Wednesday, May 14, 2014

'Free Things' Comes to an End as Magazine Grows

AURORA - The best things in life are free, right? Like Downtown Auroran Magazine. We're excited to announce that the magazine is growing and it's still free!

In 2015, Downtown Auroran Magazine will return from a tri-annual to a quarterly magazine with more pages and more arts, culture and features.

Along with the growth of the magazine, we will no longer be able to maintain off-shoot projects like Free Things To Do in Aurora, IL. We thank you for your loyalty in searching out fun and free things to do in our community, and we invite you to stay up-to-date with all things Aurora and beyond by picking up a free issue of Downtown Auroran Magazine and visiting us online via our website HERE and on Facebook HERE.

Thank you! And keep it local!

Take our Best of Aurora survey HERE.

Monday, April 21, 2014

El Dia de los Ninos, Aurora, IL - April 26, 2014

The City of Aurora Hispanic Heritage Advisory Board (AHHAB), in partnership with East Aurora School District 131 and West Aurora School District 129, will host its annual “El Dia de los Niños” event from 1 to 5 p.m., Saturday, April 26, at the Aurora Transportation Center parking lot, Spring Street and Lincoln Avenue in downtown Aurora.
The traditional Latin American event recognizes children by paying homage to their importance in society and endorsing their well-being. This year’s theme is “Books and Libros”. Both school districts are giving away more than 5,000 books to children who visit literacy stations staffed by volunteer teachers. The event is free and food will be available for purchase.
Event activities will include stage performances by the Greenman and Hill Elementary, and the District 131 Kindergarten Choirs; East Aurora High School’s NJROTC, and dance performances and instruction by Simply Destinee. Also, coming from Guanajuato, Mexico, the theatre group Cornisa 20 will perform an interactive play entitled “Un Cambio de Piel” or “A Change of Skin.” Other organizations providing free children’s activities include the Girl Scouts of Northern Illinois, Fox Valley Orchestra, Aurora Public Library, Family Focus, the Fox Valley Park District and Faith Tabernacle Church.
The event is sponsored by the Granoff Family Foundation, Aurora Housing Authority, Kiwanis Club of Aurora, Reembolsos Latinos, Advanced Accounting Ltd., Hollywood Casino, Old Second Bank, Country Financial, and Rasmussen College. Several food vendors will be in attendance including Señor Taco.
Founded in 2002, the City of Aurora Hispanic Heritage Advisory Board’s mission is to embrace, preserve and promote the heritage and contributions of Hispanics.  In addition to supporting other citywide activities, the AHHAB hosts three significant annual events: the AHHAB Community (Awards & Scholarship) Breakfast, El Día de los Niños and the Parade of Nations during Fiestas Patrias.

For more information on the El Dia de los Niños, visit, Facebook, or contact Hector Ochoa at (630) 962-9813 or by email Proceeds raised from this event are used to fund student scholarships awarded by the AHHAB Board.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Aurora Celebrates Earth Hour on March 29

Aurora EarthNite 2014 will be held on March 29, from 6 to 9 pm at Culture Stock Bookstore, 43 E. Galena Blvd, Aurora IL. This free family event will feature storytelling, music, a live art performance and children's activities.  At 7 pm, join millions of people around the world who are gathering to celebrate one hour of darkness - Earth Hour.  This event is intended to raise ecological awareness and inspire our community's transition to renewable, clean energy sources. Aurora GreenLightswho brings you the Aurora GreenFest, has designed this people-powered evening to explore many ways to unplug from the grid and connect with family and friends.  Activities will include:
  • Build a 'Sky-Clock' to learn about planets and stars
  • Practice yoga with 'Earth Salutations'
  • Dance to the beat at our Drum Circle
  • Make 'Seed Bonbons' to plant in the garden
  • Relax with a massage at the 'EarthNite Spa'
  • Chance to win free door prizes from local businesses
Guests and families are invited to bring friends, a flashlight, an instrument, a yoga mat and wear comfortable clothes to participate in the evening events.  Activities will begin promptly at 6 pm. Like-minded community partners are joining forces with Aurora GreenLights to celebrate EarthNite 2014.  Karen Kulzer of the Fox River Academy of Music & Arts will lead children's activities, Rebekah Axtell of Creekwalker Creative will teach songs and Zack Darce of The Heavy Machine will lead the drum circle. Maureen Gasek of Lilly Studios will share a colorful live art performance. Door prize award winners will be announced at 8 pm.  Peter and Maria Skokan of Aroma Roots Natural Soaps and Jennifer Rauch with Tim Frederick of If These Walls Could Talk Custom Framing & Art Gallery are donating door prizes together with other Fox Valley green business entrepreneurs. Local farmer Joshua Schultz will teach children about the nutrients and conditions needed for sprouting seeds this spring.  Schultz Family Farms is partnering with Griswold's Feed & Seed to provide flower and vegetable seeds for Food Not Lawns seed starting activity. At the EarthNite Spa, guests may join Annie Craig of Annie's Om Towne Fitness for relaxing yoga sessions and Kristi Kobleur (LMT) will share Thai bodywork and massage. Guests are invited to rest in the "gravity chair" where Cathy India of The Skin You're In will provide complimentary facial acupressure and aromatherapy.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Holiday Fun in Aurora and beyond! Santa and more in Aurora, IL, Montgomery & more!

