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Armstrong: Fall projects keep tourism thriving

On Sept. 8, DeKalb County will welcome visitors and community members to the DeKalb Kite Fest for the eighth consecutive year.

The DeKalb County Convention and Visitors Bureau hosts the event led by Chairman Doug Nelson. He has chaired Kite Fest since 2008 and has helped turn the event into one of the most anticipated festivals in DeKalb County.

Community support, Northern Illinois University volunteers and our sponsors allow us to continue this event. Volunteers are still needed for two-hour shifts between 9:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. To volunteer, email

Kite Fest will take place on the NIU campus on the open field known as the “North 40” at the corner of Lucinda Avenue and Kishwaukee Drive. Hours are from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Kites, food and ice cream treats will be available for sale.

Local nonprofits will provide activities for children, including kite-making and a kid candy drop. Admission is free. VIP parking is available for $3 a car. For more details, visit or search DeKalbKiteFest on Facebook.

Kite Fest is just one of the many fun fall events to enjoy in DeKalb County. For a complete list of festivals and events, visit

Volunteers needed

In fewer than 100 days DeKalb County will host the 2013 IHSA State Football Championships on Nov. 29 and 30.

The IHSA Destination DeKalb Committee, chaired by Tom Matya, and the DCCVB are busy planning to welcome the anticipated 32,000 visitors to our community hospitality area, which has been named Spirit Zone.

It will consist of the main community hospitality tent and eight other team tents that will be provided for the fans of the teams playing each day in the finals. There also will be a performance area for the bands and cheer groups to help pump up the fans before the games.

Fans will compete in a Spirit Zone tent decorating contest with plaques awarded to the winning team’s fans by our community judges.

We need more volunteers to help with both the game day operations and the hospitality tent.

All DeKalb County residents can get involved to ensure that we host a first-class experience for the IHSA, coaches, teams and fans who will visit Huskie Stadium. Volunteers will be treated to a complimentary ticket to a Huskie football game when they report for training Oct. 26. Additional training may be provided at two other NIU home football games to help accommodate all volunteers’ schedules. All the details regarding volunteering and training are provided at

Sixteen teams will compete. Eight teams play each day with the games scheduled to kick off at 10 a.m. and 2, 4 and 7 p.m. on both Nov. 29 and 30. It will definitely be the place to be Thanksgiving weekend.

This event will likely generate between $800,000 and $1 million for the local economy. That is a big economic boost and demonstrates the importance of hosting a successful event and experience for our visitors from across the state.

• Debbie Armstrong is executive director of the DeKalb County Convention and Visitors Bureau.

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