Thursday, August 28, 2008

A Day in the Life of Downtown Elgin

They say you can’t judge a person until you walk a mile in their shoes.

This fall, I’ll be stepping out of my signature three-inch heels and stepping into the shoes of the downtown business owner.

I’m not looking to judge, but rather to understand what life is really like for our downtown businesses. During the months of September and October, I’ll be working one day a week at a downtown shop or restaurant – serving food, selling jewelry, mixing cocktails . . . whatever the job calls for.

My goal here is to help our organization better serve our businesses. I want to experience their struggles and their successes first hand. And I want to tell all of you about it in my column, so you can experience them, too. I hope this insider’s perspective will give us all a better understanding and appreciation for what it takes to be a downtown in the midst of revitalization.

My first crack at this will be serving lunch at the Elgin Public House the week of September 15. I’ll let you know the exact day soon so you can come and harass me. I have never worked in a restaurant before, so if I mess up your order, I sincerely apologize ahead of time.

More to come on this exciting project in next week’s column. Stay tuned.

The kids are back in school (Did I just hear a collective “whoo hoo!” from some exhausted parents?) and the summer is coming to a close. But there are still a handful of great family friendly events in downtown for you to make the summer last just a little longer.

September 5-7 is the annual end of summer carnival on the former Gail Borden Library parking lot at the corner of Kimball St. and N. Grove. There are unlimited ride specials on Saturday and Sunday from 1 to 5 p.m., so kids can ride the Zipper until they puke. Doesn’t that sound like fun?

On September 6, more than 200 show cars will take over the City Hall parking lot on Douglas Ave. for the Downtown Elgin “Back to the Future” Car & AFV Show. Everything from old Model T’s to new electric cars will be on display. The event goes from 9am to 3pm and it’s free.

Also on September 6 the Boys & Girls Club will host its 10th annual Duckapolooza in Festival Park where thousands of rubber duckies will compete to win the grand prize of one million dollars, and thousands of dollars in other prizes. Yes, I did say one million. There’s an awesome lineup of bands this year too, including Drop, Bagshot Row, The Lenny's, Kashmir, Blue Truth and Nick Moss and the Flip Tops. This event starts at noon and ends around 11 p.m.

Closing out the summer is the 10th annual Fiesta Salsa on September 13 in Festival Park. This event is jam-packed with food, dancing, music, a jalapeno eating contest, a salsa making contest, a parade through downtown and more. The parade begins at noon and the event runs until 11 p.m.

For more information on these events, or other fun ways to spend your time and money in downtown Elgin, call the Downtown Neighborhood Association at 847-488-1456.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Downtown Elgin Top 10 List - August 28, 2008

Top 10 List

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Click here to have the Top 10 List delivered to you every week. All those who sign up in August will be placed in a drawing to win a $10 gift card from Ravenheart Coffee.