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Chicagoans Enjoy Some Unique Activities in Grant Park

English: Fountain and garden in Grant Park Chicago
English: Fountain and garden in Grant Park Chicago (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Looking for something to do in downtown on a Saturday? Some Chicagoans spent their day enjoying some unique activities in Chicago’s own “front yard,” also known as Grant Park and commented on their activities.

Jeffrey Strening said he spends every Saturday practicing parkour at Grant Park. An Oak Park resident, Strening, 25, said he joins friends at the park to practice their moves and stay in shape.

“I’m just out here practicing my skill sets — just trying to get better,” said Strening.

Strening was one of many area residents enjoying the mild, 59 degree weather and grassy open areas of Grant Park  that Saturday. 

Strening, who has been practicing parkour with his friends in the community for over a year, said he is not training for a competition, but he said he does parkour for his own pleasure.

“I practice all four seasons,” Strening said. “Whatever is going on, you always find a way to train whether it’s just working out or trying to learn a new movement.”

Parkour is the physical discipline of training that overcomes any obstacle within one’s path by adapting one’s movements to the environment, according to American Parkour, an organization that provides resources and training for people interested in parkour.

Strening began doing parkour when he was 20-years-old, and one of his friends encouraged him to start. He said he has met a lot of “cool” people to train with, which he says was a plus for him.

“I always felt like this was something I was meant to do,” he said.” I always had it in my bones, but I never had a community to train with.”

photo 3coyGrant Park features multiple metallic and gold sculptures doing different body movements. Grant Park is best known for Millennium Park, the Art Institute of Chicago and the Museum Campus.

A new Grant Park public art installation “Borders” features life-sized sculptures–some of which could be mistaken for the tin man from the Wizard of Oz. There are 26 of these ungainly forms by Icelandic artist Steinunn Thórarinsdóttir cast in aluminum and cast iron.

And one South Shore resident spent her day enjoying the sculptures and Grant Park’s Buckingham Fountain.

Suwanda Hayes said she usually spends her Saturdays in the park when the weather is warm. She said it’s more exciting when the water is on.

“The park just seems more alive when the fountain is on,” she said. “It attracts more people to the park. People want to come out and enjoy the area.”

And nearby, a Segway tour was about to begin.

Brian O’Reilly, a North Side resident, was participating in a Segway tour for the first time ever. Originally from New York, he has been living in Chicago for about 25 years and said he was very eager to finally try the tour for the first time.

One of O’Reilly’s colleagues organized the tour for him, he said.

“Standing on it and operating it feels comfortable already,” said O’Reilly.

The tour started in Grant Park, and it takes the participants to the lakefront.

“The weather is beautiful. I couldn’t ask for a better day for Segway,” he said.

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