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 CafĂ© 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 gmoga@aurora-il.org 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

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Jen Evans art opening at October DAAM

Aurora Language Table on Wednesdays

No Impact Week at AU starts Oct. 6

Are You Ready for No Impact Week?
Aurora University will begin its No Impact Week on Sunday, October 6.
Are you ready?
Want to save money? Lose weight? Have more time? Live healthy and be happy? AND save the world along the way? Welcome to the No Impact Week!
Get ready for your weeklong carbon cleanse, and discover how living more sustainably can benefit you, your community, and the planet. Make sure to get your friends on board by having them register too at www.noimpactproject.org/university Step 1: If you haven't read the University No Impact Week How to Manual yet, make sure to read through it before Sunday, October 6. It's full of great ideas and resources for completing each day's challenge, starting with the Consumption Challenge on Sunday. Step 2: If you haven’t already, be sure to "Like" the No Impact Project Facebook Page; be sure too to check out AU’s Facebook Page and Twitter feeds to get event updates and to share your feedback, pictures, and comments throughout the week.
Step 3: View the No Impact Week Event schedule and local resource guide here Step 4: Fill out this brief pre-week survey. Step 5: Finally, take a moment to watch this short video of others taking on the No Impact Week to get inspired!
The Week’s Activities at a Glance:
Sunday, October 6: Consumption Day * Watch the short film "Story of Stuff” to get inspired for the week’s activities
Monday, October 7: Trash Day
* Come watch the film, No Impact Man, at 7:00 pm in the Perry Theater to learn more about the man, Colin Beavan, and his mission that began this project.
* Our week-long recycling drive begins! Watch for details.

Tuesday, October 8: Transportation Day
* Walk-, Bike-, or Carpool-to-Work Pledge: bike, walk, or carpool to work to reduce your use of fossil fuel. Show us you have fulfilled your pledge by “liking” this event on AU’s Facebook page.
Wednesday, October 9: Food Day
* Please join us to hear Ryan Klassy from the Kane County Farm Bureau speak about how this organization helps to promote local, sustainable agriculture. This talk will begin at 10:40am in UBH South.
Thursday, October 10: Energy Day
* Turn-off-the-Lights Pledge: turn off, unplug, and power down in your classrooms to promote the conservation of energy. Show us you have fulfilled your pledge by “liking” this event on AU’s Facebook page.
* What I Believe: Julie Hipp will speak at the Wackerlin Center at noon
Friday, October 11: Water Day
* Bring your reusable water bottle to the Dunham Atrium between 12-1 pm. The first 50 people to show us they have one will receive a coupon for a free coffee from The Spot.
Saturday, October 12: Give Back Day Please join the Wackerlin Center for the Morning of Service. Reply to cfa@aurora.edu to confirm your or your group’s place. We’ll be serving the community by helping several local organizations, including the Fox Valley Park District. Give back!
Thanks for joining us!
Barb Calvert
Jonathan Dean
Cody Fuerst
Julie Hipp
Kris Johnson

In partnership with
The Wackerlin Center
Waste Management
No Impact Project http://noimpactproject.org www.facebook.com/NoImpactProject https://twitter.com/#!/noimpactproject

Monday, September 16, 2013

Wanna be a derby girl? Aurora 88s want you!

It’s that time again! The Aurora 88s are looking for skaters, refs, non- skating officials, and anyone interested in volunteering for the Aurora 88s roller derby league.
This free event will be held at the Aurora Skate Center September 22nd, doors open at 5. This experience is for serious applicants interested in getting in to roller derby. Attendees will be able to watch an Aurora 88s scrimmage, where the 88s will play roller derby just for interested prospective skaters and helpers. This will be a chance to see the ins and outs of just what it takes to be a roller derby girl.
The scrimmage will be followed by a question and answer session to answer any roller derby questions.
No skating experience is necessary to attend this event. This event will be followed by a Derby 101 night onOctober 6th where applicants will practice basic skating techniques at an Aurora 88s practice. Gear will be required on October 6th (Some gear may be available to borrow from skaters, but we strongly encourage you to have your own gear). October 29th will be official 88s try-outs. It is mandatory to have your own gear with you on October 29th.
Males are welcome! We have Ref positions, Non-Skating Positions, Mascots, Bench Coaches, and Volunteer Positions open for as well.
Serious inquires only.
Recruitment Night is open to 18+ individuals
Doors open at 5, whistle 5:30 ends at 7pm
PLEASE RSVP and turn any questions to aurora88s@gmail.com

