Friday, November 25, 2011

Nov. 26: Gingerbread FIREhouse Exhibit at Fire Museum

Join us on the Saturday after Thanksgiving (Nov. 26th) from 1 to 4pm for the Aurora Regional Fire Museum's 3rd annual holiday exhibit opening and Gingerbread FIREhouse Contest.

More than a baker's dozen gingerbread FIREhouses, fire stations, and burning buildings have been specially crafted for this event. Contest rules state that all entries depict a firefighting themed architectural structure (real or imaginary), and that except for the base, everything must be made from 100% edible materials. Over $500 in cash and prizes will be awarded by a panel of judges, as well a people's choice.


Also back for the holidays are our family of festive firehouse mice who have taken up residence to decorate the Aurora Regional Fire Museum. See CoCo as he bakes in the museum's kitchen, Sparks as he tries to ring a fire bell, and Ashes as he decorates a 1948 fire engine.... We'll give you a special treat if you can spot all fifteen mice.

The Gingerbread FIREhouse Exhibit opens — and will be judged — on Saturday, November 26th with special activities, FREE admission for the day, a visit from Santa the Fire Chief, storytelling, a holiday mouse hunt, and more. All gingerbread FIREhouses will remain on exhibit at the Aurora Regional Fire Museum though Saturday December 17th, and most will be available by raffle.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Dec. 1: Made in Aurora, Vol. 2 at Backthird Audio in downtown Aurora

Aurora, Ill. –Next week, music lovers will get a glimpse behind the scenes of the Fox Valley’s latest – and largest – local music project.

On Thursday, Dec. 1, recording studio Backthird Audio at 67 S. Stolp (behind River's Edge Cafe) will host an open house entitled “Making Made in Aurora.” In September the studio produced "Made in Aurora Vol. 2: City of Lights," a 16-song collaboration featuring almost 50 local musicians on two LPs. The record is slated for release on Black Friday, November 25.

“The album takes just over an hour to listen to – but it took about 200 hours to make,” said studio owner Benjie Hughes, the album’s producer. “We wanted to give the public a taste of what that process is like.” Hughes and recording engineer Kyle Schmidt will discuss the evolution of two very different songs from the album, starting with initial vision and proceeding through the recording process to the final stages. They’ll play samples of the songs in progress to show how each developed.

The studio will also play the record in its entirety at a networking reception.

The open house begins at 4:30pm, with a presentation from 5:30 to 6pm. A second open house will begin at 7:30pm, with presentation at 8pm, for – according to the event’s Facebook page – “musicians, flying reindeer and festive vampires who don't come out until after dark.” The event is free.

Made in Aurora Vol. 2: City of Lights is the second in a series of collaborative album projects spotlighting the musicians and songwriters of Aurora, Illinois, and the surrounding area. The projects were created by Steve Warrenfeltz, who spends a lot of time talking with area musicians in his record store, Kiss the Sky, in downtown Geneva, Illinois. Albums in the series are released in “dual format,” with both vinyl and CD included in one package.

Made in Aurora Vol. 2 features both original holiday music and new recordings of a number of seasonal favorites. It spans a wide variety of American musical styles including blues, country, pop and jazz. There are traditional carols, an 80-year-old blues song – and a song co-written by Aurora Mayor Tom Weisner.

For more information, contact Steve Warrenfeltz at or Benjie Hughes at Album previews, artist information and a track listing are available at

Monday, November 14, 2011

Nov. 17: Piano Concert - at AU

The Third Thursday concert series will showcase Cristian Pastorello, a new member of the AU faculty, at 7:30 p.m. in Crimi Auditorium, 407 S. Calumet Ave. Information: 630-844-4577.

Nov. 16: AU presentation on technology and changing relationships

AURORA, Ill. — Digital culture expert and author Sherry Turkle will discuss how technology is changing human relationships during a lecture at Aurora University on Wednesday, Nov. 16.

Right-click here to download pictures. To help protect your privacy, Outlook prevented automatic download of this picture from the Internet. Sherry TurkleTurkle's presentation, "Alone Together: Objects as the Architects of our Intimacies," will take place at 7:30 p.m. in Crimi Auditorium in the Institute for Collaboration, 407 S. Calumet Ave. The lecture is part of the Celebrating Arts and Ideas series at AU.

