Friday, December 18, 2009

Window Wonderland Pictures & Survey

Here are some feel good Window Wonderland pictures for you all to enjoy!

Also if you attended or took part in Window Wonderland feel free to fill out our brief 10 question Window Wonderland survey by this Monday.

Happy Holidays to All!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Window Wonderland Contest Winners

The Downtown Neighborhood Association’s 11th Annual Window Wonderland contest, with the theme of “Home for the Holidays,” had record numbers of window entries with over 40 windows being decorated, up 25% from last year. This year’s window decorating contest winners are:

•People’s Choice Ribbon – Episcopal Church of the Redeemer for 25 S. Grove
•Most Creative Ribbon – Hampton, Lenzini, and Renwick for 50. S. Grove
•Most Thematic Ribbon – Southwest Area Neighbors for 51 S. Grove Avenue
•Best Paint Job Ribbon – Red Bar Winery & Bistro for 74 S. Grove Avenue
•Best Window Display Ribbon – Gifford Park Association for 164 E. Chicago
•Best Rediscovering Downtown Elgin Window Ribbon – Douglas Street Sports Bar & Grill for 231 Douglas
•Student – First Prize – NENA Kids for 8 Douglas Avenue
•Student – Second Prize - Episcopal Church of the Redeemer for 25 S. Grove •Open – First Prize – YWCA for 220 E. Chicago Street
•Open – Second Prize – Gifford Park Association for 164 E. Chicago Street
•Business – First Prize – Hampton, Lenzini, and Renwick for 50. S. Grove
•Business – Second Prize – Ravenheart Coffee at 176 E. Chicago Street.

Windows ranged from holiday nostalgia to winter scenes, to cozy vignettes to tropical holidays, and even displays made out of food. Windows may be viewed around Downtown Elgin until Christmas.

The Downtown Neighborhood Association’s event was sponsored in part by The City of Elgin, Country Financial, and Hampton, Lenzini, & Renwick. For further questions about Window Wonderland or the planning for this event in 2010 please call 847.488.1456.

Downtown Elgin’s Window Wonderland “Home for the Holidays” was one of many activities happening in and around downtown Elgin this past weekend and is part of the city-wide, nonprofit celebration of the holidays for the months of November and December. For further information go to www.elginhomefortheholidays.com

Friday, December 11, 2009

Window Wonderland (& All of its Offerings) Tomorrow!

No more time to procrastinate, it's time to whip out the passports you have picked up this past week or print them from our website and map your day tomorrow.

I have found that there are three kinds of people that will attend this event...

First type, has probably already mapped out the attractions they want to see, the specific time entertainment is showing(like Books at Sunset's Polar Express at 2pm), is having lunch and dinner in Downtown Elgin (even made reservations), and will probably shop while their husband takes the kids to see one of the animal attractions (sledding dogs, live nativity, reindeer) for the third time.

Second type, has to see a little bit of everything and will not only go to Window Wonderland, but will go to the Kim's Black Belt Academy breakfast 9-11am, will donate a toy and canned food to Salvation Army in their bright red collection barrels, eat lunch in Downtown, go on the NENA House Tour, will grab a coffee, finish Window Wonderland with their picture of Santa, have dinner, and then go to the Elgin Symphony's night concert.

Third type, will decide to come last minute, be surprised all that is hiding in Downtown Elgin at 30 passport stops, 10 extra attractions, 41 windows in the Window Wonderland contest, and will probably make some impulse buys, along with great buys and specials through the various discounts being offered by retailers and restaurants. (Check out the passport link for more info)

Whichever one you are, I can't wait to all types tomorrow on a thirty something degree weather with some sun!!

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Downtown Sidewalk Snow Removal

IMPORTANT INFORMATION REGARDING
Downtown Sidewalk Snow Removal

Dear Downtown Property/Business Owners,
As the forecast is calling for snow over the next few days, please be advised that the City's downtown sidewalk snow removal services will be reduced for 2009-2010.

Downtown property/business owners are responsible for clearing snow from their sidewalks and piling it on the curbline (not in the street). The City will remove the mounds of snow at the curb as time allows. The City plans to use restitution workers to assist in downtown snow removal when possible.

The City will continue to clear sidewalks adjacent to City properties, in the City parks, across the bridges, and at handicapped crosswalks, as well as sidewalks in front of vacant properties.

Thank you for your cooperation. Together, we can continue to keep Downtown Elgin looking great for the holiday season.

If you are in need of a shovel, shop local at Ace Hardware at the corner of Spring and Kimball.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

We have put together a short list of snow removal service companies in Elgin who have the capabilities, availability and equipment to handle downtown sidewalk/alley snow removal in the case that you need it. The list was compiled by referrals from property owners/managers.

I have called each of these companies to verify their capabilities and to make sure that they are licensed and insured. All are open to giving multi-business discounts.

Martinez Family Landscaping
717 Linden Ave
Elgin, IL 60120
(847) 429-1800

Tecza Environmental Group
12N442 Switzer Rd
Elgin, IL 60123
(847) 742-3320

Tovar Snow Professional
31377 Spaulding Rd
Elgin, IL 60120
(847) 695-0080

The DNA is not endorsing any of these companies, nor do we have personal experience working with any of them. This is merely a resource list. We hope you find this information helpful.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Operation Elgin Homefront & Salvation Army Donations at Downtown Elgin’s Window Wonderland

In conjunction with Downtown Elgin’s 11th Annual Window Wonderland, Operation Elgin Homefront and the Salvation Army will be collecting donations for military personal and local civilians on Saturday, December 12, 11am – 5pm. Enjoying local business specials and unique attractions already at Window Wonderland, families will have the opportunity to give donations at various drop-off locations in the Downtown vicinity.

Operation Elgin Homefront is a partnership between Books at Sunset, the American Legion Post 57 and the VFW Post 1307 to engage a new generation in sustaining the troops overseas via communications and hard-to-find supplies. The hope is that soldiers stationed overseas, under physical duress with many experiencing financial, as well as family sacrifices, would beyond a doubt, realize their own community, young and old, remembers. On December 12, along with collection boxes, monetary donations can be made at Mad Maggie’s (51 South Grove) where there will be WW II themed music and performances, as well as an area for card & letter writing and creating snowflakes for all ages. There will also be an “Overseas Soldier’s Wish List” up in S. Grove window at Mad Maggie’s over the Thanksgiving holiday and will be on the Downtown Neighborhood Association’s website, http://www.downtownelgin.org/ after December 1. For further info contact Books at Sunset at 847.888.1860.

Also on December 12, in Downtown Elgin, the Salvation Army will have 20 large red collection cans at various passport stops in Downtown Elgin for the public to donate unwrapped new toys for children twelve and under, along with non perishable canned or boxed food from 11am – 5pm. Their canteen, serving hot chocolate and Sanfillipo nuts, will be located on the corner of South Grove Avenue and Fulton Street, their collection kettle near the Reindeer in the Civic Center Parking Lot, and their Brass quartet will be playing at the Gail Borden Public Library from 2-4pm. For more information call the Downtown Neighborhood Association office at 847.488.1456.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Buddings of Holiday Color From This Past Weekend


Check out some of the Window Wonderland competition windows that were decorated over the weekend! But don't judge them yet, as most are still being added to and worked on, or will be done over Thanksgiving.

So make sure you come out to vote Dec. 5-12 for your favorite window, by picking up a passport & ballot at participating businesses, the Gail Borden Public Library and Centre. Completed ballots can be dropped off at the Downtown Neighborhood Association's office at 2 Douglas Avenue through their mail slot.

Check out the complete list of windows and schedule of activities and attractions at www.downtownelgin.org after November 25!

Stay “Home for the Holidays” With Downtown Elgin’s Window Wonderland


One does not need to go far to have all of North Pole’s offerings at their doorstep. Downtown Elgin’s 11th Annual Window Wonderland will have all the holiday fixings on Saturday, December 12, 11am – 5pm. There will be live reindeer, chestnuts roasting, Polar express reading, a Christmas Queen, a Live Nativity scene, Ten Thousand Villages Bazaar, free ice skating and heated trolley rides, dog teams mushing around Downtown Elgin, the jolly Santa Claus himself and much more!

Plus there will be a fun-filled passport taking families to 35+ passport stops throughout Downtown Elgin where businesses and community groups will be offering goodies and/or special discounts, along with musical entertainment and activities. The more stops you go to the more offerings are available to you – free picture with Santa after 10 stops and a 50% coupon to a Elgin Symphony Orchestra Concert in the 2009 – 2010 season after 20 stops. Not sure of how you can get your family to all of these stops? Start early on December 5 as eight businesses will be stamping already – get your passport at participating businesses, the Gail Borden Public Library, the City of Elgin’s Tree Lighting ceremony, the Centre, or going to “It’s a Wonderful Life” a live radio play at the Hemmens that day.