So strap on those skates and get rollin’! We look forward to meeting you on the 22nd!

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Two Saturdays Left for Louche Puce Market

DOWNTOWN AURORA - Have you heard of the two hardest words to say in Aurora? Pronouncing “Louche Puce” is only half of the fun on second summer Saturdays when the local flea market comes alive in downtown Aurora.

For only two more Saturdays, Water Street Mall will once again fill with collectibles, vintage treasures, retro items, vinyl LP's, antiques, music, and activity.  

Aurora’s Louche Puce (flea) Market (pronounced loosh pyoose) brings a festival of furniture, glassware, ceramics, ephemera, architectural salvage, restored and reclaimed toys, costume jewelry, vinyl records, books, vintage fashions, objets d’art, objects of curiosity, and more.

Dozens of vendors line the pedestrian-friendly Water Street Mall with their wares, while local musicians play for tips, and FreshGround Roasting brews up fresh coffee.

A festive community event, Louche Puce Market takes place on Water Street Mall, the tree-lined, brick-paved alley between Downer Place and Galena Boulevard just a block east of the Paramount Theatre.

Louche Puce Market is open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on August 10 and September 14.  

Find Louche Puce Market on Facebook. Interested vendors can contact organizer Jeanne Norris at (630) 844-3224 or email louchepuce@gmail.com.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Aug 6: National Night Out Aurora, IL

Police and City officials are asking that community groups and other organizations that are planning events for National Night Out on August 6, to contact Aurora Police with their plans so that officials can visit as many gatherings as possible.

Contact should be made with either Aurora Police Sgt. Bill Rowley at (630) 256-5325 (rowleyw@apd.aurora.il.us) or Sgt. Jim Coursey at (630) 256-5124 (courseyj@apd.aurora.il.us).

This year’s National Night Out marks the 30th anniversary of the annual event that encourages citizens to lock their doors, turn on their outside lights, and spend the evening getting to know their neighbors and demonstrate a united front against crime, drugs, and violence.  Each year, Aurora Police officers and City staff members visit local National Night Out events that range from small gatherings to large neighborhood block parties.

Over 37 million people and 15,000 communities from all fifty states, U.S. Territories, Canadian cities, and military bases worldwide participated in National Night Out last year.

Aug. 4: Hymn Festival at Our Savior Lutheran in Aurora, IL

Hymn Festival, Sunday, August 4, 5:00 pm, Our Savior Lutheran Church, 420 W. Downer Place, Aurora, 630-897-5936, a unique concert designed to build up partnership with our community.  Renowned guest musicians and community choir. Free will offer will benefit Lifespring Ministry’s Kitchen Remodeling Project. Dinner will be served.

The afternoon will be filled with inspiration, excitement, and great joy with guest musicians: Simon Kyung Lee (performed at Carnegie Hall; has appeared as leading tenor with companies in US, Europe and Asia); Dorothy Shaw (has performed as a concertmaster and a soloist with Camerata Chicago; has appeared  in the movie "Home Alone II"); Fox Valley Woodwind Quintet; and Hephzibah Choir (Young Hee Chung: director).  

