By Dee Longfellow

Important dates are coming up to lead into the Thanksgiving morning Elmhurst tradition that is the 39th annual Dan Gibbons Turkey Trot.

On Thursday, Nov. 24, almost 4,000 are set to descend onto the streets of downtown Elmhurst, beginning at Park Ave. and Cottage Hill, to step off sharply at 9 a.m.

“As of Friday, Nov. 11 at 12 midnight, we have registrants from 36 states, the District of Columbia, and one from Bavaria, Germany,” Gibbons said. “We have 3,119 registered online. We’re expecting between 7,000 – 8,000 runners and walkers. And don’t miss out on this year’s shirt, it’s a classic!”

Island is honorary starter

This year’s Honorary Starter will be Jack Island, former owner of Silverado Grill which recently closed and soon faces the wrecking ball. For 37 years, Island hosted breakfast for all the volunteers back at Silverado, serving about 350 meals each year.

The Men of Spirito! and its Bravura Ensemble will perform prior to the race and the National Anthem will be performed by the one-and-only Jim Cornelison, sponsored by Hervas, Condon & Bersani, P.C.

As is traditional, as Cornelison sings, the Lima Lima Flight Team will fly overhead, weather permitting. Always a breath-taking moment.

The mission of the Dan Gibbons Turkey Trot Foundation is to be a major contributor in the eradication of hunger and to promote long-term sustainability in DuPage County. Some of the food pantries who benefit include United Community Concerns Association, the People’s Resource Center, the Elmhurst Walk-In Assistance Network (EWAN), the Immaculate Conception food pantry and several others.

It’s not too late to register online at, but online registration ends at 5 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 20.

Registration packets and in-person registration takes place at the Knights of Columbus, 537 So. York St., on Saturday, Nov. 19 and Sunday, Nov. 20 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. both days.

Race-day in-person registration and packet pick-up will be held from 7 to 8:30 a.m. at the Elmhurst University gym inside Fanagel Hall at 221 Walter St. on the campus of the University.  The fee that day is $40 plus a service fee, so it’s best to sign up in advance.

The best part of sign-up is receiving an official tee-shirt and this year, Oglethorpe will be in rare style, making the shirt a collector’s item you’ll want for years to come.

Take the trolley!

It’s always a good idea bring your car and deal with the crowds close to the race, it’s better to park in a lot and take advantage of the free trolleys. The trolleys will run from 7 – 11:30 a.m. for pick-up and drop-off. From the west, park at York High School, 355 W. St. Charles Road. From the south, the trolley picks up at US Bank at 536 So. York (near Vallette). There will also be two pick-up and drop-off locations on Spring Road as well. Across from Spring Inn and at Jack’s Silverado Grill.

You will be dropped off at the Elmhurst University main parking lot across the street from the Elmhurst University gym, where you can still register and pick-up packets, and you’ll be just two blocks from the starting line.

This year’s sponsors include Jel Sert, the Platinum sponsor; Premier sponsors Edward-Elmhurst Healthcare and Kelly Stetler Compass; Gold sponsors include John Noldan at Guaranteed Rate, the Schiller Team @properties, Johnson Wilbur Adams, Inc. Structural Engineering, and Love, Tito’s; and Bronze sponsors, Duly Health & Care and LW Reedy Real Estate. In addition, there are almost 50 Patriot Sponsors too numerous the mention.

Come out and join your friends and neighbors (many in delightful and fanciful costumes) before you sit down to that big Thanksgiving turkey dinner on Thursday, Nov. 24.

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