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Wilmette SummerFest

wilmette summerfestI really have to applaud the Wilmette/Kenilworth Chamber of Commerce for some smart marketing.  This year they have repositioned the same-old, same-old Sidewalk Sale to something much more alluring: a SummerFest.

Yes, there will still be a sidewalk sale with special deals at local stores, but SummerFest will be much more than that: there will be live entertainment, a beer garden, food, kids’ activities and an art festival. The event runs for two days, but if you want more than shopping, you should probably go on Saturday.

When: Friday, July 8 from 9:00 am-5:00 pm and Saturday, July 9 from 9:00 am – 9:00 pm.

Where: Wilmette Village Center, Wilmette and Central Avenues.


The live entertainment will go from 11:00 am to 9:00 pm on Saturday.

The beer garden will be open from noon to 9:00 pm on Saturday.

After the beer garden closes down on Saturday night, the fun moves inside, with stand-up comedy by Carmen Esposito at The Wilmette Theatre at 9:00 pm. This is a 21-and-older event, as beer and wine will be sold. Tickets: $12.

For more info on Summerfest, call the Wilmette/Kenilworth Chamber at 847-251-3800 or visit

Anne West - Your North Shore Real Estate Connection

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Pete Wentz’s Favorite Chicago Spots

Pete Wentz and Bebe RexhaWe haven’t heard much about Wilmette celeb Pete Wentz since Fall Out Boy broke up, but Pete will be back in Chicago in August to perform at Lollapalooza. Wentz has a new band called Black Cards, described as a reggae-infused, 80′s British Rock sound. The lead vocalist is Bebe Rexha (pictured above with Wentz).

In this video Pete names his favorite Chicago area spots, and three of them are in Wilmette: Walker Brothers, where he and his family used to go after church on Sundays, Chuck Wagon and Lou Malnati’s. Keep a lookout for him in August, as he’ll probably stop in to one or more of these places for a meal. But you may not recognize him now that’s he’s ditched the black eyeliner and bangs.

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Race Against Hate on Father’s Day

Race Against HateBond with your Dad and support a worthwhile cause this Sunday by running together in the Ricky Byrdsong Memorial Race Against Hate, a 10K run in Evanston along Sheridan Rd. and through the Northwestern campus. Even if you and your father aren’t up for running, you can still participate by walking the 5K.

This is the twelfth year of the event, which was created by Sherialyn Birdsong in memory of her husband, Ricky. Ricky was a beloved basketball coach at Northwestern, who was murdered in 1999 by a white supremacist, simply because he was African-American. Last year the race raised over $150,000 for the YWCA to use in its work with local schools on issues of racial justice and violence prevention.

The 10K starts at 7:30 am on Sunday, June 19. The 5K run/walk starts at 7:45. The youth mile for kids 9-13 starts at 9:00 and at 9:15 the kids under 8 can start.

Online registration is closed but you can still register in person tomorrow (Saturday, the 18th) at the Evanston YWCA at 1215 Church St., or on race day starting at 6:15 am. Go here for more details about the race.

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Summer Concerts at Plaza del Lago – 2011

Concert in Plaza del LagoOne of the things I love about summer on the North Shore is the number of outdoor concerts you can enjoy, many of them free. One of my favorite music venues is Plaza del Lago in Wilmette.

Every Thursday evening for six weeks in the summer, Plaza del Lago hosts free summer concerts in the parking lot. The concerts run from 6:00 to 8:00 pm (weather permitting) and you can bring a picnic or purchase your dinner from the restaurants in the plaza and eat al fresco as you enjoy the music.

Here’s the line-up for 2011:

June 30 – Moss/Realtime (original post-modern instrumental)

July 7 – The Dang-Its (Honky Tonk, Western Swing and Americana)

July 14 – Gone 2 Paradise (The Ultimate Jimmy Buffett Tribute Band)

July 21 – The New Invaders (British Rock)

July 28 – Ac*Rock (a cappella Rock ‘n’ Roll)

August 4 – Conjunto (Chicago’s premier Salsa Orchestra)

Plaza del Lago is located at 1515 Sheridan Rd. in Wilmette.


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Winnetka Children’s Fair 2011

Children's Fair on Winnetka's Village GreenFor 65 years, the Winnetka Children’s Fair has been a tradition of community and family fun, fellowship and participation.  The Fair kicks off the summer with an end-of-school celebration that includes rides, games, craft booths, face painting and food.

The Fair is coordinated by the Board of Directors of Winnetka Community Nursery School. More than 1,000 volunteers donate their time, energy and enthusiasm to bring this event to life. It was conceived of as a fundraiser for the school. Today, there are probably a lot more efficient and less labor intensive ways to generate the same amount of money. But the fair has become part of the fabric of summertime in Winnetka, so the school continues to put it on for the enjoyment of the community.

This year’s fair is on Friday and Saturday, June 10 and 11, from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm on Winnetka’s Village Green (Maple between Oak and Elm).  Hopefully, the weather will be more cooperative this year. Last year the fair was interrupted by torrential rains, which put a real damper on the fun.

Anne West - Your North Shore Real Estate Connection

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Birdhouse Garden in May

I first wrote about this delightful garden back in April, when there wasn’t much to see.

Here it is again in the middle of May, when the tulips were in bloom and other perennials were starting to sprout. And the birdhouses have come out to join the flowers.