The Hymn Festival will include favorite hymns, patriotic songs, African American spirituals, and classic:"How Great Thou Art," "God Bless America," "Battle Hymn of the Republic," "The Lord's Prayer," Handel's  "The Entrance of  the Queen of Sheba," "Joshua Fit the Battle of Jericho," "You Raise Me Up," "The Prayer" etc.
The event is free of charge and open to the public as part of  Our Savior's Music Ministry Fine Arts Series.  Donations are gratefully accepted.  Proceeds from the donations will benefit the Lifespring Ministry's Kitchen Remodel Project.  Following the event, delicious dinner and refreshments will be served.  We hope that you and your friends can join us for a very special afternoon.

Aug. 10: Free School Supplies, Donations Needed at Greenman in Aurora, IL

AURORA, Ill.--Last year, hundreds lined up outside Aurora's Greenman Elementary School for the summer school-supply giveaway.
The event, Seeds for Success, started at 9 a.m. and went until about 10:30 a.m. when supplies were exhausted.
While 450 students and parents left with sacks of supplies, about 500 others were disappointed.
Rev. Deborah Tinsley Taylor, pastor of Fourth Street United Methodist Church, supply fair co-sponsor with Wesley UMC in Aurora, said volunteers want to serve all students in need.  
To make it happen, she said, organizers are making a push for donations--supplies or cash--before the seventh annual event, which is scheduled for 9 to 11 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 10, at the school, 729 W. Galena Blvd., Aurora.
Donations will be accepted at Fourth Street UMC, 551 S. Fourth St. and Wesley UMC, 14 N. May St.
Checks can be sent to Fourth Street UMC office with Seeds for Success in the memo line.
Supplies needed are three-ring, 1-inch binder; pocket folders, yellow highlighters, washable color markers,  wide-ruled spisral bound notebooks or filler paper, pens, rulers, scissors (round tipped), pencils, pencil sharpeners, 24-count crayon boxes, erasers (Pink Pearl) glue sticks or bottles and supply boxes.
Volunteers will distribute supplies to students from kindergarten to 12th grade on a first-come, first-served basis while supplies last.
To donate or for informatiion, call (630) 897-5257 or email fourthstumc@sbcglobal.net.

Aug. 9, 10, 11: Montgomery Fest 2013

The 2013 Montgomery Fest schedule is packed with a variety of fun activities and entertainment for all age groups. Whether you are a fan of live music, car shows, parades, carnivals, great food, fishing or fireworks, you will be delighted as you spend the weekend of August 9th to the 11th enjoying the festivities in downtown Montgomery.
Starting off Friday night is an all-new “Battle of the Bands” that begins at 5 pm featuring live music performed by local bands. Also new this year are $20 wristbands good for unlimited carnival rides from 6 pm to 10 pm on Friday only.
Saturday’s Main Stage will host the Blue Rock Inn Band performing at 11:30 am. Known for their unique arrangements of classic rock and blues, this band will get you in the groove for a great day. Next is a chance to scope out more local talent at 1 pm when “Montgomery’s Got Talent” hits the stage. Judge for yourself and expect to be impressed!
Other Saturday events include a Bike Safety Event at 10:30 am and Colonial’s Ice Cream Eating Contest (register at 11:30 am at Village Hall). You also won’t want to miss the annual Montgomery Fire Department Water Fights at 1:30 pm in front of the Village Hall.
Saturday’s entertainment continues at 3 pm on the Main Stage with “Cloggin’ Craze,” who always exude enthusiasm in this upbeat social dance style. At 4 pm one of Chicagoland’s premiere rock band, “Urban Sprawl” will bring their high energy mix of rock, country, pop, and blues. The day of great music wraps up with “EVOLUTION’ performing at 8 pm. This popular band features the original members of Hi-Infidelity. With music ranging from classic to current rock sounds, these fun musicians energize their listeners. Known for being one of the suburb’s best new cover bands, you can rock on with cover songs from favorites including Bon Jovi, REO, Styx, and Journey.
The range of events on Sunday is sure to please every family. From the Family Fun Carp Fishing Derby to the Car and Motorcycle Show (in Austin Park), to the Kid’s Bike Parade at 11 am in front of the Village Hall, you will find an activity for everyone. The Montgomery Fest Parade begins at 1 pm on Sunday at Webster and Mill Street, continuing south to Watkins, over to River Street and back up to Mill.
A highlight of Sunday’s entertainment will be the world famous Division BMX Stunt Team, with performances at 3 and 5 pm in front of the Village Hall.  The Division BMX Stunt Team knows how to entertain and keep an audience on their edge of their seats.  Watch in awe as stunt riders perform tricks at heights reaching over 25 feet above the ground!
Sunday’s Main Stage will host a church service at 10:00 a.m. followed by the musical talents of Woody James at 11 am and the Ronald McDonald Magic Show at noon.  In the afternoon the Waubonsee Steel Drum Band at 2 pm and the “Legacy Girls” at 4 pm will keep everyone entertained.  The evening continues at 6 pm with “Billy Croft & The 5 Alarm” playing lively country music, followed by fireworks at 9 pm
Of course, Montgomery Fest always includes everyone’s favorites:  the carnival, food vendors, craft and vendor booths, free pony rides and petting zoo.  Community Christian Church will host a family tent offering diaper changing and rest areas, free water and freeze pops.  Free shuttle bus service will be provided to downtown Montgomery on Saturday and Sunday from Lakewood Creek Elementary School and from the parking lot in front of Poor Boy’s on Montgomery Road near Douglas.  Busses will run about every half hour from 11 am until about 10 pm.  It all adds up to a fantastic weekend you won’t want to miss!

