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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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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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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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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


Egg Hunt in Thornwood Park

Easter Egg Hunt

You’re Invited!

Hop on over for some eggs-citement at Thornwood Park on Saturday morning.

Maureen and I are hosting our first annual Thornwood Park Egg Hunt for kids 10 and under. The weather may be a little iffy but we’re hoping for at least an hour of sunshine. Bring your camera to take pictures with the Easter Bunny. And be sure to bring a basket for collecting your eggs. We’ll have prizes for the kids and a drawing for the parents.

Where: Thornwood Park in Wilmette (2400 Thornwood Ave.)

When: The hunt will start at 10:00 am SHARP! But come early to meet the Easter Bunny and guess the number of jelly beans in the jar.

See you there!

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