Volunteer Spotlight: Amy Ewaldt

Midnight Circus in the Parks, Community Meeting, 2018 Season

On Tuesday, May 15, Midnight Circus in the Parks officially kicked off the 2018 season with our community partners. Immediately afterwards, Amy Ewaldt, President of the Maplewood and Lucy Flower Park Advisory Council (MLFPAC), invited Midnight Circus Development Director, Julie Dickinson and Maria Stone, Community Relations Manager for the Chicago Park District, to take a walking tour of her community.

Maria Stone and Amy Ewaldt in front of Cortland Preschool

The walking tour started in front of Cortland Preschool founded by Amy in 2009. Cortland Preschool has a strong connection to the community and environment. The students cultivate the parkway next to the school from planting and maintaining to collecting seeds from those plants.

Here’s what the parkway looked like before Amy and her  small, but mighty   preschoolers dug in.

Here’s what the parkway looked like before Amy and her small, but mighty preschoolers dug in.

They have even expanded to help a neighbor. While showing the neighbor’s space, Amy noticed monarch caterpillars in the milkweed plants and was excited to be able to show the kids after the walk. Julie particularly loved the stick sculpture that invites kids and neighbors to participate and weave in sticks to an ever-changing piece of art and was inspired to start one in front of her house.

Amy has a way of inspiring those around her. Next stop was Lucy Flower Park a couple blocks away. Amy showed pictures of what the park had been before she and the community got involved in working with the park district to transform this small pocket park.  The result is a public space that neighbors flock to. The park was bustling with people in the sandbox, exploring the community garden space and climbing on the playground equipment. 

The next stop was Maplewood Park. Maplewood Park has one of the smallest functioning fieldhouses in the Chicago Park system. On their website, MLFPAC states that the fieldhouse, built in the 1950’s, is 600 square feet. Amy and the Advisory Council worked with the Chicago Park District to envision a new fieldhouse and were given the goal of raising $100,000 from the community to make this new field house a reality. Amy was excited to show that the banner hung on the Lucy Flower fence was out of date. They only have a little over $25,000 left to raise.

Being a partnering park for the Midnight Circus in the Parks tour is one way Amy plans to get to that $100,000. In the dozen years since Midnight Circus has existed, the Circus has helped community organizations raise close to $1,000,000 for park improvements and programming.

Want to help Maplewood realize their dream of a new fieldhouse? You can buy an ad in the circus program book seen by over 13,000 attendees. Be sure to specify the park when you check out. Come see the show at Holstein Park September 14-16. Concession sales will go to Maplewood, Holstein and Haas Parks that weekend.

If you can’t make it to Holstein Park, your tickets still help Maplewood get their new fieldhouse. Ticket sales are pooled and at the end of the season, partnering parks get a percentage of the combined tickets sales.

You can also buy a personalized brick to be incorporated into the new exterior hardscape at Maplewood, compete in MLFPAC's first-ever SPIKEBALL Tournament on September 29th or just donate directly.

Volunteers like Amy Ewaldt are why we here at Midnight Circus love what we do. Working with volunteers make the impact of our weekend of two-hour performances last well beyond when the iconic blue and purple tent comes down.  

Maplewood Park, Chalk, Chicago Parks