Admission is free, but seating is limited and reservations are required. Call (630) 844-4924, or register online.

The definitive expert in her field, Turkle has been studying people's changing relationships with digital culture for three decades. A professor of social studies of science and technology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, she is also the founder and current director of the MIT Initiative on Technology and Self.

Turkle's work investigates the intersection of digital technology and human relationships, from the early days of personal computers to our current world of robotics, artificial intelligence, social networking and mobile connectivity. An accomplished author, Turkle's latest book, "Alone Together: Why We Expect More from Technology and Less from Each Other" (2011), explores technology's influence on our interpersonal relationships, calling for society to re-examine and redefine its basis for human connections.

Nov. 19: Quad County Community Forum




WHEN: Saturday, November 19th, 2011

WHERE: Quad County Urban League

1685 N. Farnsworth Avenue, Aurora, IL 60505

TIME: 9:30 - 11:30 am*


*Refreshments will be served from 9:00 - 9:30 am

The purpose of the forum is to assist our community in resolving Academic Achievement as a hot-button issue of mutual concern in a respectful and non-confrontational manner. During the forum participants will:

  • Weigh in on three approaches to tackling the gap in Academic Achievement
  • Realize the advantages, costs, consequences and trade-offs of each approach
  • Develop a common understanding of what is at issue
  • Recognize complementary individual and collective actions that can be taken.

This community event is in conjunction with the Midwest Center For Civic Engagement.

For more information or to RSVP, please contact:

Dorletta Payton

Quad County Urban League

(630) 851-2203 ext. 238

Nov. 30: Treat the Customer Right at AU

AURORA, Ill. — “Establishing a Customer Focused Environment," a free, public business workshop, will be hosted by Aurora University on Nov. 30.

Andrew Meeks, managing partner at Oak Consulting, will speak at 8 a.m. at the University Banquet Hall at Alumni Hall, 1410 Marseillaise Place. Networking and refreshments are at 7:30 a.m.

Meeks said, "In today's less-than-perfect economy, the importance of the customer cannot be understated. The question is not why companies should be customer focused, but how to do so effectively."

Meeks will discuss proven strategies that have been successfully implemented across multiple industrial and service industries.

The program is sponsored by the AU Human Resources Institution, an educational and networking event presented by the university’s Dunham School of Business and Human Resource Management Systems in Naperville.

Nov. 28: Deadline for Home Energy Modifications

AURORA, IL—November 9, 2011—The success of September’s energy efficiency program for Aurora residents, Green Home House Calls, by Rebuilding Together Aurora (RTA) and the City of Aurora will bring a second opportunity on December 3, 2011. The September event provided 66 homeowners with the tools and volunteers to perform energy modifications to their homes. In 2011-2012 RTA plans to provide 180 homeowners with the tools kits and knowledge to make their homes more energy efficient.

On December 3rd, RTA will have a special Green Home House Calls event that focuses entirely on serving seniors and individuals with disabilities. Homeowners who register by November 28th with Rebuilding Together Aurora will have trained volunteer Green Teams come to their home to perform minor energy modifications valued at $130 in materials, and even more in reduced energy costs. Applications may be obtained online at, at the RTA office, or by phone (630-585-7510.)

In addition, Rebuilding Together Aurora will be providing free wall and/or attic insulation in 30 homes in 2011-2012. To qualify, the applicant must: reside within Aurora city limits, own and live in their home, have homeowner’s insurance, and meet the HUD low-income guidelines. Priority will be given to seniors, veterans, individuals with disabilities, and families with small children. Applications may be obtained at the RTA office or by calling 630-585-7510.

Mark your calendars now for the next Green Home House Calls program on September 8th, 2012. This event will provide able-bodied homeowners a free do-it-yourself efficiency upgrade workshop and energy efficiency tool kit with all necessary materials. Volunteer Green Teams will once again be available to seniors and individuals with disabilities to provide the modifications for them.

Nov. 18: Deadline for Gift from Home to Service Members

Aurora residents can still show their appreciation to local military men and women by sending them “Gifts from Home” during the holidays.

