Friday, June 24, 2011

July 4: Independence Day in Aurora

Aurora will be painted red, white and blue Monday, July 4 with a full-day of activities for the whole family.

Independence Day will begin with a downtown parade presented by the Roosevelt-Aurora American Legion Post 84 in partnership with the City of Aurora.

The event will start with a patriotic ceremony at 9:15 a.m. outside the Paramount Theatre, 23 E. Galena Blvd. The parade will step off at 10 a.m. at the corner of Benton and River streets, marching east to Broadway Avenue, north to Galena Boulevard, west to Stolp Avenue, south to Downer Place and conclude heading west to Middle Avenue.

Father Jerome “Jerry” Leake, pastor of St. Joseph’s Church in Aurora, has been named the 2011 Fourth of July Parade Grand Marshal. Father Leake has become a popular figure in Aurora by performing chaplain duties for the City’s Police Department and the community for decades. He has logged more than 30,000 hours on ride-alongs with Aurora police officers and has provided counseling, ministry and comfort to victims and offenders in the aftermath of traumatic situations.

After being severely injured in a police ride-along accident in December, Father Leake completed a rigorous rehabilitation schedule to once again serve the students and more than 800 parishioners at St. Joseph School and Church. He also is back in the squad car on the streets with the Aurora Police Department.

Before coming to St. Joseph Church 14 years ago, Father Leake served as a teacher, coach and assistant principal at Aurora Central Catholic and Rosary high schools.

Groups scheduled to march in the parade include the American Legion Post 84 Band, Chicago Highland Rifles, East Aurora and West Aurora high school marching bands and local Boy and Girl Scouts. Bill Baker will serve as the parade emcee, and the Legacy Girls will perform in the pre-parade ceremony.

For more information on the Fourth of July Parade, visit the American Legion’s website at or the City’s website at

The fun continues in the evening with the Independence Day fireworks program starting at 6 p.m. at the Illinois Math & Science Academy, 1500 W. Sullivan Road. The event is being sponsored by the City of Aurora and the Village of North Aurora.

The entertainment schedule includes:
· 6 to 9:30 p.m. – Food vendors, Inflatables and live entertainment

· 6 to 7 p.m. – Circus Boy (Juggler and circus acts)

· 7 to 8 p.m. – Second Time Around (Popular hits from the past 50 years)

· 8 to 8:15 p.m. – Patriotic Ceremony

· 8:30 to 9:30 p.m. – American Legion Post 84 Band

· 9:30 p.m. – Fireworks

With parking near the school being limited, residents are strongly encouraged to arrive early or use the free shuttle bus service.

Parking will be available at the Illinois Math & Science Academy; Aurora Central Catholic High School, 1255 N. Edgelawn Drive; Hyundai, 1705 Sequoia Drive; Milgard Windows & Doors, 1785 N. Edgelawn Drive; Kraft/Excel, 1700 N. Edgelawn Drive; Fox Valley Park District’s Vaughan Athletic Center, 2121 W. Indian Trail Road; and Rosary High School, 901 N. Edgelawn Drive. Handicapped parking is available at the Illinois Math & Science Academy, Aurora Central Catholic High School and Randall Park, 1500 W. Indian Trail Road.

The park and ride shuttle service begins at 6 p.m. and will provide roundtrip transportation at seven locations including:

Blue Route: Indian Trail and Orchard roads
· Home Depot, 1250 N. Orchard Road

· Lowe’s, 2372 W. Indian Trail Road

Red Route: Galena Boulevard
· West Aurora Plaza, 1901 W. Galena Blvd.

· West Aurora High School, 1201 W. New York St.

Green Route: Lake Street and Indian Trail Road
· Cermak Fresh Markets, 1250 N. Lake St.

· Provena Mercy Medical Center Outpatient Lot, 1325 N. Highland Ave.

Purple Route: Orchard Gateway at Hansen Boulevard
· Woodman’s Market, 151 Hansen Blvd., North Aurora

Lawn chairs and small hand-held coolers are permitted at the fireworks festivities. Large coolers, alcohol and smoking are prohibited on the shuttle buses. Aurora police officers will be writing citations for anyone possessing or setting off illegal fireworks at the event.

For more information on the fireworks program, visit

Thursday, June 23, 2011

June 25: Mercy's 100th birthday party!

Provena Invites Residents to Celebrate 100th Birthday
By Marianne Renner For The Beacon-News

Everybody loves a good party, especially a birthday party. Who can resist the food, the games, the singing? It's all part of the great fun.

Provena Mercy Medical Center is no exception. The hospital is throwing a birthday bash this year to celebrate turning 100 years old - an achievement reached by only a select few.

Provena Mercy has witnessed much change since its inception in 1911.

