Red Alert: The only thing hotter than the 90-degree temperatures on June 10 and 11 in Highwood were maybe the redheads braving full sun.
The third annual Redhead Days Chicago Affiliate attracted more than 2,000 people over the weekend, including redheads, to what has become a tradition at Everts Park (111 North Ave.).
So why is it so cool to be a redhead?
“I gotta ask a redhead because they’re different and they stand out in a crowd,” said Ilyse Strongin of Highland Park, event promoter.
“That’s a good question, we really have to ask Jim.”
Jim would be Jim Stoecker of Highwood, founder of the local North Shore and greater Chicago event.
“I don’t know that it’s cool to be a redhead but I am, I have no choice,” Stoecker said.
Stoecker wandered into a Redhead Days festival in Holland five years ago.
“It helped me feel different about myself being with thousands of redheads so I just decided to do it here to share the same feelings that I enjoyed,” he said.
Redhead Days as a festival started in 2005 in Breda, Holland. The event, which takes place in early September has participants from more than 50 countries.
Stoecker said prior to his first Redhead Days festival experience, “I didn’t have any redhead friends, I always kind of felt like I was on the outside looking in.
“I got teased, I got bullied when I was a kid and so it’s nice to be with people who are like me since we’re only like 1, 2 percent of the population,” Stoecker said.
Jacob Murphy, 11, of Denver, Ind. played Frisbee with his mother.
“Well, there are a lot of upsides to being a redhead — one, you have naturally dyed hair and it won’t wash out,” Jacob said.
“But there’s a downside, you always burn when it’s so sunny out.”
Erin La Rosa of Los Angeles is looking forward to the release of her book “Inside the Secret Society of Red Hair: The Big Redhead Book.”
“Being a redhead means you are incredibly unique and that you just stand out in a crowd,” La Rosa said.
“And it means you’ve got a gift that no one else has.”
For Kim Brown of the Kansas City area who was there on Saturday (her second year here), redheads have a common bond.
“We’re unique, different, there’s not many of us,” Brown said. “It’s a lot of fun.”
— More than 2,000 redheads attend third annual Redhead Days —