Saturday, July 20, 2013

July 27: LEGO bricks at Aurora Public Library

Chicago Area LEGO Users Group to display at Aurora Public Library

AURORA – Members of the Chicago Area LEGO Users Group will display their creations from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, July 27
 at the Main Aurora Public Library, 1 E. Benton St.

All ages are welcome. There is no registration and the event is free.

John Thornton of Lombard, president and founding member of the Chicago Area LEGO Users Group (ChiLUG), said he started building with LEGO bricks about 40 years ago, when he was 6. Today, he is a safety director for an engineering consulting firm.

This will be the second time the group has visited the Main Library. In May, members gave a presentation to the library’s LEGO Club before the kids dug in and began building.

The LEGO Users Group was formed in early 2012 and immediately began visiting hospitals and libraries to bring the joy of LEGO building to children.

“A lot of guys have normal day jobs, but had built things and didn’t throw them away or sell them at garage sales. They have their creations at home and decided to get them out,” Thornton said. 
Thornton builds ships and vehicles. Another member of the group builds trains, and one concentrates on sculptures.

Kids and their parents might see the following creations on display at the library on July 27: an octopus; HALO video game paraphernalia; a steam shovel based on the children’s book “Are you my Mother?” by P.D. Eastman; spaceships; ice-like landscapes; a slot machine; and trucks and Trons.

“Libraries are a perfect spot for us to display, especially since Aurora Public Library has a LEGO builder’s club,” Thornton said. “My motto is: ‘Everything to keep the television off. When kids can use their imaginations and fine motor skills, there is nothing better than that in my book.

“I always encourage reading as well. To me, it’s a win-win. Get kids off the couch. Pour the LEGOs on the floor or crack open a book and enjoy that. Get away from the electronic wizardry that has permeated their lives.”

For more information, call the library at 630-264-4123 or go to ChiLUG’s website:  ttp://chilug.webs.com/

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

July 11: Jericho Circle in Aurora Public Meeting on Future Property Use

The Aurora Housing Authority and City of Aurora have jointly enlisted the assistance of two of the most well-respected, regional planning groups, the Urban Land Institute (ULI - Chicago) and the Metropolitan Planning Council (MPC) in order to answer the question of what should be done with the Jericho Circle property.

Working together on this question for the first time, both City and AHA staff has been preparing to host a “Technical Advisory Panel,” (TAP) assembled by ULI Chicago and MPC. TAPs are two-day intensive working sessions with a team of regional and national interdisciplinary experts in the development industry who volunteer their time to study and produce recommendations to solve a land use challenge. Recommendations will focus on the future of the Jericho Circle site as well as general housing strategies for the future. In this instance, several of the experts participating in the two-day panel have extensive background in dealing with the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) since HUD will only approve a land use change under very specific conditions.

