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Area residents of all ages join annual Kendall County New Year’s Day event
Local nature enthusiasts of all ages braved the morning cold at the Hoover Forest Preserve in Yorkville on Tuesday, Jan. 1, to take part in the annual Kendall County New Year’s Day Hike.
Oswego resident Delano “Del” LaGow started the hike in 1967.
“There were three of us,” LaGow said of that first hike. The trio was comprised of LaGow and two friends, who went to a nearby path, hiked and then cooked up some hot dogs and hot chocolate.
He said the hike expanded to include local Boy Scout Troops and the public in the early 1990s.
“It’s great, to see all of the people show up today,” he said.
To participate in the hike, participants were asked to bring three cans of soup – one to go into a communal stew pot for all hikers to enjoy at the end of the day, and the rest to be donated to the Kendall County Community Food Pantry.
The amount of donations changes each year, depending on the number of participants in the hike, with an average of 70 to 80 cans over the past few years.
The current leader of the hike, Al Birdwell, who took over for LaGow after attending the hike for 10 years, said that the event alternates between Hoover and Lyon Forest Preserve east of Yorkville. The event provides hikers with different options, including guided nature hikes and more independent hikes.
“It’s local community, and there’s a lot of community turnout, and it just seems to serve Kendall County to start the year off right,” Birdwell said. “That’s been a great community service and use of my time. It’s beautiful, it’s a great thing to do.”