The Riverwalk Amphitheater, located at Eagle Street along Jackson Avenue, was established in 1981, just steps from Nichols Library and charming downtown Naperville. During that sesquicentennial year, the community came together to celebrate the city’s first 150 years. “Nifty 150” became an often-used phrase to describe the party atmosphere when Naperville’s population was roughly 43,000 and the Riverwalk was supported to commemorate the occasion.
Then in the late 1990s with a reported 129,000 residents, Naperville, just as the rest of the world, was focused on the year 2000, Y2K. Spearheaded by Mayor George Pradel, Councilwoman Mary Ellingson and resident Tom Miers, Celebration 2000 was designed to represent another way to give residents opportunities to plan events and commemorative gifts. By then, the Riverwalk had developed from Main Street to Jefferson Avenue to be recognized with much pride and joy as the city’s “crown jewel.” The winding brick path in the heart of the city seemed to be the natural place to celebrate outdoor life and community this time, too. A Millennium Labyrinth and Millennium Wall were planned to enhance the Riverwalk Amphitheater.
The large plaque at the Millennium Wall states, “This wall stands proud and strong for the thousands of people who lived in Naperville at the turn of the third millennium. It represents Naperville citizens working and planning together united in a spirit of respect and honor for their shared lives in the community. The Millennium Wall’s stately tribute expresses thanks and appreciation to the individuals and businesses who contributed to Celebration 2000, a citywide celebration held to welcome the third millennium. Dedicated January 1, 2000.”
In addition, “The Labyrinth is a universally recognized ancient symbol of the unity of Life’s journey shared by all people. We invite you to join in the continuity of life be walking in the footsteps of past and future generations. A gift to the people of Naperville of today and tomorrow. Dedicated September 3, 1998.”
And did you know? Every time you walk the entire path of the labyrinth at the Riverwalk Amphitheater, you will have walked 350 feet, the distance of a football field. Take a walk in 2019!
Then venture over to the mix of shopping and dining throughout the central business district.