In order to assure that the panels’ recommendations are also well-informed by local input, panelists will be hosting focus group and stakeholder interviews as well as a roundtable community reception from 5:30 to 7:00 p.m., this Thursday evening, July 11, in the Multi-Purpose Room at Waubonsee Community College’s downtown campus, 18 S. River St. The public is invited to attend, but is asked to please RSVP so that event coordinators can plan for the correct number of residents in attendance. City residents can RSVP for the roundtable reception by calling 773-549-4972 or by emailing Cindy McSherry at cindy.mcsherry@uli.org.

“It is important to the community to answer the question as to the type of use that actually makes sense for the former Jericho Circle site,” said Aurora Mayor Tom Weisner. “It’s good to finally have an Aurora Housing Authority administration interested in working together with the City to jointly answer questions about our community’s future.”

The community reception will give residents an opportunity to have input with respect to the panel’s recommendations, but there will also be a public presentation of the panel’s report within two months. Residents will have additional opportunities for input once the recommendations are received since the implementation of most recommendations would require City Council and/or Aurora Housing Authority (AHA) Board approval.

Keith Gregory, AHA Executive Director, added, “We are excited about having the opportunity to utilize the recommendations that come from this Panel to help guide the implementation of our new strategic plan, which focuses on being more transparent in our interactions with the community and improving collaboration with the City in our decision making.” 

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

July 4: Fourth of July Fun at Aurora Historical Society's Tanner Museum

Aurora, Ill. -- John F. Kennedy proclaimed "Let's ring freedom bells!" in 1963 and what should have become a national movement to help celebrate the Fourth of July was launched and then more or less forgotten.  But not in Aurora, Illinois.  The Aurora Historical Society has been ringing their two historic bells since 1967, and calling on the children of the city to do the honors.

The 1869 Center School bell and the 1918 Liberty Bell replica commemorating the end of World War I grace the grounds of the Tanner House Museum all year long, but just once a year, on July 4, the historians there hang the clappers, line up dozens of children on each of the 4 ropes and precisely at 1:00pm Central Daylight Time, have them pull away for two minutes of joyful cacophony.


"The sight of all those children, and the sounds of the bells, are one of the highlights of my entire year," said Mary Clark Ormond, historical society president.  "This is the 50th anniversary of the Congressional resolution to ring bells, and Aurora should be very proud to claim such a long tradition."

The annual picnic and Ringing of the Bells is at the Tanner House Museum, 304 Oak Avenue, Aurora, IL  60506, from 11am to 3pm.  It is free.  Other offerings at the event are live music, a petting zoo, the Windy City Wizard magician, horse-drawn wagon rides and free tours of the Tanner House.  Hot dogs, old-fashioned sodas and ice cream are available at a nominal charge.  www.aurorahistory.net orwww.facebook.com/aurorahistory for more information.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

July 1: Downtown Auroran Magazine Summer Release Party

AURORA, Ill.(June 27, 2013) - Downtown Auroran Magazine, a local arts and culture magazine, is releasing its summer issue on July 1. The summer issue focuses on bicycling in Aurora and is called “The Bicycle Issue.”

The magazine invites the public to pick up a copy of the new issue from 5 to 7 p.m. on Monday, July 1 at Culture Stock Bookstore, 43 E. Galena Blvd. in downtown Aurora.

If attendees bicycle to the magazine release party, then they will receive half-off of any book purchased that evening. Dan Becker, of Dan Becker and the Tourists, will also perform for free at 6 p.m.

Downtown Auroran Magazine is a free magazine featuring art, poetry, short stories, recipes, comics, a list of cultural events, and more. The magazine is published locally and distributed at small businesses in the Fox Valley area.  