The City will send a one-pound gift box of mixed nuts along with a holiday greeting card from the community to active Aurora military members at home or abroad. Families wanting to participate in the program need to provide the following information to send a gift:

· The name of the active service man or woman;

· Rank;

· Complete military address as it should appear line-by-line; and

· A home address in Aurora.

The submission deadline to send a gift is Friday, Nov. 18. To send a gift or for more information, call the Sara Townsend in the City’s Community Services Department at 630-256-3400 or email her at

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Nov. 19: The New Automatics Concert

Saturday, November 19 · 7:30pm - 10:30pm


Created By

More Info
Amazing night of music with friends Greg Boerner, Andrea Dawn, and The New Automatics

Greg Boerner 8pm
Andrea Dawn 10pm
The New Automatics 11pm (feat. Andrea Dawn, Jeremy Keen, Zach Goforth, and Brendan McCormick)

Free show
All ages

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Nov. 11: Veteran's Day Free Stuff

2011 Free Veterans Day Meals

Applebee's - free meal, Friday, Nov. 11: Last year, Applebee's served 1,024,000 million free meals to military veterans and active servicemembers. Applebee's is again offering a free meal to military veterans and active-duty service members on Veteran's Day, Friday, Nov. 11, 2011. There will be 7 entrées to choose from.
Military ID or proof of service required. Find locations at

Chili's - free meal, Friday, Nov. 11. Chili's is offering all military veterans past and present their choice of one of 6 meals. This offer is available during business hours on November 11, 2011 at participating Chili's in the U.S. only. Dine-in from limited menu only; beverages and gratuity not included. Veterans and active duty
military simply show proof of military service. Visit their website to find locations.

Golden Corral - Free meal, Monday Nov. 14: The 10th annual Golden Corral Military Appreciation dinner will be held on Monday, November 14, 2011 from 5 pm to 9 pm in all Golden Corral Restaurants nationwide. The free thank you dinner is available to any person who has ever served in the United States Military. If you are a veteran, retired, currently serving, in the National Guard or Reserves, you are invited to participate in Golden Corral's Military Appreciation Monday dinner.
For more information visit

Special thanks to Golden Corral: To date, Golden Corral restaurants have provided over 2.5 million free meals and contributed over $4.3 million to the Disabled American Veterans organization.

Hooters - Free Meal, Friday, Nov. 11. Hooter's is serving up a free meal to military veterans all day on Veterans Day. Offer good for all veterans and active duty military personnel. Choose one of the new specialty items on the Hooter's menu. Offer valid at participating Hooters only; open to all active duty and military veterans with valid military ID or proof of military service. Drink purchase
required. For more information, visit,

Krispy Kreme - Free doughnut. Available only at participating Krispy Kreme stores. Offer available to all active-duty, retirees & veterans on Friday November 11th. Be sure to call ahead to verify your local Krispy Kreme is participating.

McCormick & Schmick's Seafood Restaurants - free lunch or dinner, Sunday Nov 13, 2011: McCormick & Schmick's is celebrating their 13th annual Veteran's Appreciation Event on Sunday, November 13th. Veterans will be able to choose a complimentary lunch or dinner entrée. Veterans must provide proof of military service. Be sure to contact your local McCormick & Schmick's as this is valid at participating restaurants only. Also, Space is limited and reservations are highly recommended. For more information visit: M&S Veterans Appreciation Event.

Outback Steakhouse - A week of Free Bloomin' Onions and Cokes Monday
Nov. 7 - Friday Nov. 11. Outback Steakhouse is honoring America's military veterans by offering active duty military and veterans a free Bloomin' Onion and a Coca-Cola product during the week leading up to Veteran's Day. This offer is available to Military Personnel who have one of the following forms of identifications: U.S Uniform Services Identification Card, U.S Uniform Services Retired Identification Card, Current Leave and Earnings Statement (LES), DD
form 214 Veterans Organization Card (i.e., American Legion and VFW),
Photograph in Uniform, Wearing Uniform. For more information, visit,

The Outback understands commitment. For the past two years, The Outback, with the help of their patrons, has donated $2 Million to Operation Homefront, a non-profit organization providing everyday and emergency support for active troops, wounded warriors and their families.

