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How Swede it is – 65th Swedish Days festival begins today

GENEVA – The weeklong 65th annual Swedish Days festival opens at 10 a.m. today, with events, food, music and children's activities until 11 p.m.

But Geneva Chamber of Commerce spokeswoman Laura Rush will be the earliest early bird, doing interviews live from 5 to 7 a.m. on Third Street with ABC-Channel 7 anchors right from the heart of the festival – on Third Street between James and Campbell streets.

"We'd like to get hundreds of people to come on down," Rush said. "They will be on Third Street and the camera will be on me, and I will be talking to the anchors. It will be a nice way to kick off our 65th year."

The festival, which winds up with a parade Sunday, usually draws more than 200,000 people over the six days that it takes place. The chamber sponsors the event in cooperation with the city of Geneva and sponsors.

"We have something new this year, Fair On The Square, from 4 to 6 p.m., two hours of entertainment for the kids," Rush said. "There will be a couple of performers onstage, a face-painter, balloon-making and a stilt-walker. We'll still have Kids' Day, but we wanted the kids to kick off the 65th Swedish Days."

Events begin at 10 a.m. today, with the Creation Station at James and Third streets for children; exhibits at the Geneva History Museum, located at 113. S. Third St.; free concerts on the lawn from 1 to 3 p.m.; and the carnival and quad power jump starting at 2 p.m.

Colonial Café and Ice Cream is sponsoring an ice cream-eating contest from 6 to 7 p.m. on the main stage before the evening's musical entertainment begins at 7:30 p.m., featuring The Crown Vics with 1950s music, Rush said.

Also new this year, Rush said the chamber will sponsor a craft beer event from noon to 10 p.m. Thursday – called Craft Brew@402 – at South Fourth Street and James. Rush said featured craft brewers will be Penrose from Geneva, Two Brothers from Warrenville and Solemn Oath Brewery from Naperville. 

A new food booth was added this year, she said, in addition to the traditional fare offered by local non-profits.

Faith Christian Academy will be at 220 S. Third St., offering turkey and gouda with mango chutney on a pretzel roll, among other items, according to the food vendors' menus and schedule of events online at

Though warm temperatures and scattered showers are predicted during the week, Rush said those who come to the festival know what to expect.

"Heat's OK," Rush said. "People will come in the heat. It's in June; people expect the heat. June be warm. By the time the sun goes down, it's pleasant out – it's nice for entertainment in the evening. We hope people come early and stay late."

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