For more information, visit www.downtownauroran.wordpress.com or find Downtown Auroran Magazine on Facebook.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Summer Tips to Prevent Home Burglaries

Aurora, IL - The very warm temperatures and dry conditions expected over the next several days have prompted Aurora Police to issue prevention steps the community can take to help guard against home and vehicle burglaries.
As summer temperatures take hold, it is not unusual for police to see increased instances of residential burglaries where the entry point of the burglar is open or unlocked windows.  To reduce these types of crimes, Aurora Police remind residents to make sure windows and doors are always shut and locked every time they leave their homes. They add that the use of proper lighting, such as motion sensor lights, also go a long way in preventing burglaries.
In addition, experts recommend 3-inch screws, at minimum, are used to mount strike plates onto door frames rather than the 1 ½ inch screws that come standard with lock sets.  Since the longer screws actually anchor into the supporting frame and studs behind the door frame, doors are much more difficult to kick-in by a would-be burglar.
Police are continuing to remind motorists of the importance of hiding anything of value in vehicles such as cell phones, laptops, wallets, and other property; and to makes sure vehicle doors are locked and windows are closed.  When thieves see these items in plain view it takes them only seconds to break a window or open an unlocked door and steal the property.
Residents are also asked to immediately call 911 if they see anything suspicious in their neighborhoods.
Aurora residents should take advantage of the free online service known as “Report It” which allows them to record serial numbers and upload images of jewelry, electronics, antiques, and other valuables into a central data base that will help police locate the items if they are ever lost or stolen.  An unlimited amount of records can be stored and can also include item descriptions and scans of receipts so they can be easily identified. The records likewise come in handy when filing claims with insurance providers in the event of a loss.  Citizens interested in the service can log onto www.reportit.leadsonline.com to begin building their personal property list.
The service is offered through Leads Online which is used by Aurora Police to help them track goods being sold through recycling, pawn, and similar businesses.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

July 4: Fourth of July FIREWORKS in Aurora, IL

The City of Aurora will be painted red, white and blue on July 4 and will celebrate the nation’s independence with a full day of family fun including a parade, live music, local food vendors, children’s activities, and the region’s most dynamic fireworks display--- all taking place in the downtown.

The day will start with a patriotic pre-parade ceremony at 9:15 a.m. at the parade reviewing stand, outside the Paramount Theater, 23 E. Galena Boulevard. The Independence Day Parade, presented in partnership with the Roosevelt-Aurora American Legion Post 84, will step off at 10 a.m. at the corner of Benton and River Streets.  It will travel east to Broadway Avenue, north to Galena, west to Stolp Avenue, south to Downer Place, then west on Downer and conclude at River Street.

Groups scheduled to march in this year’s parade include the Roosevelt-Aurora American Legion Post 84 band, East Aurora Summer Camp Band, West Aurora Marching Band, Waubonsee Steel Drum Band, Oswego Step Team “Divas and Gents”, Aurora Central Catholic High School cheer squad, and many other community organizations including local veteran groups and scout troops.

The City and American Legion Post 84 are inviting Korean War veterans and their families to view the parade from the reviewing stand, or the tent adjacent to the reviewing stand, in remembrance of the 60thAnniversary of the Korean War.  Interested parties should call Aurora’s Special Events Division at (630) 256-3370 to reserve a seat.

Longtime Aurora residents and community volunteers Tom and Lynda Elmore have been named parade Grand Marshals.

West Aurora High School senior Alyssa DeBolt will be recognized during the parade for her winning poster design that was used to publicize the event in various print and online media in a competition staged by Legion Post 84. Alyssa will be receiving a Kindle Fire for her creativity and artwork. Also receiving prizes for their runner-up entries will be Alyssa Johansen, from O’Donnell School and Rosa Nevarez, a senior at the American Academy of Art in Chicago.

Free parking for the parade will be available at all downtown parking lots as well as the Stolp Island Parking Deck at Stolp and Downer.  Parking in the deck will be accessible until 9:50 a.m., and no vehicles will be allowed to exit until after the parade.  A complete list of parking lots can be viewed on the City’s website atwww.aurora-il.org and clicking on the downtown parking information icon on the homepage.