Lastly there will be a competitive Window Wonderland contest of 35+ windows for the public to vote on their favorite “Home for the Holidays” themed window for the People’s Choice Award ribbon. These windows will also have a panel of judges who will choose 1st and 2nd place winners competing in the Student, Open, and Business categories and ribbons for the most Thematic, Creative, etc.

The Downtown Neighborhood Association’s event is sponsored in part by The City of Elgin, Country Financial, and Hampton, Lenzini, & Renwick. For more information about Window Wonderland call 847.488.1456 or go to www.downtownelgin.com.

Downtown Elgin’s Window Wonderland “Home for the Holidays” is one of many activities happening in and around downtown Elgin on December 12 and is part of the city-wide, nonprofit celebration of the holidays for the months of November and December. Some of these events are the Elgin Symphony Orchestra’s “Home for the Holiday “concerts at the Hemmens (www.elginsymphony.org ) and Midwest Dance Collective performing the Nutcracker at 1:30pm at the Elgin Art Showcase, Heartland Voices concerts at First United Methodist Church (www.heartlandvoices.org) , NENA’s “Home for the Holiday Tour” at various Downtown residences (www.nenaofelgin.org) , and Kim’s Black Belt Academy’s Toys for Tots Breakfast at their 5 S. Spring location. For further information go to www.elginhomefortheholidays.com

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

History Meets Progress



















Resurfacing of Douglas Avenue is underway! I snapped a couple pics of the old brick streets that have been hiding under the asphalt. Cool stuff.

For more information on the Downtown Streetscape Project, visit http://www.downtownelgin.info/.
Sign up to receive weekly construction updates via email here. Click on "Join the Top Ten Mailing List," then choose "Downtown Streetscape Construction Update."

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Rediscover Downtown Elgin Walking Tour VI

Tomorrow, Jerri McCue, Downtown Neighborhood Association board member and owner of Ravenheart Coffee, will be leading the fourth and last walking tour of the year through Downtown Elgin, specifically on Douglas Avenue and South Spring Street. Tour goers will be lead through many retail and restaurants businesses like Keeney’s Sporting Goods, Villa Verone, Bangkok House, Kim’s Black Belt Academy, Rancho Vargas, Al’s Café & Creamery, Elgin Pianos, Tongue N Chic, WRMN, and Shockey Jewelers! The public is welcome to enjoy this FREE event by meeting at the Harvest Market location, the Civic Center parking lot at the corner of Douglas Avenue and East Highland. In case of rain bring an umbrella, as most of the tour will be inside. For more information contact Jennifer at 847.488.1456 or e-mail jbenson@elginil.org.

Power Outage in Downtown Area on Thursday

**** Special Alert from the Downtown Neighborhood Association ****

Power Outage in Downtown Area on Thursday

Commonwealth Edison is doing work on a transformer near Fountain Square Condos on Thursday, October 8 from 9am to 1pm.

The following buildings/units may experience power outages
lasting 1/2 hour to 1-1/2 hours during this time:

101 E CHICAGO ST
22 S SPRING ST
23 S GROVE AVE
24-26 S GROVE
25 S GROVE AVE *BLDG
25 S GROVE AVE *ELEV
25 S GROVE AVE *PUMP FIRE
25 S GROVE AVE *UNIT 1ST
25 S GROVE AVE *UNIT 2ND
25 S GROVE AVE *UNIT 3RD
25 S GROVE AVE *UNIT 4TH
25 S GROVE AVE *UNIT 5TH
31 S GROVE AVE
33 S GROVE AVE
40 DU PAGE CT *UNIT 212
40 DU PAGE CT
40 DU PAGE CT
40 DU PAGE CT
40 DU PAGE CT
40 DU PAGE CT, 01
47 FOUNTAIN SQ
50 S GROVE AVE *BLDG
50 S GROVE AVE *BLDG
50 S GROVE AVE *UNIT 201
50 S GROVE AVE *UNIT 202
50 S GROVE AVE *UNIT 203
50 S GROVE AVE *UNIT 204
50 S GROVE AVE *UNIT 205
50 S GROVE AVE *UNIT 206
50 S GROVE AVE *UNIT 207
50 S GROVE AVE *UNIT 208
50 S GROVE AVE *UNIT 209
50 S GROVE AVE *UNIT 211
50 S GROVE AVE *UNIT 212
50 S GROVE AVE *UNIT 301
50 S GROVE AVE *UNIT 302
50 S GROVE AVE *UNIT 303
50 S GROVE AVE *UNIT 304
50 S GROVE AVE *UNIT 305
50 S GROVE AVE *UNIT 306
50 S GROVE AVE *UNIT 307
50 S GROVE AVE *UNIT 309
50 S GROVE AVE *UNIT 310
50 S GROVE AVE *UNIT 314
50 S GROVE AVE *UNIT 315
50 S GROVE AVE *UNIT 316
50 S GROVE AVE *UNIT 401
50 S GROVE AVE *UNIT 402
50 S GROVE AVE *UNIT 403
50 S GROVE AVE *UNIT 404
50 S GROVE AVE *UNIT 405
50 S GROVE AVE *UNIT 406
50 S GROVE AVE *UNIT 407
50 S GROVE AVE *UNIT 408
50 S GROVE AVE *UNIT 409
50 S GROVE AVE *UNIT 410
50 S GROVE AVE *UNIT 413
50 S GROVE AVE *UNIT 414
50 S GROVE AVE *UNIT 416
50 S GROVE AVE *UNIT 421
50 S GROVE AVE *UNIT 422
50 S GROVE AVE *UNIT 501
50 S GROVE AVE *UNIT 502
50 S GROVE AVE *UNIT 503
50 S GROVE AVE *UNIT 504
50 S GROVE AVE *UNIT 505
50 S GROVE AVE *UNIT 506
50 S GROVE AVE *UNIT 507
50 S GROVE AVE *UNIT 508
50 S GROVE AVE *UNIT 509
50 S GROVE AVE *UNIT 510
50 S GROVE AVE *UNIT 513
50 S GROVE AVE *UNIT 514
50 S GROVE AVE *UNIT 516
50 S GROVE AVE *UNIT 521
50 S GROVE AVE *UNIT 522
50 S GROVE AVE *UNIT 601
50 S GROVE AVE *UNIT 602
50 S GROVE AVE *UNIT 603
50 S GROVE AVE *UNIT 604
50 S GROVE AVE *UNIT 605
50 S GROVE AVE *UNIT 606
50 S GROVE AVE *UNIT 607
50 S GROVE AVE *UNIT 608
50 S GROVE AVE *UNIT 609
50 S GROVE AVE *UNIT 610
50 S GROVE AVE *UNIT 613
50 S GROVE AVE *UNIT 614
50 S GROVE AVE *UNIT 616
50 S GROVE AVE *UNIT 621
50 S GROVE AVE *UNIT 622
50 S GROVE AVE *UNIT 701
50 S GROVE AVE *UNIT 702
50 S GROVE AVE *UNIT 703
50 S GROVE AVE *UNIT 704
50 S GROVE AVE *UNIT 705
50 S GROVE AVE *UNIT 706
50 S GROVE AVE *UNIT 708
50 S GROVE AVE *UNIT 709
50 S GROVE AVE *UNIT 710
50 S GROVE AVE *UNIT 711
50 S GROVE AVE *UNIT 712
50 S GROVE AVE *UNIT 801
50 S GROVE AVE *UNIT 802
50 S GROVE AVE *UNIT 803
50 S GROVE AVE *UNIT 804
50 S GROVE AVE *UNIT 805
50 S GROVE AVE *UNIT 806
50 S GROVE AVE *UNIT 807
50 S GROVE AVE *UNIT 808
50 S GROVE AVE *UNIT 809
50 S GROVE AVE *UNIT 810
50 S GROVE AVE *UNIT A


If you received a call from ComEd earlier in the week and your address is not on this list,
you will most likely not be affected by this outage.

Thank you for your understanding.

Downtown Neighborhood Association

Thursday, October 01, 2009

The 3/50 Project

Thanks to our friends at the Downtown St. Charles Partnership for bringing an uber cool cause to our attention - the 3/50 Project.

Here's how it works . . .

3 Think about which three independently owned businesses in Downtown Elgin you'd miss most if they were gone. Stop in and say hello. Pick up a little something that will make someone smile. Your contribution is what keeps those businesses around.

50 If just half the employed U.S. population spent $50 each month independently owned businesses, their purchases would generate more than $42.6 billion in revenue. * Imagine the positive impact if 3/4 of the employed population did that.

68 For every $100 spent, in independently owned stores, $68 returns to the community through taxes, payroll, and other expenditures. If you spend that in a national chain, only $43 stays here. Spend it online and nothing comes home.

1 The number of people it takes to start the trend...you.

Pick 3. Spend 50. Support Downtown. Sustain Our Local Economy.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Bicycle to Shop & Bicycle to Eat - All in Downtown Elgin!