Birdhouse garden on Hunter Rd., WilmetteBirdhouseHere’s how it looked just one month before:

April 13

April 13

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Spring Housewalks on the North Shore

International Style House in Wilmette by George Fred KeckThere are two North Shore housewalks rapidly approaching (one today, in fact):

Wilmette Historical Society Housewalk

Sunday, May 15 from 1:00-6:00 pm
Tickets: $50 for members and $60 for non-members
Visit to purchase tickets.

“Architecture through the Decades” showcases four homes designed by innovative and nationally recognized architects. Built between 1890 and 1950, they demonstrate how housing design changed over the first few decades of the twentieth century:

  • 1890′s American Foursquare designed by George Maher
  • 1920′s Spanish Revival by Alfred Alschuler
  • 1930′s International Style by George Fred Keck
  • 1950′s Modern by Harry Weese

Here’s a little context for what you’ll be seeing: the American Foursquare style (sometimes called the “Prairie Box” and popular from the 1890′s to the 1930′s) was a reaction to the ornate elements of the Victorian style that was popular in the latter half of the 19th century. It is characteristically plain, incorporating elements of the Prairie and Craftsman styles. Typical of the style is a hipped roof, arched entries between common rooms, built-in cabinetry and Craftsman style woodwork. The house by George Maher also features large single-pane windows and beautiful art glass.

The Spanish revival house at 1000 Chestnut Avenue was part of the retrospective craze that took place following World War I.  The house had suffered from years of neglect and was slated to be torn down until the current owners purchased it and began its restoration. The home was the recipient of a special Preservation Excellence Award in 2010.

In the 1930′s traditional styles were increasingly rejected in favor of the International Style that was popular in Europe. The Keck house was one of the first to use plate glass in its design. You can see it in the picture above as it forms a dramatic column that encloses a spiral staircase.

The fourth and final house on the tour showcases Harry Weese’s emphasis on functional, efficient spaces, such as the counter back-splash in the kitchen that can be folded down to create a buffet in the adjoining dining room.

Winnetka Women’s Club Housewalk

Wednesday, May 18 from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm
Tickets: $60 for the tour and $35 for lunch at Michigan Shores Club
Order your tickets here and pick them up at the Women’s Club (485 Maple St., Winnetka)

1313 Ridge Rd, Wilmette“Lifestyles” presents five beautifully decorated homes of differing architectural styles, including:

  • a French Provincial built in 1937
  • a 1920′s Tudor
  • a new Tudor style custom home
  • a Italian Villa with a contemporary interior


Erika’s Lighthouse 8th Annual “Rock and Rally” Walkathon

Erika's Lighthouse Walkathon
Erika's Lighthouse logoThe weather’s going to be lousy tomorrow, but don’t let that stop you from joining this year’s “Rock and Rally” Walkathon for Erika’s Lighthouse. Just bundle up, throw on some rain gear and grab some friends to help support a wonderful organization whose mission is to “get depression out of the dark”.

One in eight adolescents suffers from depression which, left untreated, can lead to suicide. Erika’s Lighthouse strives to break the stigma and educate communities about depression and related mental health issues through various programs directed at schools, teachers, parents and kids, as well as physicians and other health professionals. The organization was formed in memory of Erika Neuckranz, a Winnetka teen who lost her battle with depression at age fourteen. The Walkathon is an annual fundraising event.

When: Sunday, May 15 2-4 pm.

Where: Hubbard Woods Gazebo in Winnetka

Participation Fee: $20 participation fee includes live music, provided by local area bands, a raffle, food and drinks and a t-shirt

Visit for more information about its programs and how you can help.



“Home Alone” House is For Sale

Home Alone HouseThe most famous home in Winnetka is up for sale. That’s right, the house where Kevin MacAllister was left to fend for himself against a band of bumbling burglars can be yours for $2.4 million.

The “Home Alone” house, where the first movie of the series was filmed in 1990, is located at 671 Lincoln Ave. in Winnetka. The stately Georgian stands on half an acre just a short walk from the Village center. It was built in the 1920′s and purchased by the current owners in 1988 for $875,000.

The house is listed by a fellow Coldwell Banker agent, Marissa Hopkins, and you can see the video she made about the house here.

Anne West - Your North Shore Real Estate Connection

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Winnetka Congregational Church Rummage Sale

Rummage sale toysBargain shoppers and yard sale hounds, you will think you died and went to heaven when you come to Winnetka Congregational Church’s spring rummage sale on May 12. While there are several good sales on the North Shore, this one is the grand-daddy of all rummage sales.

It raises more than $200,000 in eight hours and has had the distinction of being recognized in the Guinness Book of Records as the biggest one-day rummage sale in the world.

There are 31 “departments”  at this sale, with pretty much anything you can think of: clothing (men’s, women’s, kids’), shoes, furniture, electronics, toys, tools, linens, housewares, antiques, books, etc. There are 800 volunteers who work for weeks to sort, assemble, organize and sell all of the donations they get throughout the year.

Although rummage sales may seem like a throwback to the old days, they really serve several purposes:

  1. they provide low cost items to those who need them
  2. via the proceeds, they provide funds for Chicago area social service agencies serving people in need
  3. they provide ways to recycle usable goods and keep them out of the landfills

When: Thursday, May 12 from 7:00 am to 3:00 pm

Where: Winnetka Community House, 620 Lincoln Ave., Winnetka, IL

More Info: or 847-446-0575

My advice: Come early for the best selection or come late for the best deals.