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Last Call for Fall Rummage Sales

rummage sale in WinnetkaBargain hunters: If you haven’t yet gotten your yearly rummage sale fix, you have only two more opportunities this fall (on the North Shore, at least). The last sales of the season are in Winnetka and Wilmette:

Winnetka Congregational Church Rummage Sale

When: Saturday, October 16 from 9 am to 2 pm
Where: Winnetka Community House, 620 Lincoln Ave., Winnetka

This sale is not as big as the spring sale, which raises over $200,000 in 8 hours. But, by any other standards, this is a big sale and you can buy pretty much anything you can think of. This year there will be an especially large amount of furniture for sale, and I have it on good authority that it’s the “good stuff”. There is also clothing for men, women and children, electronics, toys, sports equipment, china, glassware and books. Come early for the best selection, or late for the best deals.

None of the money goes to the church. All proceeds are donated to Chicago-area social service agencies. For more info, call (847) 446-0575

St. Francis Xavier Rummage Sale

When: Thursday, October 21 from 8 am to 1 pm
Where: St. Francis Xavier, 808 Linden Ave., Wilmette

This is a parish wide event that raises funds for the school. It also has a wonderful selection of gently used household items, clothes, toys, etc.
For more info, call (847) 251-4661



Fire Station Open House

DalmationHey kids- grab your parents and come on down to Fire Station # 26 at 1304 Lake Avenue tomorrow.

The Wilmette Fire Department and Sparky the Fire Dog would like to invite you to this year’s Fire Open House on October 9th from 9 am to noon.

Fire trucks, ambulances, firefighting gear, paramedic equipment, water rescue gear, and special rescue tools will all be on display. There will also be hands on activities for children, including the always popular Teddy Bear Check-up.

Did you know that the Wilmette Fire Department is one of only 113 accredited fire departments in the world? The accreditation process independently evaluates the department’s compliance on over 230 individual performance indicators. Wilmette was first accredited in 2001, becoming the 21st agency in the world to earn such recognition, and re-accredited in 2006. The organization is driven to provide a cost effective and efficient fire department while honoring our values, accomplishing our mission and achieving our goals.

So come on out and see for yourself why we are so proud of our fire department!

And remember:  Fire Prevention is everyone’s responsibility.


Affordable Senior Condos at the Village Green Atrium in Wilmette

Village Green Atrium, WilmetteAffordable housing for seniors is not easy to find on the North Shore, but it does exist. One affordable senior building in Wilmette is the Village Green Atrium, a 35-unit condominium building for seniors 62 years or older. Located at 800 Ridge Rd. in Wilmette, the building contains 25 one-bedroom units and ten two-bedroom units. It’s in a good location, too. The Treasure Island is right up the street, as are dry cleaners,  a bank and the Ridgeview Grill. The PACE bus stops nearby. And, last but not least,  the police station is right next door, making residents feel secure.

To maintain their affordability, the units are bought and sold at a formula price below market value. There is no income cap, but priority for units goes first to Wilmette residents, then to former Wilmette residents or parents of Wilmette residents, and last to non-Wilmette residents.

To receive an application, view a unit or get more information, you can call Erika Fabisch at the Community Development Department at (847) 853-7522.

Another condominium building with affordable units is Mallinckrodt in the Park. While most of the 81 units sell at market rate, 12 are formula-priced to keep these units affordable.


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Contagion in Wilmette

contagion-movie-logoWilmette is in for a bad case of celebrity-itis.

Even those of us who spurn Us Weekly and its ilk, will not be immune to the fever when the cast and crew from a new movie descend upon the town in a couple of months.

The movie is called “Contagion” and it is an action-thriller about the worldwide outbreak of a deadly disease, and the international team of doctors contracted by the CDC to deal with the epidemic. Apparently it won’t be a sensationalist sci-fi movie, but rather an examination of how different groups (media, politicians, medical community and the general public) deal with the threat of a worldwide pandemic.

Director Steven Soderbergh must have liked the North Shore when he was here last time (shooting Ocean’s Twelve in Winnetka and Lake Forest), but this time he’s going to show Wilmette some love. He has several locations already scouted, including Central School, Gillson Park, a private home on Greenleaf and the Wm H. Scott Funeral Home. (Guess that’s where they’ll take all the bodies of people killed off by the virus). Filming in Wilmette is set to take place between November 23 and December 9.

It’s got quite the star-studded cast:

Gwyneth Paltrow as Beth Emhoff, a business woman who returns from Asia and comes down with a mysterious ailment.

Matt Damon as her husband, who is forced to care for her as her condition worsens.