Motorists are advised that portions of the parade route will be closing at 8:30 a.m.  No street parking will be permitted on Galena from Lake Street to Broadway; Downer from Lake to Stolp; Benton from Lake to Broadway; River from Gale Street to Galena; and Middle Avenue, from Cross Street to Downer.  In addition, Hoyt Place will close to thru traffic. 

The holiday will culminate with huge celebrations at three different downtown locations beginning at 5 p.m., before the City’s fireworks extravaganza at 9:30.  All three locations: RiverEdge Park, 360 N. Broadway; Wilder Promenade, 350 N. River; and McCullough Park, Illinois Avenue at Lake Street; will feature differently-themed, free, family-fun events and activities including live music and wide array of local food vendors.  They will also be perfect locations to view the fireworks which are returning to downtown for the first time in approximately 10 years.

“Fourth on the Fox”, presented at RiverEdge Park, will feature Bruce in the USA, one of the premiere Bruce Springsteen tribute bands in the nation, at 5:30 p.m., followed by a mix of patriotic music and classical favorites performed by the Fox Valley Orchestra at 8:15.

Wilder Promenade will be the scene of “Family Fourth” and will feature inflatable rides and other children’s attractions along with musical entertainment by DJ Jerome.

At McCullough Park, the Aurora Historical Society is presenting “Hometown Fourth” featuring music from acoustic ensemble Hudson Crossing, Aurora-inspired tunes performed by the Bradley Keven Green Family Band, patriotic songs by the American Legion Band, and classic rock courtesy of Captains of Industry.  In addition, magician Windy City Wizard will make an appearance along with games and stories dating back hundreds of years.

The three locations are within walking distance of each other which makes visiting each venue easy and convenient for patrons.  In addition, the City is offering free park and ride shuttle service from 6 to 9 p.m.providing roundtrip transportation at numerous locations.  The shuttles will resume service after the fireworks display with the latest departure scheduled for 11 p.m. The park and ride locations include:

Blue Route
·         La Sierra de Aurora, 2121 E. New York St.
·         Carquest Auto Parts, 3 N. Smith St.
·         Main Baptist Church, 814 E. Galena (Parking only. Patrons should catch the shuttle across the street at Carquest)

Orange Route
·         St. Athanasios Church, 1855 E. Fifth Av.
·         East Aurora High School, 500 Tomcat Ln.

Red Route
·         Luigi’s Pizza, 732 N. Prairie St.
·         West Aurora High School, 1201 W. New York St.

Pink Route
·         Northgate Shopping Center, 850 N. Lake St. (Dedicated shuttle that will run only between Northgate and McCullough Park)

Green Route
·         Presence Mercy Medical Center, 1325 N. Highland Av.
·         Cermack’s Supermarket, 1250 N. Lake St.

Gold Route
·         Aurora Police Department, 1200 E. Indian Tr.
·         Indian Trail Shopping Plaza & Business Center, 254-302 E. Indian Tr.

Purple Route
·         AMF Valley Bowling Center (former site), 310 S. Lincolnway Av., North Aurora

In addition, free parking will be offered at all downtown municipal lots including the Aurora Transportation Center and the lots along River Street.

The City of Lights will live up to its name at 9:30 p.m., with the launching of a bigger-than-ever fireworks display.  The City has chosen a new vendor, Melrose Pyrotechnics, to conduct the show.  The company, based in Kingsbury, IN, has won numerous awards in pyrotechnics competitions staged around the world including Japan, Viet Nam, China, Canada, and scores of others.

The family activities and fireworks are co-sponsored by the City of Aurora, Village of North Aurora, RiverEdge Park, the Fox Valley Park District, Aurora Historical Society and HR Green. 

More information on Aurora’s Independence Day festivities is available on the City’s website at www.aurora-il.org or by calling the Customer Service Division at (630) 256-INFO (4636).