Subway - Free Six Inch Sub. Select Subway locations offer a FREE six inch sub to military veterans on Veteran's Day. However, Subway restaurants are franchises, so this offer may not be available everywhere. Please call ahead.

Texas Roadhouse - free meal, Friday, Nov. 11. Offer varies by location; our local Texas Roadhouse is offering a free meal from opening until 4pm. Other locations may vary in offer, hours, or availability. Call ahead to your local restaurant for more information.

T.G.I. Friday's - Buy one get one free Nov 11-14. At participating locations for anyone with an old or current military ID. November 11-14.

Uno Chicago Grill, Friday, Nov. 11. Uno's is offering a free entree or individual pizza with a purchase of an entree or pizza of equal or greater value. Offer good for all military for veterans and active duty military. ID or proof of service required: Show up in uniform (if your service permits), provide military ID, show a picture of yourself in uniform, or have other ID showing proof of service. More info here.

Home Depot and Lowes Coupon Updates
Update: Home Depot and Lowes 10% Military Discount Available Everyday.
Home Depot: The Home Depot(R) is offering all active duty personnel, reservists, retired military, veterans and their families a 10 percent discount off their purchases in honor of Veteran's Day. The offer is valid on purchases of up to $2,000 for a maximum of $200 and is available at The Home Depot stores, The Home Depot Design Center locations, Yardbirds and EXPO Design Center(R) locations. The 10% discount is available everyday for active duty and retirees, but not all veterans. Home Depot makes this offer available to all veterans on most military holidays. You can also find Home Depot discounts online.

Lowes: Lowe's Companies, Inc. will offer all active, reserve, honorably discharged, retired military personnel and their immediate family members a 10 percent discount on in-store U.S. purchases made during the Veterans Day holiday. The discount is available Nov. 7 - Nov. 11. The discount is available on in-stock and special order purchases up to $5,000. To qualify, individuals must present a
valid military ID or other proof of service. Excluded from the discount are sales via, previous sales, and purchases of services or gift cards. Like Home Depot, Lowes offers this discount daily to active duty military members, but not to veterans. However, they extend the offer to military veterans on military holidays. You can also find exclusive discounts at Lowe'

Free Park Admissions for Veterans Day

Here's to the Heroes

Anheuser-Busch Parks. Anheuser-Busch Parks offers Active Duty Service
Members free admission for them and up to 3 dependents to any of their parks once a year. Throughout 2011, members of the military and as many as three direct dependents may enter SeaWorld, Busch Gardens or Sesame Place parks with a single-day complimentary admission. The Here's to the Heroes program is only available to Any active duty, activated or drilling reservist, or National Guardsman. Eligible parks include: Adventure Island, Busch Gardens (Tampa Bay or Williamsburg), SeaWorld (Orlando, San Diego, or San Antonio), Sesame Place, and Water Country USA. Not valid at Discovery Cove and Aquatica. Christmas Town at Busch Gardens in Williamsburg, Va. is not included as part of this program. For more information and to register, visit: Free admission summary, and ticket application.

Colonial Williamsburg Free Admission. Colonial
Williamsburg offers free weekend-long admission tickets to active-duty military, reservists, retirees, veterans, and their immediate dependents from Friday, Nov. 11 through Sunday, Nov. 13th. The complimentary ticket incudes admission to Colonial Williamsburg exhibition sites, art museums, and most daytime programs, as well as free parking and use of the shuttle bus system. Tickets are only available at on-site ticket sales locations. Tickets are also available to families of deployed servicemembers. Tickets available on the following dates: Nov. 11-13.

Historic Jamestowne - Free Admission. The National Park Service
commemorates Veterans Day with Fee Free days at Historic Jamestowne
November 11-13. Free admission for everyone. See events calendar.

Knotts Berry Farm Military Tribute Days - Free Admission.
Knott's Berry Farm has an annual Military Tribute event in which they offer military members past and present by offering free park admission. This year the Military Tribute Days run from November 1 - 24 November (Thanksgiving Day). Veterans or current serving military personnel plus one guest get in FREE with proper ID presented at Knott's turnstile (DD214, Veterans Administration Hospital ID or Active Military Service ID). Purchase up to six additional tickets for just $17 each. More info.