For example, in 1911, basic medicines such as penicillin and vaccines did not exist. Tuberculosis was one of the leading causes of death, and diseases like measles, polio and smallpox were very present threats.

Most doctors in 1911 didn't have a college education, let alone the arduous years of medical school.

Life expectancy at birth was close to 50 in those days, and fewer than 20 percent of Americans had a high school diploma.

Provena Mercy has changed greatly as well. What started as a simple hospital in an old Aurora apartment building has grown to a 356-bed medical center with 1,000 employees and nearly 400 physicians. New private patient rooms are under construction.

But not everything has changed. Some things have remained exactly as they were during that remarkable year in 1911 when a small group of women from the religious order of the Sisters of Mercy opened a hospital to meet the needs of the sick and poor.

Today's mission of Provena Mercy Medical Center is to compassionately respond to human need in the spirit of Jesus Christ, just as it was intended 100 years ago.

Provena Mercy recognizes that its success is due to community support, and the medical center invites everyone to this birthday celebration from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. June 25 on the Provena Mercy campus. Family festivities will be complete with food, games for the kids, live music and much more.

Call 866-776-8362 or visit

Marianne Renner is the marketing project coordinator at Provena Mercy Medical Center. She can be reached at

Monday, June 20, 2011

June 23: River's Edge Cafe Grand Opening & Men Who Bake


On Thursday, a dozen local men will compete to win with the sweetest treat during River’s Edge Café’s grand opening celebration in downtown Aurora.

Putting on oven mitts and getting out their cookbooks, notable locals such as Amaury Rosado (Chef Amaury at 33 West), Steve Warrenfeltz (Kiss the Sky Records), lawyer Judd Lofchie, author Robert Renteria and Paramount Theatre’s artistic director Jim Corti will bring baked goods to the café for a good cause.

During the grand opening celebration, people can vote for their favorite delectable treats and the winner with the most votes will donate the total proceeds to a local charity of their choice.

Baked goods and votes can be purchased for $1 each at the grand opening and at the café in advance.

“We are ready to celebrate the reopening of the cafe,” said Bailey Standish, daughter of owner Beth Standish. Bailey and her two sisters help out at the café since mom Beth decided the downtown café was too good of a gem to let close after previous owners Jeff and Cathy Jones moved on to other endeavors last fall.

Beth was especially drawn to the café as a community space where everyone is welcome. Since the café is also owned by River Valley Community Church, she was able to get the popular café up and running again with their assistance earlier this year.

“We are so happy to be part of the community,” Bailey said. “Everyone is so supportive and this is a fun way for us to give back.”

Local musicians will also be part of the grand opening festivities. Doors open at 4:30 p.m. Thursday at the café. Tasting and voting will conclude at 9:30 p.m.

Additional “Men Who Bake” contestants are Mike Chapin, Dan Hites, Vernon LaVia, Nathan Miller, Charlie Mayton, David Lewis and Matt Hook.

River’s Edge Café is located at 18 W. Downer Pl. just west of Stolp Avenue in downtown Aurora. Street parking is available on Downer Place and River Street; a convenient parking garage is located at the southeast corner of Downer and Stolp.

Weekday café hours are 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Visit or find River’s Edge Café on Facebook for more information.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

All summer: Free concerts in the park

AURORA – The Fox Valley Park District will stage a series of six free concerts this summer, beginning June 16 with Top 40 country band Smokin’ Gunz at Montgomery Park.

The concerts are a collaborative effort involving the Park District, the City of Aurora and the Village of Montgomery.

All concerts will begin at 7:30 p.m. and run until 9 p.m. unless noted otherwise. Guests are invited to bring lawn chairs and blankets. The concert lineup is as follows:

June 16: Smokin’ Gunz at Montgomery Park (River Street and Mill Street, Montgomery) in partnership with the Village of Montgomery. Prior to the show, line dancing lessons from Cathy Vary – instructor at Saddle Up and Dance – will be offered.

June 30: Yorkville Big Band at Montgomery Park (River Street and Mill Street, Montgomery) in partnership with the Village of Montgomery.
July 7: August at McCullough Park (Route 31 and Illinois Avenue, Aurora). Beforehand, The Friends of Aurora's After-School Programs (FAA and Communities in Schools will be selling spaghetti dinners from The Olive Garden to benefit The Hope For Tomorrow Scholarship Fund.

July 14: Gallery at Montgomery Park (River Street and Mill Street, Montgomery) in partnership with the Village of Montgomery. Food from Fay’s Barbeque will be available before the show (presale tickets are $12), courtesy of the Montgomery Chamber of Commerce.

July 28: American Legion Band at McCullough Park (Route 31 and Illinois Avenue, Aurora).

Aug. 4: Saturday June Band at McCullough Park (Route 31 and Illinois Avenue, Aurora).

