Special Events


Below is a list of our special events along with a brief description about each one. Please refer to the seasonal program guides for more information.


Craft Beer Tasting NEW in 2014! This is an adult-only event geared towards the craft beer lover. Event will feature several local breweries, live music, and beer-inspired food.

Ski/Snowboard Trip is an event for kids in grades 5-8.  They travel by bus to Alpine Valley Resort in East Troy, Wisconsin for a day of skiing or snowboarding. 

Just the Two of Us is an opportunity for girls ages 3 to 8 to spend time with their favorite male guest (must be 18 or older), dancing the night away. All girls will receive a goody bag and will create their own tasty sundae.

Hoppin' Holiday Hunt Children ages 8 and under get to take a picture with the Bunny and hunt for treats and prizes. The Park District supplies the baskets for the hunt. A continental breakfast is provided throughout the morning and a magic show is performed.


Our Loop the Lakes 5K Run/Walk is a community event around scenic Big Bear and Little Bear Lakes. The event is attended by both serious runners and leisure joggers, as well as families out for a Saturday morning stroll.
Click HERE for a link to the Loop the Lakes Course Map.

Recycle-o-Rama is our seasonal electronics and paper shredding event. The Park District partners with SWALCO, Vernon Hills Public Works, and Westfield Hawthorn to host this comminuty e-cycling event. Bring your old electronics (anything with a cord or battery) to our FREE collection event held at the Westfield Hawthorn Mall. Free on-site paper shredding is also available.

The Family Kite Fly is a free event held near the lake in Century Park.   Families are invited to join Park Disrict staff in supporting the Illinois Park & Recreation Association's "Flying 4 Kids" program which promotes the sale of Park District license plates that feature a kite design. For each license plate sold, a monetary donation is made to support After School programs offered throughout the state. 

Family Campout is held at the Family Aquatic Center. Famililies bring their own tents, sleeping bags and flashlights for an evening of swimming and overnight camping complete with a campfire, outdoor movie and a Sunday breakfast. Click HERE for 2014 Campout info

Movies in the Park are held at Deerpath Park, Warrington entrance, on the last Friday of the month during June, July and August. There is no admission fee, so grab a chair or blanket and head over to Deerpath Park. Light concessions are available for purchase.

Kids Fishing Day is held in Century Park near the lakes.  A local fishing club partners with the Park District and offers fishing demonstrations and instruction. The Park District provides fishing poles and bait.   Prizes are awarded for fun "fish categories" at the close of the event.

The Hole-in-One Challenge is hosted by the Park District during the Village of Vernon Hills Summer Celebration held at Century Park. A floating hole is placed on Big Bear Lake and golfers take a swing on land to make a hole-in-one. The first person to shoot a hole-in-one can choose from a variety of top-notch prizes such as golf clubs, rounds of golf, or even getaway golf packages! All golfers who land the ball on the green receive a T-shirt and are entered into a raffle for the remaining prizes.

Summer Splash is held at the Family Aquatic Center on a Friday evening in August. Highlights of the event include plastic duck races for prizes, carnival-style games, music and concessions. The event is open only to Vernon Hills residents.

Little Bear Ribfest is a two-day festival at Century Park featuring the area's best ribs, national headliners, and a whole lotta fun. Admisssion to the event is $5. Children 5 & under are admitted free. Visit www.littlebearribfest.com for more information.

Worldwide Day of Play is a free, family event which encourages families to play together outdoors. Staff is on hand to lead games and relays. Play equipment is available for families to begin other activities of their choice.


Trucks, Trunks, and Treats is a Halloween themed event. Local organizations' vehicles are parked at the Sullivan Center. Kids are encouraged to explore the vehicles and are also able to trick-or-treat at each vehicle.

Fall Fest is a frightfully fun event held around Halloween and features indoor trick-or-treating, a spooky panic room, entertainment, carnival games and concessions. More than 1,200 witches, animals, ghouls and goblins pass through the doors of the Sullivan Center each year for this gala event.

Pumpkin Launch Students from the Vernon Hills High School Science Department built a trebuchet. This is used for participants to launch their Halloween pumpkins from the Century Park sled hill. Prizes are available for kids and adults. This promises to be a smashing good time!

All aboard the Polar Express! This has quickly become one of our most popular events of the year. Participants board the train and head to the North Pole (aka Fox Lake). Along the way, we will read the story of the Polar Express, sing holiday carols and even Santa will make an appearance! This event sells out well in advance, so buy your tickets early. See Fall brochure for more info.

In addition, many village-organized events such as Summer Celebration, the Lion's Club Circus and July 4th and New Year's Eve Fireworks demonstrations take place on some of the scenic parklands around Vernon Hills.

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Current News and Highlights

2014 Special Events

Winter Fest
January 18
Century Park North

Just The Two of Us
February 7
Sullivan Center

Craft Beer Tasting
February 8
Sullivan Center

Ski/Snowboard Trip
February 28
Alpine Valley Resort

Hoppin' Holiday Hunt
April 12
Sullivan Center

Loop the Lakes 5K
April 26
Century Park

Family Kite Fly
April 26
Century Park

Kid's Fishing Day
June 7
Century Park
Boat Dock Shelter

Spring Edition

June 14
Hawthorn Mall
South lot near Macy's

Family Camp Out
June 22-23
Family Aquatic Center

Movies in the Park
June 27
July 25
August 29
Deerpath Park

Hole-in-One Challenge
July 17-20
Century Park
Summer Celebration

Summer Splash
August 1
Family Aquatic Center

Little Bear Rib Fest
August 22 & 23
Century Park

World Wide Day of Play
September 20
Century Park North

Trucks, Trunks & Treats
October 11
SCC parking lot

Fall Fest
October 24
Sullivan Center

Pumpkin Launch
Nov 1
Cent. Park Sled Hill

Polar Express
2014 Date TBD

Partnership opportunities are available for any of our special events. For more information about partnerships Click Here


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