Laurence Fishburne as Dr. Ellis Cheever, head of the CDC (Centers for Disease Control)

Kate Winslet as Erin Mears, a doctor for the CDC.

Jude Law as a blogger with an unfortunate interest in conspiracy theories.

Parts of the movie will also be shot out in Elgin at the old Sherman Hospital, as well as outside a Yorkville High School.

The movie is set for release in October 2011.

cast of contagion- damon, law, winslet, paltrow



Beauty and the Beast

Beauty and the Beast posterIn its 51st season, the Wilmette Children’s Theatre will present its latest production, Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast”. beginning this Friday night in the auditorium at the Wilmette Community Rec Center.

The Wilmette Children’s Theatre is a unique and multifaceted program of the Wilmette Park District. It s designed to provide a live theatre experience to both its participants and the audience.

There will be eight shows:

Fridays, October 8 and 15 at 7 pm
Saturdays, October 9 and 16 at 2 pm and 7 pm
Sundays, October 10 and 17 at 2 pm

Tickets can be purchased at the Rec Center front desk (3000 Glenview Rd.) or online. Call 847-256-9686 for more info.


Wilmette Home Sales by Elementary School District: January – September 2010

I find that people always seem to want real estate data on the most granular level they can get it. In particular, people want to know about the schools and how they compare, not only academically, but also in terms of home values. So I prepared this chart showing how Wilmette’s home sales break down by elementary school. Central School, being the biggest of the four schools, naturally has the most sales and the most active listings. It’s also the most expensive part of town, with the highest median sale price.

Home Sales by Elementary School District: January – September 2010

Wilmette Home Sales by Elementary School DistrictSource: MRED LLC- Single family home sales. Deemed reliable but not guaranteed.


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Wilmette’s Antiques Row

Alexis Vintiques in Wilmette

If you’re an antique lover Wilmette’s Antiques Row is your destination for an afternoon of serious browsing. Although not an official name, the stretch of Ridge Rd between Lake and Wilmette Avenues has become known locally as Antiques Row because of the collection of stores clustered in those few blocks. Now we have a new one to cement the moniker. Collector’s Corner has moved in to the location at the corner of Lake and Ridge Roads, making it the northernmost stop on the Row. Here’s a rundown of the six shops:

Heritage Trail Mall Antique Emporium

Heritage Trail Antiques Mall410 Ridge Rd.
(847) 256-6208
Hours: Monday-Friday 11:00-5:30; Saturday 10:00-5:30; Sunday 12:00-5:00

Heritage Trail is the oldest antiques store on Ridge Rd. It was opened in 1993 by owners Joan and Jerry Carlson, who still manage the mall with the help of daughters Lisa Chrisopoulos and Kirsten Carlson. The mall has over seventy dealers and sells just about everything: furniture, jewelry, artwork, light fixtures, glassware, porcelain, books and silver. The dealers’ stalls are packed to the gills with their finds and you can get lost in here for hours (and I have) poking around.  Heritage Trail also has a flea market twice a year, the first Sunday in May and October. (This year’s fall flea market is coming up on October 3rd from 9-5). You can get great bargains directly from dealers in the parking lot and there is also merchandise on sale inside the store.

Pandora’s Box

Pandora's Box416 Ridge Rd.
(847) 251-4416
Hours: Wednesday & Saturday 10:00-5:00; and random other times

Pandora’s Box is a two-story treasure trove right next to Heritage Trail.   Jenny Zervas opened the store in 2006 and characterizes her merchandise as “domestic eclectic”. She buys her stuff at estate sales or on Craig’s List and she is always on the lookout for unique or unusual pieces. Most of it is antique or vintage but she’s open to having a few new things if they fall into the unusual or interesting category. She also has a fondness for frames, so there are lots of them displayed around the shop.

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The Big Top Comes to Wilmette

circuslogoThere is something about a tent circus that makes me nostalgic. Not that I ever went to a tent circus when I was a kid. By that time Barnum and Bailey was a three-ring extravaganza you had to drive all the way downtown to the Civic Center to see. It didn’t arrive on a train in the dead of night (at least I don’t think it did). There was no tent. And you had to drive 40 minutes and pay to park in some big underground parking garage. Not exactly small town Americana.

But I did see movies about how circuses used to be in the good old days. My favorite was a Disney one called Toby Tyler about a kid who runs away from home to join the circus. He starts out with a job peddling concessions and then (somehow) manages to work his way up to being a bareback rider (within about a week of joining the circus!). I willingly suspended my disbelief and imagined myself as Toby doing acrobatics on the back of a horse to the cheers of the crowd.

