Thursday, June 12, 2008

A Flickr Timeline of Downtown Elgin

Check out this mashup of Flickr called Tickr.

This is an embedded version using "downtown elgin il" as the search phrase.

You can view the results above in four ways.
Timeline, List View, Flipbook or Map View.
The Flipbook is like Coverflow, you can click on the stacked images on the sides to flip through the collection.

Try your own searches here.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

"Green" Bags & CFL Bulbs at Harvest Market

The City of Elgin will be giving away 200 "Green Bags" and energy efficient CFL light bulbs to Harvest Market customers on Thursday, June 12th from 10 am to 6 pm. Harvest Market is in the Civic Center parking lot at the corner of Highland and Douglas in downtown Elgin. You can purchase an assortment of fruits, vegetables, flowers, delicious jams, healthy gourmet dog treats, bread, pies, muffins and scones, free range meats and eggs, cheese, pickles, and olive oil.

Pics of the bag, CFL bulb, Cheddar Jalapeño bread and the bag tag.
Go to to find out more about the city's green efforts.
The 250 bags ran out at 1pm. Everyone that received one can return next week and use it to carry their purchases home.

Monday, June 09, 2008

Downtown Elgin Pub Crawl and American Pie

Somebody famous is coming to Downtown Elgin.

I will give you a couple clues to guess who it is. If you aren’t under the age of 30, you may want to phone a friend, or your kids, on this one.

Okay, clue number one: He played “Kevin” in the American Pie films in the late 1990’s/early 2000’s. If you don’t know him as Kevin, you might know him as the kid who made out with Tara Reid in the film. Eeeww.

Clue number two: He played Henry Rowengartner, a pre-pubescent kid turned professional pitcher for the Chicago Cubs, in the film Rookie of the Year, released in 1993.

And clue number three: At the age of 12, I was convinced that he was the man I was going to marry. That doesn’t really help you, but I feel better now that I have confessed that to someone.

Give up? It’s Thomas Ian Nicholas. If you don’t know him by name, Google him. You would probably recognize his face.

Thomas will be hanging out in Downtown Elgin in August – not as an actor but as a musician. First, he and his band will be opening for Starship and Blues Traveler at Fox Fire Fest on August 2. Then, he will be hosting and playing the Downtown Elgin Pub Crawl on August 15.

Why would Thomas Ian Nicholas, the “Kid in King Arthur’s Court,” even know or care to come to Downtown Elgin anyway, you ask?

He and my husband are actually good friends, which is totally weird for me, for reasons I have already explained.

I actually haven’t met him in person yet. But when I do, I told my husband not to look at me because I will get really embarrassed, which will make me do my “nervous laugh,” which will almost definitely lead to a snort – and that would be utterly mortifying.

But you can meet Thomas up close and personal if you come to the Downtown Elgin Pub Crawl on August 15. He’ll kick off the event with a short outdoor concert in DuPage Court near Al’s Café and hang out with the “crawlers” as they make their way around Downtown Elgin, stopping at Gasthaus, Martini Room, Elgin Public House, Prairie Rock, Villa Verone and La Puesta del Sol. Thomas will close the night out with a full concert at Medusa’s (a.k.a. The Mission for you 30-somethings) where crawlers can win great raffle prizes, including a Harley Davidson XL 1200N Sportster. Sweet.

The Elgin Pub Crawl is organized by Geoffrey Sands from Medusa’s and the Elgin Jaycees and proceeds benefit Little Angels, the Elgin Police Torch Fund and Children’s Theatre of Elgin. Tickets are $20 and are on sale now at most Downtown Elgin businesses and festivals, including Prairie Rock’s Brewfest this weekend in Festival Park.

To learn more about the Pub Crawl visit To learn more about Thomas, visit

And for all you ladies with lingering Thomas Ian Nicholas crushes, before you come out to the Pub Crawl, visit to learn all about Thomas’ super hot Chicago DJ wife – DJ Colette.

Shop Green at Downtown Elgin’s Harvest Market This Thursday

In the City of Elgin, “green” is the new black.

Our city’s vehicle fleet is flanked with hybrid cars. Our streetlamps are running on LED bulbs. The new Sherman Hospital will be heated and cooled by a geothermal lake. Judson University is home to one of the most environmentally-sound academic buildings in North America.

And beginning June 12, you can shop “green” every Thursday at the Downtown Elgin Harvest Market.

Shopping at a local farmers market is an easy way to start living a more “green” and sustainable lifestyle. Not only are you supporting local farmers and preserving precious farmland, but most of the produce and other items are grown organically without those nasty pesticides, antibiotics and hormones.

One of the favorite vendors at Downtown Elgin’s Harvest Market is Gloria’s Gourmet Meat & Eggs. Gloria and her husband Don Hoffer have a farm in Compton, IL where they raise antibiotic- and hormone-free cattle, pigs, and chickens, as well as a set of healthy, six-month old twins named Nicholas and Katherine.

It’s a pretty amazing thing these days to buy a pound of meat from the person who actually raised it.

The first farmers market started back in 1934 on a dirt lot in Los Angeles when a handful of farmers came together to sell their homegrown wares out of the backs of their pick-up trucks. Elgin’s market hasn’t strayed much from that tradition – except the dirt lot is an asphalt parking lot and the department of public health is a little more stringent on its policies. Thank goodness.

Downtown Elgin’s Harvest Market has a great variety of locally grown and produced offerings – from fruits and veggies to multigrain breads to pickles, olive oil, cheese, fresh-cut flowers and even organic dog treats. Hey, even dogs need to eat “green” – your lawn will thank you.

Each market day we will also host an educational or entertainment group with activities related to “green” and healthy living. We are also planning chef demonstrations showing meal that can be made with market products. Details about what is happening when will be available soon at

The Downtown Elgin Harvest Market runs June 12 through September 25 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. in the Civic Parking Lot near City Hall at Douglas and Highland Avenues. And while you are there, be “green” and take a walk around the Downtown to see how its changing.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Amazin' Race 2008

The first Elgin Amazin' Race was a huge success. 19 teams and 100 people scrambled through downtown Elgin solving clues and performing feats of strength and knowledge. Five teams were turned away on Friday because of the 19 team limit. Sign up early next year.
The teams gather at the Elgin Public House waiting for their first clue.
We ran into Armand Young on our way to Festival Park. He has been walking for more than a year. He started the journey he calls, Bamboo the Walk, in Santa Monica, California, and plans to plant the bamboo shoot he carries with him at the former site of the World Trade Center in New York City. Click here for the Courier News article or here for the Life in Elgin post.
Here is the Kickstands Team fresh and ready to compete while waiting for the 1 pm start at Festival Park. Our first challenge was a water balloon toss where you had to successfully toss 10 balloons with a maximum of 30 tries. We were 10 for 10.
After a couple of other stops we found ourselves at The Centre and another challenge, the four-person ski run. This is teamwork.
The next challenge was at the Fountain Square condos. It was a welcome break to stay in air conditioned comfort while solving a Spiderman puzzle.
A couple more stops and we found ourselves at Al's Cafe. Dave volunteered to take one for the team and take the brain freeze challenge.

We finished around 4 pm and headed back to the Public House for dinner and refreshments. I was exhausted but had a great time, I think we traveled about 10 miles.

Link to photos from the Courier.
Article from the Courier News.
Article from the Daily Herald.