Nearly fifty downtown Elgin businesses ranging from Al’s Café & Creamery to Topnotch Tattoo are taking part in an “Elgin by Bike” campaign during the month of September. The purpose of Elgin by Bike is to encourage bicycling and shopping locally. All participants who visit at least ten participating businesses by bicycle may receive a small gift and enter in a raffle to win prizes, including a new Raleigh bicycle from Main Street Bicycles in Carpentersville. Anyone interested in taking part in Elgin by Bike may pick up their Elgin by Bike wallet guide at any of the participating businesses or the Elgin Downtown Neighborhood Association offices. Business employees will initial the guides of any bicycling customers. A helmet is considered evidence enough that one rode a bike to a business.

The Elgin Bike & Dine is another event that promotes both bicycling and local spending. Scheduled for September 19th from 11 am – 4 pm, the Bike & Dine is a 13-mile bike ride and progressive dinner that will visit Ravenheart Coffee, Douglas Street Sports Bar & Grill, In the Neighborhood Deli, Elgin Public House, and Elgin Public Museum (where Al’s Café & Creamery desserts will be served). The cost is $30 and the registration deadline is September 16th. To register, or for more information, call the Elgin Downtown Neighborhood Association at 847-488-1456 or e-mail jbenson@elginil.org.

Elgin by Bike and the Bike & Dine conclude a summer-long bicycle safety campaign in Elgin. For more information on this campaign, visit www.cityofelgin.org/bikes. This campaign was funded by the City of Elgin and federal highway safety funds through the Illinois Department of Transportation. Active Transportation Alliance has worked as the consultant on this campaign. The Elgin Downtown Neighborhood Association partnered on the Elgin by Bike and Bike and Dine events.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Trivia Night in Downtown Elgin

So I went with a girlfriend last night to Trivia Night at Elgin Public House. And man, do I feel dumb.

Who knows what the three parts of a comet are? Anybody? Anybody? Bueller? Bueller?

The three parts are the nucleus, the tail and the coma. I feel like that was buried somewhere deep in my brain from elementary school. Same goes for many of the questions - the answers were in there somewhere, just couldn't dig 'em up. Of course, beer doesn't help.

Though it does help you come up with very funny answers when you don't know the real answer. Which for us was the majority of the time. And probably only the two of us thought they were funny. Whatev.

They say two heads are better than one. When it comes to Trivia Night, 10 heads are better than two. There were 5 large teams playing against eachother, all having a great time, and using their combined brain power to come up with the answers to some pretty difficult questions.

The music round was entertaining. And not just because emcee Brent Edwards was nerd dancing to the sound bytes. The theme was musicals. And the team who got every answer right was made up of young, athletically inclined guys. Kinda funny. Maybe you had to be there.

And you should be there! Check out Trivia Night at Elgin Public House on Wednesday nights starting promptly at 8 p.m. 219 E. Chicago Street in Downtown Elgin. www.ElginPublicHouse.com or call (847) 468-8810.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

What Harvest Market Means to This Girl, This Month

Okay so it is apparent that I am from Maine when I get excited that Fall is coming after what you Midwesterners call a "mild" summer. But I can't help it. When you are born in the fall, have memories of straw, pumpkins, apples, plus the seasonal changes of entering a new grade, a different swing at work, it all accumulates to good times for this girl.

So having a Harvest Market here in Downtown Elgin during this season floods the memories and realities of a bit of the farm, nostalgia, and crisp, warm yummy items. For example I am so searching for gourds and apples tomorrow, along with possible gifts for friends born in September (maybe soaps and yummy brownies?). And since I don't have a bread maker or much patience in making bread I will load up on some bread purchases via Breadsmith. Plus I might grab a snack while I am in shopping mode from the Community Crisis Center (their last day at market!) and get that popcorn they are always popping up. Then Lucy Elliot, a great Downtown partner and Elgin Area Historical Society chica, will be displaying and playing with old fashioned games: no batteries included she says.

Now if all this fall talk has you disgusted, the market will not fail you in continuing on your summer kick. There is still ice cream and lemonade via Oberweis for sure tomorrow, plus many greens and veggies to make those nice grilled recipes the demo chefs have been displaying at the market each month, or a simple salad. Find that meat to grill over Labor Day, treats for the dog, and bring your knifes to get sharpened before guests arrive over the long weekend!

Whatever purpose the market fulfills for you I hope to see you the next couple Thursday's in Downtown Elgin. I'll be that girl with that big red apple in her hand and a tote bag full with gourds;)

Gasthaus September Bands

Madman Karaoke joins 2 for Tuesdays- every Tuesday great $2 specials on food and drink followed by karaoke! And 2 Nicole bartenders!!

Friday Sept. 4th- local punk bands The Turdles, Sleeping Under 47 & Dressed for Radio take the stage!
Saturday Sept. 5th- Human Garbage --local film crew unveils their own "Jackass" type movie premier with special guests Tongues & the Oil Can Boys performing
Sunday Sept. 6th-- Banner Pilot, Bust, Liarbirds, Arms aloft & Written off - Labor day punk fest!

Friday Sept. 11th- Laterdaze Band - awesome classic rock covers for the "grownups!"
Saturday Sept. 12th- enjoy the Downtown Elgin Car & AFV Show in the Civic parking lot. The Gasthaus is a proud sponsor and will be open for lunch that day offering a 10% discount to car show patrons all day and night! Immediately following the car show enjoy great Rockabilly music with The Boneyard Brawlers & The Blue Lincolns from 5 to 9 followed by Negative One - Classic Rock covers at 10:00! A weekend of music we grew up with!!

Friday Sept. 18th- The Return of BLACKENED- Chicago's premier Metallica cover band!!
Saturday Sept. 19th- Pooch Carver opens for Iron Horse Chicago- Motorhead tribute-

Friday Sept. 25th- The Lenny's - great oldies by a great Elgin band!!
Saturday Sept. 26th- Metal Fest- 5 metal bands perform beginning at 8:00 p.m.

Enjoy our $5 lunch specials Monday -Friday
September is ride your bike month-- The Gasthaus is offering a 10% discount when you show your bike helmet for lunch!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Market Cancelled Today

The Harvest Market is cancelled today due to weather. We apologize for the inconvenience.

Market Cancelled Today

The Harvest Market is cancelled today due to weather. We apologize for the inconvenience.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Kings of the NightTime World Playing Saturday

This Saturday, August 29, performing live at the Gasthaus,will be KINGS OF THE NIGHTTIME WORLD. Chicago's only KISS tribute band performing in full make up and costume! You'll think you're seeing the real thing! Show starts at 10:00pm! Have your picture taken with the band after the performance!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Rediscover Downtown Elgin Walking Tour

This Thursday, August 20, 2-3pm, Steve Munson, Downtown Neighborhood Association board members and business owner will be leading the second walking tour of the summer through Downtown Elgin, specifically around the Harvest Market on Division, E. Highland, and North Grove. Tour goers will be lead through historic buildings like the Professional Building and the old, old Gail Borden Public Library; step into tasty restaurants like La Quebrada, La Puesta Del Sol, Quiznos, Domani Café, Gasthaus; experience the retail and services by visiting The Razor’s Edge and Artistic Framing & Supply. The public is welcome to enjoy this free event by meeting at the Harvest Market location, Civic Center parking lot, corner of Douglas Avenue and East Highland. In case of rain bring an umbrella, as most of the tour will be inside. For more information contact Jennifer at 847.488.1456 or e-mail jbenson@elginil.org. The next Rediscover Downtown Elgin walking tour will be September 17, same time and place.

Harvest Market Goes Americana this Thursday

The Downtown Elgin Harvest Market will be hosting its monthly mini-fest with an “Americana” theme this Thursday, August 20, 10am – 4pm. Live entertainment, a cooking demo, and Cow Chip Bingo will set the tone of the mini fest that day. The market is located at the Civic Parking lot in Downtown Elgin (the corner of E. Highland and Douglas Ave.) and is held every Thursday from 10am – 4pm until October 8. The following opportunities and activities will be offered at this “Americana” themed market:

• Cow Chip Bingo
Two cows from a local farm will be let into a pen at 1pm with 132 chalk squares. The first chip to fall will make one person a lucky winner of the “Basket of Bounty” – a basket filled with items from all of the market vendors. To buy your square before 1pm either go to the Downtown Neighborhood Association at 2 Douglas Avenue between 8:30am – 5pm or on Thursday buy them between 10am – 1pm at the market site.

• Entertainment & Art
Enjoy music between noon – 2pm by the Fox River Trio, a folk band featuring locals Paris Donehoo, Beth Iverson, Steve Stauffacher, and John Kauffman. Also during that time will be The Savino Sisters who help sell produce at the Twin Garden Farm booth. The five sister names are Elizabeth (Savino) Nye, Dana, Caitlin, Stephanie, and Gianna Savino. Also there will be an outdoor exhibit of work by artist Deborah Erica Clarkson.

• In the Activate Elgin Booth:
Be sure to stop by at noon for a Cooking demo with Chef Virginia Lopez who will be cooking Grilled Veggie Quesadillas, be sure to get some tips and samples. The City of Elgin will also have information on hand at this booth before and after.