In Aurora:
Downtown Aurora is ready to kick off the holiday season with the second annual Winter Lights event to be held from 5 to 7:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 22.
 The free, family-friendly event will feature art, music, lights, refreshments and the lighting of the City’s official holiday tree. The festivities will take place on Downer Place, Stolp Avenue and Galena Boulevard in the downtown. Patrons are invited to shop along Downer Place and Stolp Avenue where several businesses will be extending their hours including the David L. Pierce Art and History Center, 20 E. Downer; River’s Edge Café and Fox Valley Home Brew, 14 W. Downer; Vara Designs 15 W. Downer; and If These Walls Could Talk, 32 S. Stolp. Nearly a dozen well-known local and regional vendors will be participating with holiday treats and treasures on display for purchase.  Among the activities planned for the evening is ice sculptor Joe Gagnepain creating a spectacular winter ice sculpture outside the Art and History Center and John Ivan providing holiday carols while families stroll through the festive streets decorated for the holidays. At Millennium Plaza, on Stolp between Downer and Galena, free holiday classic movies will be shown continuously in the Gazebo from 5-7:30 p.m., accompanied by favorite holiday characters.  Patrons are encouraged to dress for the weather and bring a blanket. Popcorn and hot chocolate will be available for purchase from nearby vendors. The Fox Valley Festival Chorus, which appeared at Carnegie Hall last spring, will perform on the steps of the North Island Center, 8 E. Galena, at 5:30 p.m. Following the choir performance, the City of Aurora’s official holiday tree will be lit for the first time at 6 p.m.  Santa and Mrs. Claus, along with the Miss Merry Christmas and Mr. Jack Frost winners, will be on hand to help Mayor Tom Weisner light the tree. Parents are encouraged to bring their cameras as Santa will be available for photos on the steps of the GAR museum, 23 E. Downer, near the Victorian Christmas Tree immediately following the tree lighting. The Aurora 88's reindeer on roller skates will guide patrons from the tree lighting, along the Paramount Promenade, to the museum. Local businesses are encouraged to take part and decorate for the Winter Lights event, and a trophy will be awarded for the best decorated store front.  Business owners can pick up an application at the City’s Special Events Division, 5 E. Downer, Suite A.  Applications can be returned via email at or by fax at 630-256-3379 Decorations must be completed and displayed by Nov. 20.  Judging will take place on Nov. 21 and the winner will be announced during the holiday tree lighting ceremony. Holiday Lights is sponsored by the City of Aurora in conjunction with Cultural Creatives, Inc., the Aurora Public Art Commission, River's Edge Cafe, The Paramount Theatre, Temple Display and the Aurora Rotary Club. For information call 630-256-INFO (4636).

In Aurora:

One of the largest free outdoor holiday light displays in Northern Illinois, Aurora’s Festival of Lights, returns for its seventh year in 2013 with even more dazzling displays that will delight both adults and children.

