante of St. Charles both enjoyed a Swedish plate lunch from the Geneva United Methodist Church, featuring sausage, a meatball, cucumber pickle salad and a cookie.

"I like all the different things there are to do and the sense of community," Joyce Escalante said.

"It's a real festive atmosphere," Richard Escalante said. "The food is good and we're looking forward to seeing the rest of the activities."

Matt Dean of St. Charles, his year-old son Henry and Wheaton terrier Watson were all having a good time.

"I like the crowds and I like all the vendors who are out here," Dean said. "There's a lot of different people and a lot of different things going on. It's been pretty good weather for the most part. I've come to Swedish Days the last seven years, ever since we moved out here."

Among the charities that have booths at Swedish Days was Homes for Endangered and Lost Pets, selling lemon shake-ups and other items, such as T-shirts, cook books and cat toys to support pet adoption.

"The magnets are the biggest seller," said volunteer Carrie Erdman, as various car magnets declared support for adopted and rescued pets. "And catnip balls, people seem to like. The kids come by and play with the cat toys – they're colorful and they make noise."

Sharon Reed of Geneva stopped to buy another car magnet, "Rescued is my favorite breed" in the shape of a dog bone. Reed said she lost her other magnet in a car wash and needed to replace it.

"I have two rescues," Reed said. "I have a miniature pinscher and miniature wire-haired dashund, Jax and Jillie. I got them from two other rescues, but this is always the one that's at Swedish Days, so I always stop in here because I'm a firm believer in rescuing."

Phyllis Jacobs of Bartlett and her three daughters – Carolyn Damrow, also of Bartlett, Susan Piper of Roselle and Synthia Sander of Schaumburg – were making a day of of shopping and food.

"We like everything about Swedish days – especially the food," Jacobs said.  "We went to the Little Traveler. And we had snacks inside and we shopped for clothing and the girls bought some pretty things."

The festival concludes on Sunday with a parade at 1 p.m., carnival and other attractions. A full schedule of events and map of food offerings is available online at


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