Fee Free Day at National Parks. To honor America's service men
and women, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar announced that areas managed by the National Park Service would not charge entrance fees for Veteran's Day weekend - November 11-13, 2011. Over 100 national Parks will be participating in this event.

San Jacinto Monument and Museum (La Porte, TX). November 7-13: Free
admission to the theatre, Observation Floor, and (on November 12-13) the special exhibit to all veterans and their families. More info.

Bed and Breakfast for Vets

In the third year of the program, B&Bs for Vets has organized over 485 (and counting) participating Bed and Breakfasts and Inns across the US and Canada which will be offering veterans a free night's stay on November 10th, the night before Veterans Day. This offer is available to both active duty military members and veterans with ID, but space is limited. Each Inn and B&B has at least one room available for this promotion and reservations must be made directly through the participating Inns and B&Bs. For more information visit B&Bs for Vets.

Free Hugo® Canes for Veterans.

Sam's Club® locations nationwide will distribute 36,000 Hugo® canes free of charge on November 9th, 10th, 11th, 2011 to U.S. military veterans in need of mobility assistance. Limited quantities available, while supplies last. Sam's Club® Membership is not required, but proof of military service may be required. For more information, visit

Other Veteran's Day Discounts

Here are some additional Veteran's Day Discounts. In all cases, be sure to provide proper ID or proof of service. In addition, some of these stores are franchises, so verify participation before assuming the discount is in place.

Free Car wash. Thousands of car washes around the country are offering
vets a free car wash on Veterans Day. Find a list at Grace for Veterans, which helped veterans receive 101,537 FREE Washes on Veterans Day in 2010. - Discount Veterans Day Honor MP3 album download.
This downloadable album includes 12 songs as performed by the military
bands and ensembles of the U.S. Armed Forces. Visit Amazon on Veteran's Day to download the album.
Netflix - One Month Free Trial.
Sport Clips - FREE haircut to active-duty military & veterans. Offer only available at select locations. Please call to verify local participation.
Tim Hortons - all US locations are offering a free donut to all veterans
(check out the Star Spangled donut!).

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Dec. 4: Holiday Open House at West Branch

· Holiday Open House

1 to 4 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 4

West Branch Library

This annual open house has the theme “Sounds of the Season” and will include a sing-along, photos with Mr. and Mrs. Claus, storytime on the Bookmobile, crafts for all ages and cookies. Waubonsie Valley High School’s Pink Notes and Suenos Latin-Jazz will provide music. The library’s Holiday Celebrations in Many Lands will be on display throughout the month of December at the West Branch for self-guided tours.

Nov. 20: Art opening at Chef Amaury's in downtown Aurora

Sunday, November 20 from 3 to 6 p.m. local artists Lisa Gloria and Brian Busch will open their exhibit "The Food Show" at Chef Amaury. Their artwork will be foodcentric. The work is nothing short of spectacular. Cheese and fruit will be served compliments of Chef Amaury. Cash bar available. Dinner service will be available after 5 p.m.

Chef Amaury at 33 West is located at 33 W. New York St. across from Ballydoyle in downtown Aurora. Free street parking is available after 5 p.m., and free lot parking is located at the northwest corner of New York and River streets.

Nov. 11: Veteran's Day Parade

Aurora will conduct its annual Veterans Day parade and ceremony to recognize the commitment local military service men and women have given to our country.

The parade will step off at 10:15 a.m. Friday, Nov. 11 at Broadway Avenue and Benton Street in downtown Aurora. The parade route will proceed north on Broadway to Downer Place and then head west to the Grand Army of the Republic Memorial Hall, 23 E. Downer Place.

Groups participating in the parade will be the East Aurora High School Navy Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps, Chicago Highland Rifles, Aurora Lamplighter Chorus, Quilts of Valor and many local veteran organizations.

The “Honoring All Who Served” ceremony will be held at about 10:30 a.m. at the GAR Memorial Hall. The ceremony will conclude with a military rifle salute by veteran organizations at 11 a.m.