For more information, call 630- 966-4555 or visit the Park District website at

June 18: Splash Bash *free w/ pass purchase

AURORA – The summer fun season will be running at full blast at Phillips Park Family Aquatic Center and Splash Country Water Park on Saturday, June 18, when celebrations are held simultaneously from noon to 3 p.m. at each water park.

Phillips Fest and Splash Bash will feature giant inflatables, interactive dancing, water games and a live DJ. All activities are included with the daily admission fee. It’s also the 20th birthday celebration for Phillips Park, which opened in 1991.

A special one-day sale on season passes also will be held at both water parks. Visitors who purchase a season pass between noon and 7 p.m. will have that day’s admission fee subtracted from the price of the season pass.

For more information, call Phillips Park at 630-851-8686, Splash Country at 630-906-7981 or visit the District’s website at

July 2 & 3: Civil War in Aurora*

URORA -- The ringing declarations of abolitionist Frederick Douglass proclaimed by television actor and native son Phil Van Lear, the tunes of the 1860s played on antique instruments by a 16-piece brass band, a conversation between Mary and Abraham Lincoln as they dress for a night of theater, and the idle chatter of soldiers keeping camp around smoky fires are some of the attractions of “The Civil War in Aurora,” sponsored by the Aurora Historical Society on July 2 and 3 on the grounds of the Tanner House Museum, a landmark 1857 building in one of Aurora’s oldest neighborhoods.
Reenactors will camp out on the grounds both days, and there will be demonstrations of period crafts such as wool-spinning, candle-making and blacksmithing. A 19th-century schoolmarm will educate and entertain children, and visitors will have free access to the Tanner House.
In the entertainment tent, headliners will include VanLear, recently seen on “Prison Break” and “Chicago Code,” the nationally-known Illinois 33rd Regiment Reenactor Band, and Max and Donna Daniels as Mr. and Mrs. Lincoln. Other entertainers will read historic letters from both battlefront and home front and perform music and dance of the period. Of special interest will be appearances by Aurora citizens whose letters and mementos of the Civil War have been researched by members of the Historical Society. Some of these individuals are Dr. Abner Hard, a surgeon with the 8th Cavalry whose field notes graphically depict his treatment of patients on the battlefield, and Cal Boger, an escaped slave who started a new life and a family dynasty in Aurora.
The event will be held from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Saturday and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday. Admission is $7 for adults and $5 for students. Two-day passes are $12 and $8. The Tanner House is located at Oak and Cedar Streets in Aurora.
For more information, please see or call Civil War Event at 630-859-3292.

Aug 21: LaSalle St. Auto Show

Sunday August 21 from 11 am to 3 pm.
Third annual auto show on historic LaSalle Street
Event open to Antique, specialty cars & trucks
Spectators FREE

Friday, June 10, 2011

June 11: Aurora Farmers Market starts

Farmers Market opens this Saturday! Eat Fresh – Buy Local!
THE FRESHEST PRODUCE IN TOWN from the farmers hands to you! At the Aurora Transportation Center parking lot on Broadway near downtown Aurora.

Asparagus, Yellow and Green Beans, Beets, Blueberries, Broccoli, Cauliflower, Cucumbers, fresh herbs, Lettuce Green, onions, Leeks, Peas, Radishes
and of course annuals and perennials
to top off your gardens.

Baked goods, Cheeses, Jellies, Jams, Dressings, Entertainment, Dicks Mini Donuts and Wurst Brats, Cutlery sharpening, and much more……

Please bring your overgrown home plants and we will re-pot them for you. FREE!

Check out the Aurora “Green Scene” from
Aurora Farmers Market to Louche Puce (Water Street),
Aurora Green Lights (Prisco Center) and Paddle Fest (Phillips Park)!
Ride the free shuttle service provided by Aurora Township to take in four free fun events.
Learn, shop and participate.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

June 8 - July 8: Free Breakfast at Greenman

Anyone 18 years and under is invited to Greenman or Todd schools for a free breakfast. Breakfast must be eaten on location. No food will be allowed to be carried out. Call Bonnie at 630-301-5034 with questions.
Greenman: 729 W. Galena Blvd.
Todd: Oak and New York St.

June 8 to July 8 from 9 to 9:30 a.m.

June 10: Cruise Night Car Show at Alden

Cruise Night Car Show at Alden of Waterford, 1955 Randi Dr. in Aurora. 4 to 8 p.m.
Hot dogs, chips, drinks, cookies and ice cream will be available for purchase. Free admission! Free popcorn! Free wine tasting! First 100 attendees will receive a gift.
Call 630-851-1880 for more information.

June 11: Aurora GREEN SCENE includes 4 events

The downtown Aurora Farmers Market will open for the season Saturday, June 11 and highlight the “Green Scene” taking over the City next weekend.