• In the Elgin Climate Change Organization booth:
The Elgin Public Museum will have a weather presentation for kids along with ECCO’s information.

• In the Harvest Market Sponsor Booth: Chiro One Wellness Centers
Get feedback and questions answered with these chiropractic professionals.

• Buy a Harvest Market or Rediscover Downtown Elgin T-shirt (Med – XXL) for $10 or a Tote Bag for $1 while supplies last.

The Downtown Elgin Harvest Market is organized by the Downtown Neighborhood Association (DNA), and partners Activate Elgin, Elgin Community Network (ECN) and Elgin Climate Change Organization (ECCO). The Harvest Market’s main sponsor is Alexian Brothers Hospital Network and supporting sponsors are Chiro One Wellness Centers, Lifetime Health & Wellness Inc., and Rominski Active Healthcare.
For more information about upcoming activities, vendors, etc. contact Jennifer by calling 847.488.1456, e-mailing jbenson@elginil.org.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Gasthaus Band Line-Up for August

Friday 14th- Marc the intern's going to Berkley! Come say goodbye and hear him play guitar! Several guitar masters take the stage to showcase shredding techniques! Followed by local bands to round out the night!

Saturday 15th- It's country night! First Jerry Hudson will perform his tribute to Johnny Cash! Followed by a Gasthaus favorite- The Roadhouse Profits playing today's country hits! Line dancing guaranteed!

Friday August 21st- Backyard opens for Selective Recall- one of The Fox Valley's premier Classic Rock cover bands! Feel like dancing?

Saturday 22nd- Heavy rock covers performed by Rough Trade, and Stone Free!

Friday 28th- Jam night- come enjoy a night of jam bands- featuring Rhombus!

Saturday 29th- This is a night you do NOT want to miss-- KINGS OF THE NIGHTTIME WORLD- A KISS tribute band in full costume!! We want to Rock and Roll all night & party every day!!

The Gasthaus is now open for lunch- great specials- many $5 or less! Daily drink specials! We're new and improved!

Monday, August 10, 2009

An interesting fact to note about the Downtown Elgin HarvestMarket is the additional shopping that consumers do in the businessdistrict. According to one of my recent consumer dot surveys, 26% ofthe people noted that they would be spending $1-$10 while on this tripat a local establishment. When I questioned what types of purchaseswere going to be made, most said that they ate or were going to eat at alocal restaurant like Quiznos. Additionally, 22% of the people surveyedmarked that they would be spending between $10 and $30. Some of therespondents in this category said that they were going to places likeMad Maggie's and Red Bar Winery.

These facts illustrate that the HarvestMarket draws consumers to the downtown Elgin area for more than just vendors selling fresh produce and specialty items. Local businesses are thriving and their long-term sustainabilityis being reinforced by the patrons that frequent the market each and every week. The downtown area is expanding rapidly primarily because of the support given to local businesses, and showing that Elgin is capable of considerable economic growth. Shopping at the Harvest Market is the first step in showing that you care about Elgin!

Keep it up!

My purchases:

Gloria's Gourmet Meats-One pink rose $1
Twin Garden Farms-Half dozen Mirai Corn $4

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Thursday July 16, 2009 harvest market recap

The Peruvian market was filled with interesting sights and sounds that made the atmosphere on this particular day one of a kind. My favorite part had to have been Inkapirka, an Ecuadorian pan flute band from Wisconsin. Nothing compares to renditions of my favorite Elton John and Beatles tunes while volunteering at the market!

Today my two main tasks were conducting my second consumer survey and filming a YouTube video that is going to profile the atmosphere of the Harvest Market. My consumer survey had over 75 responses, and is telling me some important information about why people come and what they come for. This week I learned about spending patterns in the surrounding business district and in the Harvest Market, how frequently consumers purchase organic foods, and why people tell others to shop at the Harvest Market. In the middle of recruiting consumers to take my survey, I helped direct Tony from Hudson Productions with the video shoot. We captured some great footage of the live alpacas, the tribal drum group from Heather's Studio for Drums and Percussion, and El Cenzontle dance troupe. Also in the mix were a few customer testimonials and interviews with our vendors Sweet Whimsy and Twin Garden Farms. Be sure to check the video out, you can find the link through Facebook when complete!

Unfortunately this week I was strapped for cash, so my purchases were minimal:
PawPrint Barkery
One Pig Ear $2
Gloria's Gourmet Meats
One package Beef jerky $5

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Waffle Fries and the (Almost) All-New Gasthaus

Funny, the things that inspire us.

I haven't blogged in a while, but today I just couldn't help myself. I was inspired by the strangest thing . . . waffle fries.

I ordered lunch to go at Gasthaus. YES! Gasthaus is open for lunch (and dinner for that matter). I ordered a BLT wrap from their surprisingly varied and "non-bar food" menu, and my good friend Ack asked me if I would like regular fries or waffle fries.

OMG...the only thing I love more than waffles is waffle fries.

I was reminded of the first time I ever had them - at Shoney's on Rte. 25 in Carpentersville. Anybody remember that place?

Anyways, the fries were great and the wrap was great, too.

You can check out the (almost) all-new Gasthaus and its almost all-new menu (there are still some German favorites on there) at the DNA's Out to Lunch on Monday, July 27 at Noon.

Our speakers are the Elgin Bicycling Ambassadors. Some of you may have seen them at Wing park concerts, the Harvest Market, or at other events promoting bicycling in Elgin.

The cost is $10.50, all inclusive, for lunch. To RSVP call 847.488.1456 or e-mail jbenson@elginil.org by Friday, July 24.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Peruvian Harvest Market

Downtown Elgin Harvest Market will be Peruvian themed with live entertainment and live alpacas to add some South American flavor to the market on Thursday, July 16. Located at the Civic Parking lot in Downtown Elgin (the corner of E. Highland and Douglas Ave.) the market is held every Thursday from 10am – 4pm until October 8. The following opportunities and activities will be offered at the Peruvian market:

Live Alpacas
An alpaca or two from Rivendell Alpaca farm here in Elgin will be on site for the public to meet and learn about, including what clothing items you can make out of their fleece.

Entertainment
Enjoy music throughout the day by Inkapirka, an Ecuadorian pan flute band from Wisconsin, and between noon and 2pm El Cenzontle, a dance troupe from Church of the Redeemer here in Downtown Elgin, a tribal drum group from Heather’s Studio for Drums and Percussion.

In the Activate Elgin Booth:
Listen and ask questions during “Robin’s Ramblings on Food and Health” with Robin Migalla, along with enjoying a cooking demo at noon with a grilled vegetable salad. Enjoy some samples!

In the Elgin Climate Change Organization booth:
Create sugar skull masks and/or paper marigolds with the Elgin Public Museum for Dia de Los Muertos – “Day of the Dead”.

In the Harvest Market Sponsor Booth: Rominski Active Health
Get feedback and questions answered with these chiropractic professionals.

Buy a Harvest Market T-shirt (Med – XXL) for $10 or a Tote Bag for $1 while supplies last.

Highlighted Vendor of the Week: Olives 4 You
Pierre welcomes you with a “Bonjour” and a debonair smile while methodically keeping his olive containers neat and in a straight row with more than 15 varieties of olives, and pita bread, hummus, tapenade, and bab ganosh on either side. Perfect for snacks, Mediterranean dinner, pita sandwiches to take to work and so gosh darn yummy, this should be a staple to get at the Harvest Market. For more information on their olive varieties go to www.olives-4-you.com

The Downtown Elgin Harvest Market is organized by the Downtown Neighborhood Association (DNA), and partners Activate Elgin, Elgin Community Network (ECN) and Elgin Climate Change Organization (ECCO). The Harvest Market’s main sponsor is Alexian Brothers Hospital Network and supporting sponsors are Chiro One Wellness Centers, Lifetime Health & Wellness Inc., and Rominski Active Healthcare. For more information about upcoming activities, vendors, etc. contact Jennifer by calling 847.488.1456, e-mailing jbenson@elginil.org or visiting http://www.downtownelgin.com/Page.aspx?ID=149&PID=17

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

July 9, 2009 Harvest Market

July 9, 2009 Harvest Market
For a moment, I would like to focus on the short distance that most of these items travel to get to the market, and the impact it has on the environment. According to sparkpeople.com, the average food item travels over 1300 miles to get to your table. This puts a strain on an enormous amount of energy and resources across the United States, while also creating significant problems for the environment. Not to mention, the product must suffer in regards to freshness and quality due to the duration of the transportation. Vendors at the Downtown Elgin Harvest Market are aware of these facts and pride themselves in bringing fresh produce from a very short distance. When talking to Twin Garden Farms at the market today they mentioned that their location in Harvard, Illinois is less than 25 miles away. Because they are so close, they use a significantly smaller amount of fossil fuels when transporting their product which aids the environment, and deliver a more nutritious product than many commercial sources. Facts like these are why I choose to shop at the Downtown Elgin Harvest Market.