Aurora resident and Illinois Army National Guard Sgt. First Class Christopher Hess will serve as the keynote speaker at the ceremony. After graduating from Aurora Central Catholic High School, Waubonsee Community College and Western Illinois University, the 15-year military veteran was a Bronze Star recipient, among his many military commendations. Hess has been deployed to the Middle East on several occasions, including Operation Desert Storm with the Marine Corps (1990-91), the War on Terror in Iraq (2003-04) and Afghanistan (2008-09). He currently is a readiness non-commissioned officer with the Aurora Army National Guard.

Parade parking will be available at the Stolp Avenue parking deck located on the corner of Downer Place and Stolp Avenue. Parade patrons should use the entrance on Stolp Avenue to access the parking deck.

The parade and ceremony are sponsored by the City of Aurora and the Roosevelt-Aurora American Legion Post No. 84. For more information, visit the City’s website at

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Dec. 4: Montgomery Festival of Trees

This year’s event will be held on Sunday, December 4th at 5:00 p.m. Visitors get to see Santa and Mrs. Claus arrive on a fire truck, enjoy free cookies and cocoa and listen to area school children perform some of their favorite Christmas songs. This year, the event will be even bigger and better, as visitors will also be able to enjoy many beautiful trees decorated by local businesses and vote on their favorite.

The new Festival of Trees is an opportunity for local businesses to join in the festivities by displaying a decorated tree in Village Hall, promote their business to hundreds of area residents, and possibly earn the coveted title of “Favorite Decorated Tree” in the Village. Trees will be on display on December 4th at the annual Tree Lighting event, and will remain on display for community viewing and voting through December 16th. All trees will adorn the halls and lobby of the Village Hall. There is no charge to participate.

The Festival of Trees provides a great opportunity for businesses to reach out to the community. Businesses are encouraged to decorate their tree in a creative way that promotes the business and the products or services offered. Local businesses that have already signed up to participate include Orchard Road Animal Hospital, Montgomery-Countryside Fire Protection District, Coffman Truck Sales, Harris Bank and Schafer’s Greenhouses.

Businesses interested in providing a tree for the Festival of Trees can call Ruth Maloy 630-896-8080 x 1116 for additional information and an application form. Space is limited and is being offered on a first-come, first served basis.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Nov. 19: Jefferson Craft Fair

Jefferson Middle School will be hosting its 3rd Annual Craft Fair, Saturday, November 19th, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Come join us and check out over 30 local vendors showcasing a large variety merchandise! Lunch will be available for purchase courtesy of the JMS PTA. Jefferson Middle School is located at 1151 Plum Street in Aurora, just one block north of West Aurora High School.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

*Nov. 4: Benefit for Aurora Hispanic Heritage

Mexican Immigration Exhibit Extended to November 18, 2011

The exhibit “Creating Mexican American Identities: Multiple Voices, Shared Dreams” has been extended until November 18 at the Aurora Historical Society gallery on the second floor of the David L. Pierce Art and History Center, 20 East Downer Place in Aurora.

Comprised of a traveling exhibit from the West Chicago City Museum and historic photos and text assembled by the Aurora Hispanic Heritage Advisory Board, the exhibit features labels in both English and Spanish.

The exhibit traces Mexican immigration to the area back to the first wave of arrivals, who came in the 1910s and 1920s primarily to work for the railroad. The bulk of the early Mexican residents lived in railroad box cars converted to housing. Later, they moved into homes in the neighborhoods where they worked and raised their families. Their descendants still reside here, many having risen to prominence in the community.

Exhibit hours are noon-4:00pm on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays. Admission is free and free off-street parking is available across the street at the Downer/Stolp Parking Deck (have ticket stamped in gift shop). Teachers and scout leaders should call the Historical Society at 630-906-0650 to discuss group tours. More information is available at or

The Aurora Hispanic Heritage Advisory Board will hold a benefit in the exhibit gallery on Friday, November 4 from 6:00-8:30pm, with live music, hors d’oeuvres and a cash bar. Tickets are $10 (under 18 free) and proceeds will go to the board’s Scholarship Fund. More information about the reception is available from Dee Basile at 630-256-3370 or at