The Farmers Market enters its 99th year bringing a wide variety of farm fresh produce, organic food, fresh bread and baked goods, fine wines, fresh flowers and more. The market will have expanded hours this season serving customers from 7:30 a.m. to noon Saturdays through Oct. 22 at the Aurora Transportation Center, 233 N. Broadway Ave.

For the first time, low income families will be able to use their Illinois electronic benefits transfer (EBT) link card to make purchases.

Residents wanting to learn more about the Farmers Market, including two additional markets opening in July on the City’s Far East and West sides, should visit

A free shuttle will be provided by Aurora Township at the Aurora Transportation Center to take patrons to the three other free “Green Scene” events throughout the City June 11.

The Aurora Green Fest will be held from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Prisco Center, 150 W. Illinois Ave. The event, which will highlight the latest environmental ideas and technology, will feature more than 30 eco-friendly exhibits and speakers. Green Fest will entertain children with games and prizes while adults can learn green techniques to save money on their home utility bills.

The event is sponsored by the Aurora Green Lights, an independent non-profit group affiliated with The Conservation Foundation and geared toward promoting sustainable living in Aurora. For more information on the festival and the organization, visit

The City’s Green Scene also includes the Aurora Paddlesports Festival, a two-day canoeing and kayaking festival that will take place from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. June 11 and from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, June 12 at Mastodon Lake at Phillips Park, 1000 Ray Moses Drive. Residents can get free lessons on how to use a multitude of environmentally friendly “human-powered” crafts. More than 30 retailers, paddling clubs and river-related organizations also will introduce patrons to the Illinois paddling community.

The third annual Paddlesports Festival is being presented by Paddle and Trail and the Illinois Paddling Council in partnership with the City of Aurora. For more information, visit

After taking a ride in the lake, residents can stake claim to more land-based activities with the Art in the Park from noon to 5 p.m. June 11 and 12. The City’s inaugural event will feature various mediums of art, food vendors and music at the west end of Phillips Park.

The last stop on the Green Scene is the Louche Puce Market, a new outdoor European-style vintage and collectible fair. The market will be held from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. June 11 in the downtown Water Street Mall between Galena Boulevard and Downer Place. Patrons can re-purpose an eclectic mix of antiques, retro-furniture, vintage fashion and more.

The Louche Puce Market will be held the second Saturday of each month through September. For more information, contact Jeannie Norris at

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

July 13: Vegetable Gardening Q & A

Date: Wednesday, July 13, 2011
Time: 7:00 PM
Event Type: ADULT (AGE 19+)
Age Group: ADULT
Description: Bring your questions and samples about vegetable gardening; get answers from a master gardener. A follow-up to the February vegetable gardening program, but all interested gardeners are welcome.
Additional Information:
Registration Required: YES

June 14: Local Author Book Fair

A free Local Author Book Fair will be offered at the Montgomery Village Hall. Local authors including E. B. Loan, Pamela Reid, David J. Walker, Jo Fredell Higgins and Helen Osterman will present a program on how they get their ideas, their experiences with the writing and the publishing process, and details about some of their books.

Several of the authors will also be bringing copies of their books available for sale. 10 a.m. 200 N. River St., Montgomery.

Monday, June 6, 2011

June & July: Free Movies at Phillips Park

'Super Screen Saturday Nights' Returns To Phillips Park
Aurora families looking for affordable entertainment options this summer can make plans to attend free movie nights at Phillips Park.
“Super Screen Saturday Nights” features Hollywood-hit films on a big screen in June and July at the park, 1000 Ray Moses Drive. Pre-event activities will be held at 8 p.m., and the movies will start 30 minutes after sunset, which is between 9 and 9:15 p.m.
This season’s movie schedule includes:
June 18 “Ice Age” (PG) – sponsored by the Phillips Park ZooCiety and HR Green
June 25 “Avatar” (PG-13) – sponsored by Citizens First National Bank
July 9 “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” (PG) – sponsored by VNA of Fox Valley and the Aurora Public Library
July 16 “The Sandlot” (PG) – sponsored by Waubonsee Community College
July 23 “The Tooth Fairy” (PG) – sponsored by Luigi’s Pizza and Fun Center
If inclement weather cancels a movie event, the rain date has been scheduled for Saturday, Aug. 6.
Patrons should bring their own chairs, blankets and bug spray. The concession stand will be open, and parking is available at the Phillips Park Aquatic Center, 828 Montgomery Road.
Movies are shown by Sunset Cinema in partnership with the City of Aurora. For weather updates or for more information, visit
Super Screen Saturday Nights
Location: Phillips Park, 1000 Ray Moses Drive, Aurora, Illinois