This week, my mother came along to the market today for the first time, and couldn't help but make some purchases of her own:
Windy City Farms
1/2 Pound of white asparagus, 1/2 Pound of green asparagus- 2 For $5.00
Copa Do Sol
French Malongo decaf coffee $15.00 For 8oz. can
Sweet Whimsy
One raspberry and one caramel walnut specially cake $4 ea.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

July 2, 2009 Harvest Market

One of my favorite parts about the Downtown Elgin Harvest Market is the atmosphere that I get to enjoy on a weekly basis. Meeting genuine people and the great conversations that follow make my trip to Elgin from Aurora a worthwhile commute. It is so relaxing going into my volunteer efforts knowing that I am going to have a great day because of the stress-free environment that a farmers market embodies. Today, I started by greeting all of the vendors and passing out my weekly survey. These surveys are helping me find out important information regarding each vendor such as peak times for sales, how many transactions were made in a given day, and what their top products sold were. In my conversations I can tell that all of the businesses that participate are comprised of hard-working people that truly care about the customers. They are not just in it for the money!
Of course my blog would not be complete without mentioning my weekly purchases. They say it's always better to give than to receive, and it seems that the saying holds true in my mind when shopping at the Harvest Market. Today, I couldn't help but thinking of my significant others’ fond desire for anything involving cinnamon. I stopped at La Spicera and Pierre recommended some finely ground Vietnamese cinnamon that he had just got in. Afterwards, I proceeded to Breadsmith where a cinnamon roll and a cinnamon scone found their way into my tote bag. I couldn't help but steal a small bite of the cinnamon roll and wow! What a treat. The quality and freshness of these products was excellent. What more is there to say, it was another successful day at the market!

Harvest Market Recap- July 2


I hope everyone had a happy 4th of July! Melissa here from Activate Elgin. This past Thursday's market again was a bustle of activity, and the weather was perfect to do some last minute shopping for the holiday weekend. I was not an exception, as I stocked up on some goodies to bring to the lakehouse for an Independence Day feast. I also brought my puppy Layla to meet some new friends and sample some tasty treats!

Layla and I first went to the Pawprint Barkery for some of her favorite treats- peanut butter cookies! (I later found out that my roommate tried snacking on these cookies while I was gone because they look and smell like the real thing!) We then made our way down the rows of vendors and stopped for some focaccia bread, cherries, tomatoes, corn, cheddar cheese, and specialty olive oil. I also grabbed a hot dog and some popcorn to top it off with a quick lunch. After leaving the market, I headed up to Wisconsin to spend some quality time with the family. The focaccia bread was dipped in the olive oil as a snack, and the cherries, tomatoes, and corn accented our 4th of July picnic out on the boat. These items went over BIG, even though I didn't buy the cheese in cheese country!

I was also sure to check out the educational booths while I was at the market. The Elgin Area Historical Museum was teaching people how to make butter- such a great idea if you couldn't wait to get home to munch on some of your goodies from the Breadsmith. The League of Women Voters space was also bustling with people registering to vote, and Ina was hard at work at the DNA booth entering people in the raffle and promoting downtown businesses.

Be sure to check out this coming market day on July 9th- there will be plenty of familiar faces, new foods to try and interesting sights to see :)


Friday, June 26, 2009

June 18, 2009 Market Summary

When talking to consumers at today's market, more people are focusing on the healthy choices they can make by purchasing foods from local farmers markets. These purchases are not only beneficial for consumers, but have a positive impact on the environment and promote sustainability of local businesses. In the past, I have not always shopped at farmers markets however working at the Downtown Elgin Harvest market has changed my outlook when I purchase foods for my household.
This week after work I made some great buys from some of our vendors at the market. Twin Garden Farms was my first stop where I purchased boldly colored yellow and red peppers, along with fresh corn that had just been placed in bags a few days before. As I made my way down the line, I found myself at PawPrint Bakery to buy ostrich jerky for my neighbor’s 150 pound Newfoundland. Debbie the owner advised me that I could cut the large strip in half if it is too much for the dog however, that was not the case as Gracie devoured it in a matter of a few bites! I finished my round of purchases at Olives 4 You where I couldn't help but think of my mother's fond desire for Mediterranean olives. These locally produced products were all affordably priced, and supporting local businesses made me feel good about my decision to buy at a farmers market.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Gasthaus's Weekend Bands for July

Friday July 3rd- Alterior Motives, Gates of Dis, & Caldera- classic metal covers (Slayer/Pantera) & originals
Saturday July 4th- Punk Night- Join us for your favorite local punk pands including the Oil Can Boys!

Friday July 10th- is a night of metal madness with The Madhatters & Develin
Saturday- Nitrous Rockside takes the stage playing your favorite classic rock covers from the 70s through today!

Friday July 17th- Southern Jack performs the best of ZZ top, Lynard Skynard, The Allman Brothers & all your other favorite southern rock bands!
Saturday July 18th- Local metal and rock bands including Dont' tell Momma, Article B, & Still Kickin perform!

Friday July 24th- The Bungdoons, Hay Perro, & the Repulsators - punk rock is alive in Elgin!
Saturday July 25th- Life Sentence & The Pimps- High energy classic rock is performed! PLUS- the Elgin Bar crawl- a night of music/prizes and great entertainment!

Kitchen is now open serving great wraps, sandwiches, appetizers & even a couple of classic German favorites! Stop in today! Open for lunch beginning in July!!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Parade in the works

The 4th of July Parade is coming along nicely. I never realized how many people want to be in a parade before. Once all the paper work is done the real challenge then becomes getting people in order on the day of the parade. I can only imagine the (organized?) chaos that will ensue on that day. People really seem to care about this event which is good. The amount of people in this event makes me appreciate the amount of logistics that are involved in this. The amount of people really makes this amazing.

--

There was a reporter who came in yesterday asking what was going on in the downtown area. We gave her a few ideas and talked about what's happening in the downtown area. She was a change of pace from a few people I've seen walk in here so far. A few eccentrics have walked in here talking about the town. Well, to be fair they're really more passionate than anything else. They have an investment, having lived here for so long, they can't just stand by and let things happen. This is where our organization becomes the unoffical "suggestion box."

It's usually someone older, who still wants to be active in some way. If I keep working here long enough I could probably learn enough history from them to fill up another blog. The next time the reporter is in here I should probably just send her to one of the people who come in here. It will either be a great article or the Courier News will bill me for wasting a reporters time.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Initial Harvest Market Grocery Purchases

I finally was able to go grocery shopping at the market this past Thursday after eyeing the food items longingly the previous week during Opening Day. Now, five whole days later, I am wondering if I need to talk to my husband about changing our budget to accommodate weekly purchasing as half of the below items are gone. And don’t think it is for summer hors d'oeuvres to entertain the friends on the veranda or anything like that. My husband and I work hard for our money and have found that most of what we eat is at the market. Take into account my first purchases of the season:
  • 1 Cherry Almond Scone (Breadsmith)
    Mid-morning snack, gone as soon as I got back to the office Thursday, soooo tasty!
  • ½ a Hotdog (In the Neighborhood Deli)
    Sigi actually bought this and shared with me.
  • 1 Small bag of Dill Cheddar Cheese Curds (Gloria’s Gourmet Meats)
    My sister, husband and I polished it off while partaking in…
  • 1 Roasted Garlic Hummus (Olives 4 You)
    Completely gone in one seating with some tortilla chips I had in my pantry.
  • 1 Cute box of Ham and Cheese Dog Treats (Paw Print Barkery)
    My friend’s two golden’s inhaled them like they are never spoiled in that household.
  • 1 Carmel Pecan Brownie (Sweet Whimsy/Monkey Bar)
    A tasty treat for dessert on Friday, so moist, and all the ingredients I can pronounce!
  • 6 Ears of Mirai Corn (Twin Garden Farms)
    Also gone for dinner Friday and Saturday, and were good despite our overcooking. There are also stories of a city staff member eating the raw corn on her drive home every Thursday.
  • 1 Loaf of Honey White Bread (Breadsmith)
    Still have a couple slices left, but I have been diligently eating it for a snack or with dinner, with butter, jam, toasted or not. This also has ingredients I can pronounce and has less than ten ingredients to make dense, tasty bread.
  • 1 Container of Blueberries (Windy Acres Farm)
    Tasty in French Vanilla yogurt or just plain to go with my lunch today.
  • 2 White and I Red Onions (Windy Acres Farm)
    Overestimated the onions I had left, so they are patiently waiting in my fridge.
  • 3 Green Peppers (KAP Farms)
    I also underestimated the peppers I had left over from those “other” stores. Maybe I will have stuffed peppers one of these nights.
  • 1 Bag of Lettuce (KAP Farms)
    My husband likes it in his sandwiches he takes to work.
  • 1 Pound of Hamburger (Gloria’s Gourmet Meats)
    Starting to unthaw now in my fridge.
  • 1 Spice Container of Smoked Sea Salt (La Spiceria)
    This was to appease my husband as he is an addict for anything smoky or salty.
  • 1 Package of Wheat Linguine (Gloria’s Gourmet Meats)
    Have not broken it out yet, but I am thinking a light pasta dish one of these hot summer days this week.
  • 1 Bunch of Asparagus (Windy Acres)
    Waiting for the chance to grill out.
  • 3 Zucchini (KAP Farms)
    Will become Zucchini bread before the week is over and who knows maybe after Thursday there will be blueberry cake, raspberry tarts, more grilling, etc.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Opening day at the Harvest Market

