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It’s Pedal Power Time Again!

Nicole BasilLast year I wrote about Pedal Power, an annual bike drive started four years ago by (then) 9 year old Nicole Basil of Wilmette.

The goal of Pedal Power is simple: to collect used bikes and scooters and donate them to needy children in the city of Chicago. In the first year Nicole focused her drive in Wilmette and hoped to collect 23-30 bikes. Last year she expanded beyond Wilmette to neighboring North Shore towns and collected 280 bikes.

This year Pedal Power takes place on Saturday, November 5 from 9 am to 12 pm.

If you have used but working bikes or scooters to donate, please bring them to one of three collection points:

  • McKenzie Elementary School, 649 Prairie Ave, Wilmette
  • George Garner Cyclery, 1111 Waukegan Rd., Northbrook
  • Higher Gear, 1874 Sheridan Rd., Highland Park

You can get more information at Nicole’s web site:


Rock Candy

Last year the rock dressed as a ghost. This year it has donned something more colorful. Looks good enough to eat. Happy Halloween!

Wilmette's rock as candy corn

Halloween in Kenilworth Gardens

Halloween in Kenilworth Gardens

When it comes to Halloween the families in the Kenilworth Gardens neighborhood of Wilmette take their decorating very seriously. The name of the game is to have the ghastliest, grisliest decorations you can come up with.

Here are pix of some of the scarier yards in the ‘hood.


IMG_8287Witch in Kenilworth Gardens

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Pumpkins and Politics on Lawndale

Candidates in Wilmette

Every year I look forward to seeing how the Weyermullers have decorated their yard for Halloween. For over ten years they’ve been lampooning local and national politicians with life-size statues and vignettes about some of the more controversial policy issues. They will happily skewer either or both political parties but say they draw the line on sex scandals. So you won’ be seeing any Anthony Weiner statues this year.

And the fun is not limited to politics. Being die-hard Cub fans (one can only assume) there’s always some “commentary” on the Cubs’ latest season. This year there’s a Cub fan rising from the dead with his heart in his hand and a sign that reads: “The Cubs yanked my heart out”  And, of course, there’s a statue of the Cubs’ new President of Baseball Operations, Theo Epstein.

Here are some shots of this year’s Halloween display. See if you recognize anyone…

BlagoCharlie Sheen

Rahm EmmanuelBarack ObamaCubs fan with heart ripped outTheo Epstein

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Wilmette Does Shakespeare

Wilmette Does Shakespeare logo

All the world’s a stage…or at least all Wilmette’s a stage right now because the Bard of Avon has come to town for a community-wide Shakespeare festival, courtesy of the District 39 Educational Foundation.

In the past the Foundation’s Fine Arts Fund has brought us performances by Second City, Broadway Ballyhoo and The Jubilate Children’s Choir. I asked Fine Arts Committee Co-chair Tim Scherman how they decided on a Shakespeare theme for this year. I suspected that Tim may have a slight bias given that he is an English professor, but he said that the real reason they chose Shakespeare is that they were looking to make a bigger impact than a single performance would allow, in order to bring more visibility to the Foundation and its work. A Shakespeare festival offered the opportunity to have a multi-faceted event, with readings, lectures, films and live theatre. Read the rest of this entry »

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Two Antiques Events in Wilmette This Weekend

antique lion headAre you eager to find a good deal on some antiques? Or maybe you have what you think is an antique and want to find out what it’s worth. You can do both this Saturday, September 17 in Wilmette. You can buy antiques and collectibles at the St. Joseph Oktoberfest and Antiques Market or you can bring your treasures to the North Shore Treasures Appraisal. Here are the details:

St. Joseph Oktoberfest and Antiques Market

An annual event held in the church parking lot on the corner of Ridge and Lake in Wilmette, features antiques vendors from Sandwich and Kane counties from 9 am to 4 pm. There is also a Family Festival, with games, entertainment and a “biergarten” tent. In the evening there’s a traditional German dinner at 6:00 with an Oompah band, followed by a dance at 8:30 featuring HipHugger. Call 847-256-7870 for more information.

8th Annual North Shore Treasures Collectibles and Antiques Appraisal Event

If you’ve cleaned out your attic and are wondering whether those treasures you’ve discovered are family heirlooms or just junk, here’s your chance to find out. Just bring your treasure(s) to Plaza del Lago at 1515 Sheridan Rd. on Saturday, September 17 from 10 to 2 and get them appraised by Daniel Buck Soules or Simeon Lipman. A suggested $10 donation for each item appraised will go to the Make-a-Wish Foundation of Illinois. Call 847-884-0000 for more information.

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Contact Anne West - Your North Shore Real Estate Connection

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Elvis Sighting on Beechwood Avenue

Every weekend during the summer there is a block party going on somewhere in Wilmette. It’s a tradition that started out as basically a neighborhood pot-luck party in the street. Everyone would bring some food to share, along with their beverage of choice, and people of all ages would congregate in the street to talk, eat and drink.

Nowadays these get-togethers have become much more elaborate. Not only are there home-made goodies, but sometimes catered meals. There are bike parades, egg and water-balloon tossing contests, face painting, bouncy houses and corn hole games.

Beechwood Avenue had all that this year. But we also had a special guest who hasn’t been seen around these parts for quite some time. Elvis himself showed up at our event and even serenaded us with a few of his most popular songs.  The curious thing: he hadn’t aged a bit. In fact, he was looking very healthy indeed and as if he might have joined weight watchers.

Don’t believe me? I have evidence. Yes, I managed to get a video and here it is. So there!

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Thornwood Park Concert – 2011

Thornwood Park Concert 2010If you live in or around Wilmette’s Kenilworth Gardens neighborhood, you won’t want to miss the 7th annual Thornwood Park Concert this Sunday, July 10. First conceived of by Harper parents Terri and Tony Lorenz, and sponsored by the Friends of Thornwood Park, the concert is truly a neighborhood event. Bring your lawn chairs and your picnic and relax for a few hours with friends, family and neighbors.

As usual there will be performances by three bands of neighborhood dads who are frustrated rock stars. The opening act is the Junior Concert, with performances by some of our talented neighborhood kids.

In addition to great music, there will be a balloon artist and face painting, as well as a bouncy house, sponsored by yours truly. Last, but definitely not least, we’ll look forward to a visit from the Wilmette Fire Department, who will bathe willing concert goers with a 40 ft. vertical spray of water from the fire hose.

The Junior Concert starts at 3:00 pm and will be followed directly by the dads’ concert. The fun will continue til 8:00 pm.

All are welcome at the concert. We only ask that you make a donation to cover the cost of the event. Any remaining proceeds go to help purchase items for the park, like picnic tables. You can make a donation here.

Firetruck at Thornwood Park

kids playing in the firehose spray

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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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