So, I’m looking forward to indulging my childhood fantasies once again when the circus comes to Wilmette. The Kelly Miller Circus is a traditional tent circus with elephants, horses, a dog act, clowns, trapeze artists and jugglers as well as a midway. The proceeds from the circus will go to support the District 39 Education Foundation, which provides funding for enrichment activities and programs for the District’s six schools. (Full disclosure: I am on the board of the Foundation).

Not to be missed is the elephant-powered raising of the big top at 9:00 am on the morning of the circus. This is sure to be a kid-pleaser and there is no charge to attend.

Two performances will be held on Saturday, September 25 at 2:00 and 5:30 pm.  Tickets are $25. They can be purchased at Lad & Lassie, Fuel, The Noodle, or Depot Nuevo in downtown Wilmette, at Nail Art on Ridge Rd. or at the Mikaelian Center on Locust Rd. They can also be ordered online at

For those who are not into the circus (or are afraid of clowns), you can still support the District 39 Education Foundation by buying raffle tickets. They are $10 apiece or $25 for three tickets. First prize is $1000 cash, second prize is $500 and third prize is $250. Raffle tickets are available at the same outlets where circus tickets are sold (or you can buy them online).

Circus tenttiger act

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Fall Festivals on the North Shore

Face Painting at Fall Festival

Face Painting at Fall Festival

Summer may be coming to a close, but there are still lots of opportunities to get out with the family and enjoy some fun fall festivals on the North Shore. Here’s a round-up of festivals in September and October 2010:

Cruise the Backlot

Village Green, 5201 Oakton, Skokie
September 15,  6-9 pm

Browse 75 classic cars and enjoy food, fun and entertainment on the Village Green.


Village Green Park, 1320 Shermer Rd., Northbrook
September 19

Enjoy an old-fashioned day at the park, with an antique car show, music and children’s activities.

Highwood Last Call Art Fair

Intersection of Sheridan Rd. and Highwood Ave., Highwood
September 25-26, 10 am – 5 pm

Live music, food and activities for the kids. Free admission. Call 847-926-4300 for more info.

Ridge Road Fall Fest

Ridge Rd. between Lake and Wilmette Avenues, Wilmette
September 25, 10 am – 1 pm

Held in conjunction with St. Joseph Parish Oktoberfest, the Ridge Road Fall Fest features free pony rides, moon bounce and other children’s activities. The Oktoberfest (corner of Ridge Rd. and Lake Ave.) goes til 4 pm with an antique market, games, contests and entertainment. At 6:00 pm there is an adults-only party with German food and beer, oompah music and dance music by PopRocks.

Deerfield Historical Society Fall Festival

517 Deerfield Rd, Deerfield
September 26, 12-4 pm

A family-friendly event with a classic car show, book sale, craft demonstrations, food and live entertainment. Call 847-948-0680 for more info.

WFamily Harvest Festival

Westfield Old Orchard, Skokie (near L.L. Bean and Crate and Barrel stores)
October 23, 12-5 pm

Pumpkin Patch, corn and hay maze, games, rides, crafts and entertainment, including an appearance by Curious George.



St. Joseph Catholic Church

St. Joseph Church in WilmetteDriving west on Lake Avenue from downtown Wilmette, you can’t miss the majestic facade of St. Joseph Catholic Church . St. Joseph Church is the oldest religious congregation and one of two Catholic churches in the Village of Wilmette (the other is St. Francis Xavier in east Wilmette). It was founded in 1845 by German Catholic farmers who settled in the area once known as Gross Point, on the western edge of Wilmette.

The first church building was a log cabin built in 1843 on the northwest corner of Ridge Rd. and Lake Ave., near the site of the present cemetery. The log cabin was replaced by a frame church in 1850 and this was replaced by a large brick church in 1869. Due to poor construction, that building only lasted sixty years. The current Art Deco style church was built on the southeast corner of Ridge and Lake and dedicated in 1939. After World War II an annex and convent was added.

St. Joseph School, which is located across the street, was built in the late 1930′s but was forced to close its doors in 1986 as a result of post-baby boom demographic shifts. It was reopened ten years later starting with the preschool. By 1998 the entire school had been renovated and updated to serve children from preschool through 8th grade.

If you’re not Catholic the most notable thing about St. Joseph (besides its imposing structure) is their annual Oktoberfest, held on a Saturday each fall in conjunction with the Ridge Road Fall Festival. There’s an outdoor antiques fair, which has great deals (especially at the end of the day) and a family festival with games, contests and entertainment. The adult party starts at dusk with a traditional German dinner complete with oompah music, followed by dancing under the stars.

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