My first experience at the Downtown Elgin Harvest Market was filled with friendly faces and fresh food! When I first arrived it looked as if there was the potential for rain, but it turned out to be a warm sunny day with a nice cool breeze. I started the day by meeting all of the vendors that will be participating in this year's market and telling them about the free reusable tote bags available for customers . It looks like we are going to have a great lineup offering all kinds of fresh produce, along with unique products that you will not be able to find in your grocers freezer!
After greeting the vendors I got down to work. One of my main tasks as the intern for the Harvest Market will be conducting consumer surveys next to the Downtown Neighborhood Association tent. These surveys are going to help me compile data relevant to the market so I can log results for this year, and recommend areas of improvement for the 2010 season. I started recruiting people to take my dot survey, and before I knew it I had over 50 responses. As the day progressed, it seemed like more and more people came to the market on their breaks from work looking for that perfect lunchtime option. Conveniently, the organic hotdog vendor was on site taking care of appetites (including my own). When the market came to a close I packed up my survey materials and chatted with the vendors one last time. Overall, the opening day for the market was a great success and I look forward to helping every Thursday!

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Harvest Market Top Ten on Opening Day

The time has come to peruse this weekly market which opens Thursday, June 11 10am - 4pm and is every Thursday until October 8, where area growers bring fresh, quality vegetables, fruits, bread, meat, eggs, olive oil and more in this neighborhood setting in Downtown Elgin at the Civic Parking Lot - corner of E. Highland & Douglas Avenue.

So here are the Top Ten reasons to check out opening day at the market this Thursday:

1) The Harvest Market Vendors
Welcome and sample new vendors like Oberweis, Monkey Bar, Copa do Sol, and later on in the year Royal Oak Farms and Oriana's Orchard. But don't worry the “regulars” are all back like the "Dog lady", Breadsmith, "Olive Man", "Spice Man", Gloria's Meats & Eggs, KAP Farms, Windy Acre Farms, and the "Mirai Corn" folk!

2) Chicago Bandit’s “Veggie Pitch”
The 2008 World Champion Chicago Bandits will be testing their fast pitch skills not with 12 inch softballs, but with vegetables! Not only will the Bandits be tossing veggies around, but they will be signing autographs as well as giving Harvest Market customers a quick lesson in how to really pitch a softball. (Must be at least 18 years old to play ball) They will also be raffling off game tickets and an autographed pennant.

3) FREE Harvest Market Reusable Tote Bags
NEW THIS YEAR you can own a free Harvest Market tote bag by showing us your proof of purchase at the market and then reuse it again, again, and again while promoting we are your preferred market. And plus our bags are eco-friendly made out of 100% recyclable materials!

4) Harvest Market Sponsors
Alexian Brothers Hospital Network has partnered with the Harvest Market as its main sponsor to bring you those spiffy eco-friendly tote bags mentioned previously and will be at the market every week helping your overall wellness. On Opening Day they will be providing blood pressure and body fat screenings, pedometers and step tracking logs and other health related information.

But not to be left out, our supporting sponsors of the market are chiropractic in nature from Chiro One Wellness Centers, to Lifetime Health and Wellness, and Rominski Active Healthcare. These three will rotate in and out during the season offering various information, advice, etc. Lifetime Health and Wellness will have a money box where everyone can grab a prize like t-shirts and various chachkeys.

5) Activate Elgin Educational Booth
Learn about this great partnership that concentrates on combating obesity and is all about eating healthy. They will have handouts and giveaways at their booth, along with hosting a cooking demo with Chef Virginia Lopez at noon. Come learn how to make Veggie Kabobs and savor a sample! For more information about this Elgin organization go to www.activateelgin.org

6) $1 Raffle Tickets – BBQ Set
Also take advantage of a $1 raffle (or 6 for $5) to win a Bears Tailgate BBQ Grill and Tool Set (which will be set up on site). The winner will be notified Thursday afternoon/evening after the market. Proceeds of the raffle will go back into the market getting bigger and better!

7) Elgin Climate Change Organization (ECCO) and Elgin Community Network (ECN) Educational Booth
Join these two groups at their booth that is all about sustainability and Elgin neighborhoods! They will have “Take the Challenge” postcards, rain barrel information, FREE CFL’s (Yes, those energy efficient light bulbs), and a composter. Also joining them will be the Elgin Public Museum with soil samples and info on ecosystems.

8) Free Rediscover Downtown Elgin Tour
Join Jennifer Benson, program coordinator for the Downtown Neighborhood Association, in perusing and rediscovering stores and organizations like Pastigel, Bella’s Fashions, Super Print, Central Barber Shop, Ravenheart Coffee, Salon Couture, Top Notch Tattoo, YWCA, Carswell’s Flooring, Simple Balance Holistic Center, Elgin Public House, Elgin Books & Coffee, Wrona Brothers, Antiques & Uniques and Union National Bank.

9) Lunchtime/Snack Options
Besides munching your purchases from Harvest market vendors, there will also be on site In the Neighborhood Deli, an Elgin deli which will be providing hotdogs (regular and organic), chips, and beverages during your lunch hour – roughly 11am – 2pm.

Also the Community Crisis Center will be selling popcorn 10am – 3pm every Thursday, so make sure to buy it with your lunch or for a quick snack during the mid-morning or mid-afternoon break!

Want more variety? Visit one of 15+ Downtown Elgin restaurants which are in walking distance of the market. Get your lunch to go or sit in their air conditioned locations, and enjoy food to match your mood from Italian, to American, to German, to Thai, to Pub fare, to Mexican, to Chinese, to Bistro or Café menu items. Downtown Elgin restaurant flyers and maps will be available at the market.

10) Outdoor Art Exhibit
Elgin artist, Erin Herner, will showcase her paintings and print makings all day at the market, along with the rain barrel that is DNA’s Harvest Market submission in “Rain Barrels on Parade” which will be at the market the next 6 markets. Several of her art pieces will be for sale for those interested.

For more information go to www.downtownelgin.org or call 847.488.1456.

Monday, June 01, 2009

Gasthaus's Kitchen is Open + June Band Schedule

The kitchen is now open! Come try their sandwiches and wraps, even a couple of your German favorites remain on the menu! Home made onion rings, and other great appetizers! Large portions, reasonable prices! Open at 4:30 every evening - open for lunch starting late June! Bar closes at 1am on week days, and 2am on Friday and Saturday. Free WiFi access, and all UFC fights are broadcast for your pleasure! Come see the new and improved Gasthaus!

Band Line-Up

Friday June 5 it's the return of Blackened!
Chicago's premier Metallica cover band returns to the Gasthaus by popular demand! Opening for Blackened is the Madhatter band, an up and coming band playing '80s metal band covers.

Saturday June 6 come see the Blizzard of Ozz!
Not only does the lead singer look and act like Ozzy Osbourn (you'll seriously think it's him) but the lead guitarist, Kevin Buck is amazing! Kevin was recently signed by Jackson guitars as a spokesperson and after watching him play you'll know why!

(It's also Evie's birthday! Pay the $5.00 cover to see Blackened play and get in free on Saturday! Not only do you get to see both shows for $5.00 but Evie is going to buy your first drink if you attend! Lots of other surprises and specials to help her celebrate Saturday night as well! Come down and hear two great bands, wish Evie a happy birthday, and have a great time!)

Friday June 12
The Gasthaus does something a little bit different with Universal Slim and the blues kangaroos. Come here some great blues and rock covers.

Saturday June 13
The Gasthaus hosts a charity event featuring The Hatters Mad, Groovy Love Vibes and Doomsday Luck. Proceeds go toward buying a handicapped accessible vehicle for Jay Cramer. During a rock climbing excursion in Malibu, three and a half years ago, Jay Cramer fell and broke his neck. He is now a C-5 level quadriplegic and in a power wheelchair – with a spirit that has never faltered. Refusing to let anything stop him, he began performing stand-up comedy from his wheelchair, just four months after the accident. Jay believes that humor exists in the strangest places and that a good strong smile heals all. A $20 donation is suggested.

Friday June 19 Hyperflo takes the stage~!
Great rock covers! Opening for Hyperflo is Brace for the impact! A great night to dance!

Saturday June 20 it's metal time!
Nemesis Theory opens for Judas Beast! Relive the days of Judas Priest and Iron Maiden with one of the best cover bands around!

Friday June 26
Her Savage Grace (great rock covers) will be opening for Slippery When Wet! Jon Bon Jovi time! You loved him in the '80s and he's still going strong! All your favorites from Livin on a prayer to Have a Nice Day performed on our stage! Sounds like fun to me!

