Police Officers Strategically Stationed Around Dick Van Dyke Events For Safety
DANVILLE, Ill. (WCCU) —
After twelve long years away from home, legendary actor and singer Dick Van Dyke is coming back to his hometown of Danville.
The city has been preparing for his arrival for many weeks.
The city is full of excitement for Dick Van Dyke's visit back home.
Mayor Scott Eisenhauer said dozens of city employees and city officials have been working hard for many weeks to make these next two days perfect for the star, and also for the community.
Preparations were still in full throttle Wednesday evening as the city counted down the hours until Dick Van Dyke's visit.
Mayor Scott Eisenhauer said all police officers have been strategically stationed at certain places around each Van Dyke event. He said the increased security will ensure the Hollywood stars' safety and the safety of the community.
"It's one of those bitter sweet moments, we are so excited for it finally being here, but then we also know, in just a few short days it will all be over," Mayor Eisenhauer said. "All of the plans and all of the work we put into it I think will really come to fruition and will pay off here in the next couple of days."
Three Van Dyke events will occur at Danville High School.
Jennifer Woodrow, a Danville High School Coordinator, said the past three weeks have been hectic, pulling together songs and choreography, as well as setting up where each volunteer and young student will be during Van Dyke's arrival.
"I can tell you it's a labor of love," Woodrow said, "to be able to do something like this for our kids, and for Mr. Van Dyke who thinks so much of Danville. It has been hard work, no lie, but it's all worth it."
Woodrow, who is also the Choir Director for the 'Welcome Home Concert' on Friday, said the middle school kids and high schoolers have shown great enthusiasm and passion for the upcoming show.
"They're so excited. They come to rehearsal and they work hard. It's fantastic, it's a great thing for them to do," she said. "We tell them it's once in a lifetime. We know he was here before, but they weren't in school at that time, so it's once in a lifetime."
Mayor Eisenhauer said he hopes Van Dyke will be able to accomplish what he came here to do: raise scholarship funds for youths pursuing a career in entertainment, restore his childhood home, and enjoy his stay in his hometown.
"I think when you put the mission of the foundation out front, and recognize that he personally is coming to help launch that foundation," Mayor Eisenhauer said. "I think means not only a great deal to the citizens of this community to this day and this week, but for many, many years to come."
Community volunteers have also cleaned up Dick Van Dyke's childhood home last weekend in preparation.
Mayor Eisenhauer said he is just hoping for some good weather.
Starting Thursday morning, Van Dyke will pull into the city in his Chitty Chitty Bang Bang car and hold a press conference at the Danville High School.
Friday, the car will be on display at the Public Library from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and then at Danville High School from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.
That night he will attend the Welcome Home Concert at DHS, followed by a Private Reception at the Harrison Clubhouse at 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, Dick Van Dyke will leave town en route to Chicago to perform in several shows to raise money for his foundation.