Presented in partnership between the Rotary Club of Aurora and the City, this signature winter event is a drive-through of more than one mile of spectacular lighted displays, many of which are animated, and are illuminated by tens of thousands of bulbs. It is staged at Phillips Park, 1000 Ray Moses Drive in Aurora, and will be open from 5 to 9 p.m. Sunday to Thursday and 5 to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday starting Nov. 29 through Dec. 26.

Five new displays and 50 new lighted holiday trees have been added to this year’s festival.  Patrons will enjoy Santa’s Toy Factory, Old Man Winter, elves and reindeer, holiday trains, gigantic snowflakes and other seasonal favorites.  The new trees are courtesy of students in the Lake Land College vocational welding class at the Sheridan Correctional Center. All of the displays utilize LED bulbs that use 86 percent less energy than traditional light bulbs. 

Last year’s festival set a record when almost 21,200 cars visited the four-week event.  The festival is free, but the Rotary Club does accept donations that benefit local charities.

In Montgomery:
Montgomery’s annual Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony will take place on Sunday, December 8th at 5:00 p.m. in front of the Village Hall at 200 N. River Street in Montgomery.  This is a free event for the entire community and is hosted jointly by the Village of Montgomery and the Greater Montgomery Area Chamber of Commerce (GMACC).
The event will kick off as students from local grade schools decorate the Village Christmas tree with handmade ornaments, followed by the arrival of Santa and Mrs. Claus in fire trucks with sirens blaring.  After the lighting of the Christmas tree, children can pose for photos with Santa inside the Village Hall while everyone enjoys musical numbers performed by the students outside on the Park District’s Sound Stage.  Free hot cocoa and cookies will be provided throughout the evening by the GMACC.  Be sure to dress for the weather and bring your camera!
The Village Hall will once again host a Festival of Trees that will turn all three levels of the Village Hall into a winter wonderland.  Area businesses are participating by decorating Christmas trees for everyone to enjoy.  Visitors of all ages are invited to vote for their favorite tree.  Some of the businesses will even be sponsoring fun raffles and prizes that evening.  In addition, the Festival of Trees will continue for three weeks, so if you are unable to attend the December 8th event, you can still stop by to view the beautiful trees and vote for your favorite during business hours until December 31st.
In addition to on-street parking, two public parking lots are available behind the Village Hall along Main Street. Don’t miss this once a year, heart-warming, community gathering!
If you are a business interested in putting up a tree or if you know of a youth group that might be interested in performing, please call Debbie Buchanan at 630-896-8080 ext. 1114.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Aurora responds to Hurricane Manuel in Mexico

Aurora is responding to a global call for assistance to Mexico in the wake of the devastating destruction caused by twin storms, Hurricanes Manuel and Ingrid. The hurricanes unleashed torrential rain that led to floods and mudslides. More than 1 million people have been affected across the country, more than 50,000 have been evacuated from their homes, and roughly 100 deaths have been confirmed.   Those affected, particularly in the state of Guerrero, have direct family ties to Aurora.

“For days following the disaster, I received calls asking how our residents could help,” said 2nd Ward Alderman Juany Garza who has assembled a team to assist with local efforts. “There were efforts happening in Chicago, but none here locally.”

Alderman Garza and her Ward 2 Committee are collaborating with the City of Aurora Mayor’s Office and Community Services Department, Boy Scouts Three Fires Council, and Family Focus of Aurora to assist the hurricane victims by collecting items to ship to Mexico.

Donations will be accepted between the hours of 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Mondays-Fridays from October 7 – October 18 at Family Focus of Aurora, 550 E. Second St., Aurora 60505.

In addition, items can also be delivered to 64 S. LaSalle Street during the following days and times:
  • Friday, October 11                  9:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
  • Saturday, October 12              9:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
  • Friday, October 18                  9:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
  • Saturday, October 19              9:00 a.m.  – 1:00 p.m.

Items that are most in need are:
  • Toiletries: soap, shampoo, razors, toothpaste, toothbrushes, diapers
  • Medical: first-aid kits, bandages, crutches, portable wheel chairs, backpacks
  • Food: soup, beans, rice, and canned foods (i.e. tuna, vegetables, corn, etc.)
  • Cooking supplies: corn flour, sugar cubes

For more information, please contact Alderman Juany Garza at 630-499-5560