Saturday June 27 is a night of heavy rock and metal bands.
From the Broken, Remote Viewer, Inner Fall, and Five O Six all perform original and covers of many of your favorites!

It's not your father's Gasthaus-- but 40 years and still going strong!

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Gasthaus's May Band Line-Up

Mark your calendars and save the date:

May 8 - Mercury Rising
An awesome cover band playing rock music from the '70s, through today!

May 9 - Leo and the boy's
90 West takes the stage playing a great night of Rock and Roll.

May 15 - Cloud Nine & 30 Pound Stone
A local band, Cloud Nine plays great rock and roll covers for Gasthaus.

May 16 - Man the Mitey & Power Slave
A local metal band (Man the Mitey) opens for one of the Gasthaus' favorites, Power Slave - Chicago's own Iron Maiden tribute band!

May 22 - Shuffled & Rearview Mirror
This band will start things off right with your favorite hits from the '90s through today, followed by Rearview Mirror - a tribute to Pearl Jam! You'll think Eddie Vedder is in the Haus!

May 29 - My Lazy Elephant & The Oil Can Boys
Your favorites & Gasthaus's - My Lazy Elephant and The Oil Can Boys! Local Boys that always rock!

May 30 - The Usual Mistakes & Antipop
This band is funk/pop open for Antipop - Chicago's only Primus Tribute Band! You have to hear this!!

Kitchen to open in May! - Gasthaus will still make you a Schnitzel or a Brat along with other great burgers/sandwiches/wraps and more!

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Manhole Covers or Missile Silos

There are at least 13 manhole covers in a one block stretch of Douglas Ave in Elgin. Is there really a need for that many or are some actually covers for missile silos?

Friday, April 24, 2009

Belated Blog Anniversary

Oops!
Missed it again. March 11th was the Downtown Elgin blog's 4th anniversary.
Four years and 380 posts ago... no, I'm not making a speech.
Just think back to 2005.
Facebook was a year old. It was for kids then.
Twitter didn't exist. We didn't know a tweet from a twit. A Tweetup, forget about it.
What did we do with our time?
Interesting enough, the first post was Fulton Street will be closed until late November.
Sound familiar?
Here's to another year and working to make a difference.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Rain Barrels on Parade Kickoff

Groups to Shower Elgin with "Green Art"
Rain barrels will be on double-duty this summer, as painted works of art around town and as eco-friendly containers saving rainwater throughout the community.

Neighborhood and community organizations will decorate 50 rain barrels that will be displayed at 50 various Elgin locations. Visitors will get a passport stamped for each barrel to be entered in a prize drawing. The rain barrels will be moved to Gail Borden Public Library, where they will be viewed and voted on to decide the community’s favorite, then auctioned off by ECN at FoxFireFest August 2 to benefit neighborhood projects. The deadline for submitting your barrel is May 25th. More info here.

Some photos from today's kickoff.
 
Mayor Schock
 
Sigi Psimenos and the performers.
Dancers in motion. Sometimes the iPhone camera can capture the moment.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Sherman Twitter Surgery on GMA

Tune into Good Morning America on Thursday, April 16th at 8:05 am CST for a piece on the Sherman Health surgery covered on Twitter. Their press release is below.

The surgery that we simulcast on Twitter and Facebook has helped a lot of people better understand the benefits of our high-tech surgical robot and how Sherman Hospital has become a leader in advanced medicine. Possible candidates for surgery in our community followed along and became more comfortable with the procedure. Even the patient's family was able to watch on a Blackberry from the waiting room! We've been featured on TV, websites, blogs, medical journals, magazines and newspapers across the country and as far away as India and Australia. But tomorrow morning we're proud to announce that we will be featured on ABC's Good Morning America at 8:05am CST! Check your local guides for channel information.

Local firm, Demi & Cooper, assists Sherman Health with their social media presence. Follow the Tweets here.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Downtown Elgin Harvest Market Applications Available

The Downtown Neighborhood Association, and partners Activate Elgin, Elgin Community Network (ECN) and Elgin Climate Change Organization (ECCO) are pleased to invite area farmers and the like to join Downtown Elgin’s 9th Annual Harvest Market. This market has featured everything from fruits, vegetables, plants, delicious jams, healthy gourmet dog treats, bread, pies, muffins and scones, olives, pita bread and hummus, spices, Mirai corn, free range meats and eggs, cheese, pickles, and olive oil all displayed in an open-air market like venue.

The market will be held in the Downtown core at the Civic Center parking lot at the corner of E. Highland and Douglas Avenue, near the Post office and City Hall, every Thursday June 11 through October 8, and will be open at 10am and ending this year at 4pm.

All area farmers, and the like, interested in an application for the 2009 season, along with Harvest Market sponsorship forms for health related businesses can call the Downtown Neighborhood Association at 847.488.1456, e-mail jbenson@elginil.org go to
www.downtownelgin.org, or stop by the office on the first floor of the Elgin Tower Building, at 2 Douglas Avenue in Downtown Elgin. The deadline for the early registration fee, and to be in the marketing brochure for the season, is May 1, 2009.

New this year will be two educational booths that promote wellness and the environment via Activate Elgin and ECN & ECCO. Those interested in being at the Harvest Market educational booths for wellness related topics can contact Melissa Serritella from Activate Elgin at
mserritella@elginymca.org. Those interested in being at the educational booths for environmental related topics can contact Sigi Psimenos at sigi777@sbcglobal.net.

Bands Playing Easter Weekend

This Friday, April 10 local band River Gypsies (rock covers and originals) opens for Late Night Hooligan Riff Raff, a new up and coming all original Chicago band playing music with a funkadelik crossing of genres! Watch this band, they're going places!

Saturday April 11 is a night of Blues / Rock! The Normal Street Band (blues and rock covers) and The Progressive Blues Experiment (now called Tuff Enuff) share the stage to bring you a night of blues and rock covers. This ain't your mama’s blues band; they incorporate elements of rock, funk, and pure jammin' into an elaborate style which follows in the steps of soulful innovaters such as Doyle Bramhall, Derek Trucks, Gov’t Mule and many many more.
We're not your father's Gasthaus, but we've been around for over 40 years and we're still going strong! A neighborhood bar where you are guaranteed to be remembered by name --with live music every weekend. Don't forget we specialize in birthdays! Come in within 5 days of your birthday and when your party has spent $50 we'll give you a $50 credit to keep the party going! PLUS- drink Das Boot- it's your day!!

Monday, April 06, 2009

Downtown Street Work - April 6th

Douglas between Highland & Dexter Ct, Symphony Way between Dundee & Center
Elgin – Phase III of the Central Business District’s $40 million Street Resurfacing and Streetscape Project is again underway as the City of Elgin continues to work toward the revitalization of its downtown area.

Water main service construction on Douglas Ave. between Highland Ave. and Dexter Court continues the week of April 6, 2009. Two-way traffic will be maintained and motorists will be able to maneuver through the work zone with flagger assistance.

On street parking will be limited during construction.  Patrons wishing to access businesses within this construction zone are encouraged to use the City Hall parking lot on the northwest corner of Douglas Ave. and Highland Ave.  Pedestrian access through and around the construction zone will be maintained.

Water main installation on Spring St. at Division and Center Streets and at Symphony Way between Center St. and Dundee Ave also continues this week.  Center St. at Symphony Way will be closed briefly during the installation of the water main.  Access to businesses on Center St. north of Symphony Way can be attained from Kimball Street.  Access to businesses on Center Street south of Symphony Way will be available from Symphony Way and will be directed by flaggers.  Parking is restricted in the construction zones, but is available along area streets. Motorists are asked to use caution when traveling. 

Lane closures will occur during normal working hours, approximately 7 a.m. through 4:30 p.m.  All lanes will be open during the overnight hours.

PHASE II STREETSCAPE CONSTRUCTION

Installation of the brick paver crosswalks on Chicago St. between Riverside Dr. and Center St./Villa Court and the adjacent side streets, Grove and Douglas Avenues and Spring St. is scheduled to begin April 27.  Completion of the crosswalks is expected to take approximately two weeks once construction begins.  Detailed information on construction schedules and lanes closures will be available prior to the start of the work.

Weekly progress meetings for the water main project are held on Thursdays at 8:30 a.m. at the construction office located at 201 E. Chicago Street.  Business and property owners are invited to attend the first 15 minutes of the meeting to address questions or concerns regarding the construction. 

Specific construction questions can be directed to Shelley Costello with TranSystems at 847-871-3185.

For general information, contact Joe Evers at 847-931-5955 or visit the City’s website at www.cityofelgin.org or Gettin’ Around in Downtown

Monday, March 30, 2009

Downtown Street Work - March 30th

Douglas between Highland & Dexter Ct, Division/Symphony Way between Douglas & Center
 
Elgin - Phase III of the Central Business District’s $40 million Street Resurfacing and Streetscape Project is again underway as the City of Elgin continues to work toward the revitalization of its downtown area.
Water main service construction on Douglas Ave. between Highland Ave. and Dexter Court continues the week of March 30, 2009. Two-way traffic will be maintained and motorists will be able to move through the work zone with flagger assistance.
On street parking will be limited during construction. Patrons wishing to access businesses within this construction zone are encouraged to use the City Hall parking lot on the northwest corner of Douglas Ave. and Highland Ave. Pedestrian access through and around the construction zone will be maintained.
Water main installation on Division St. between Douglas Ave. and Center St. and on Symphony Way also between Douglas Ave. and Center St. continues this week. Two-way traffic on Division St. and Symphony Way will be maintained, but flaggers may direct traffic around the construction. Parking is restricted in the construction zones, but is available along area streets. Motorists are asked to use caution when traveling.
These lane closures will occur during normal working hours, approximately 7 a.m. through 4:30 p.m. All lanes will be open during the overnight hours.

Phase II Streetscape Construction
Installation of the brick paver crosswalks on Chicago St. between Riverside Dr. and Center St./Villa Court and the adjacent side streets, Grove and Douglas Avenues and Spring St. is scheduled to begin mid-April. Completion of the crosswalks is expected to take approximately two weeks once construction begins. Detailed information on construction schedules and lanes closures will be available prior to the start of the work.

Weekly progress meetings for the water main project are expected to be held on Wednesdays at 8:30 a.m. at the construction office located at 201 E. Chicago Street. Business and property owners are invited to attend the first 15 minutes of the meeting to address questions or concerns regarding the construction. It’s anticipated that the meetings will begin within the next few weeks.

Specific construction questions can be directed to Shelley Costello with TranSystems at 847-871-3185.
For general information, contact Joe Evers at 847-931-5955 or visit the City’s website at www.cityofelgin.org or Gettin’ Around in Downtown

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is?

The clock on the Tower Building was being worked on today. Soon we may be able to find out what time it is in the City to Watch.


Another welcome sign is that the Fountain Square condos are painting the ugly preformed concrete on the north side of the building. Phase 2 was going to be built against it, but you know, the economy.

Speaking of signs, there is a new sign for the Spring Street Deck. It is just like the one at the Fulton Street Deck. See Signs post from 8/16/2008

It replaced one like this.

Illinois Main Street Day 2009

Tonya is in the Capitol today representing Elgin. Last night was dinner at the Governor's mansion with fellow main streeters.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Downtown Mixer - Tweetup

Wednesday, April 1 (No Fooling)
5 to 7 pm
Douglas Street Sports Bar
231 Douglas Ave.
Elgin, IL 60120

Cash bar, free knowledge.
RSVP here or on Facebook.

Last year, at our first Downtown Mixer we had Speed Networking. This year we're offering a different take on the same concept. We've been hearing that you want to learn more about all this social media stuff, so here's your chance.


"Speed Learning" at 5:30, 6:00 and 6:30 pm
At least three topics, a 15 minute small group presentation, Q&A.

Twitter, presented by Sarah Evans
Facebook for Business, presented by Steve Munson
Blogging, presented by Jessica Thompson

So join us for an evening of learning, networking and maybe even some fun.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Downtown Street Work - March 23rd

Construction continues week of 3/23. West (southbound) side of Douglas temporary lane closures.

Elgin - Phase III of the Central Business District’s $40 million Street Resurfacing and Streetscape Project is again underway as the City of Elgin continues to work toward the revitalization of its downtown area.

Water main service construction on Douglas Ave. between Chicago St. and Highland Ave. continues the week of March 23, 2009. With the west (southbound) side of Douglas Ave. under construction, temporary lane closures will be required to accomplish the work. Southbound traffic on Douglas Ave. will be detoured west on Highland Ave. to Grove Ave. Motorists will then turn south on Grove Ave. to Chicago St., head east on Chicago St. back to Douglas Ave. where traffic can continue south on Grove Ave. Northbound traffic will be allowed on Douglas Ave. through the work zone.

On street parking will be limited during construction. Patrons wishing to access businesses within this construction zone are encouraged to use the City Hall parking lot on the northwest corner of Douglas Ave. and Highland Ave. Pedestrian access through and around the construction zone will be maintained.

Water main installation on Division St. between Douglas Ave. and Center St. and on Symphony Way also between Douglas Ave. and Center St. continues this week. Two-way traffic on Division St. and Symphony Way will be maintained, but flaggers may direct traffic around the construction. Parking is restricted in the construction zones, but is available along area streets. Motorists are asked to use caution when traveling.

These lane closures will occur during normal working hours, approximately 7 a.m. through 4:30 p.m. All lanes will be open during the overnight hours.
Phase II Streetscape Construction
Installation of the brick paver crosswalks on Chicago St. between Riverside Dr. and Center St./Villa Court and the adjacent side streets, Grove and Douglas Avenues and Spring St. is scheduled to begin mid-April. Completion of the crosswalks is expected to take approximately two weeks once construction begins. Detailed information on construction schedules and lanes closures will be available prior to the start of the work.

Weekly progress meetings for the water main project are expected to be held on Wednesdays at 8:30 a.m. at the construction office located at 201 E. Chicago Street. Business and property owners are invited to attend the first 15 minutes of the meeting to address questions or concerns regarding the construction. It’s anticipated that the meetings will begin within the next few weeks.

Specific construction questions can be directed to Shelley Costello with TranSystems at 847-871-3185.

For general information, contact Joe Evers at 847-931-5955 or visit the City’s website at www.cityofelgin.org and click the Gettin’ Around in Downtown link.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

The Burnham Plan Centennial

In 1909, Daniel Burnham and Edward Bennett collaborated with the Commercial Club of Chicago and others to create a new plan for the greater Chicago region. 100 years later you can see the results and plan the next 100 years here.

Follow @Burnham100 on Twitter for info on The Burnham Plan Centennial.

Take the Daniel Burnham Walking Tour presented during the 2009 National Main Streets Conference in Chicago.

Check out Elgin's contribution to the centennial starting May 19th. Elgin Alive:  Deep Roots, Green Future Exhibit

Be like Burnham. Make no small plans.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Bands at the Recently Remodeled Gasthaus

This Weekend:
This Friday night, March 20, at the Gasthaus is metal night- Life in Shadow, Walking Chaos, & Dedlock take the stage at 9:00 p.m.

Saturday night, March 21, is a tribute to Alice in Chains- Angry Chair performs with special guest Prime. $5 cover in the band room - as always the Whiskey Bar never charges a cover and always has the UFC fights on.

Next week:
Friday night, March 27, two local rock bands perform- XDoubleCrossX play your favorite Rock Covers and a few originals when they open for My Lazy Elephant with more of your favorite Rock tunes from the 80's through today. Both bands feature local Elgin musicians and guarantee you a great night out!

Saturday, March 28, is another night of local performers with more of a punk vibe- The Oil Can Boys and The Turdles take the stage with special guest Pete Jive and Juice Digits performing reggae numbers for your delight!
$5 Cover in the band room. Newly Remodeled, great prices, great atmosphere-- come in and Rock Da Haus!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

They're Back!

Water Main Construction Resumes - Temporary Lane Closures on Douglas Avenue
Elgin - CENTRAL BUSINESS DISTRICT PHASE 3 WATER MAIN CONSTRUCTION RESUMES


Weather permitting, construction work on the water main crossings on Douglas Avenue will resume on Monday, March 16th at 7 a.m. and will require temporary lane closures to accomplish the work. As work begins on the west (southbound) side of Douglas, the southbound traffic will be detoured west on Highland Avenue to Grove Avenue, south on Grove Avenue to Chicago Street and east on Chicago Street back to Douglas where traffic can continue south on Grove Avenue. Northbound traffic will be allowed on Douglas Avenue through the work zone.
When the water main crossing moves to the east (northbound) side of Douglas Avenue, northbound Douglas Avenue will be detoured at Chicago Street east to Spring Street, north on Spring Street to Highland Avenue, west on Highland Avenue back to Douglas where northbound traffic can continue north on Douglas Avenue. During this stage of the work, southbound traffic will be allowed on Douglas Avenue through the work zone.
On street parking will be limited during construction. Patrons wishing to access businesses within the construction zone are encouraged to use the City Hall parking lot on the northwest corner of Douglas Avenue and Highland Avenue. Pedestrian access through and around the construction zone will be maintained.
These lane closures will occur during normal working hours, approximately 7 a.m. through 4:30 p.m. All lanes will be open during the overnight hours.
On Division Street, pavement sawcutting will begin on Monday March 16th at 7 a.m. weather permitting. Traffic will remain open at all times and directed by a flagger.
Weekly progress meetings for the water main project are held on Wednesdays at 8:30 a.m. at the construction office located at 201 E. Chicago Street. Business and property owners are invited to attend the first 15 minutes of the meeting if they have any questions or concerns regarding the construction.
Specific questions regarding the construction can be directed to Shelley Costello with TranSystems at 847-871-3185.
For general information on the project, please contact Joe Evers at 847-931-5964 or visit the City’s website at www.cityofelgin.org and click the Gettin’ Around in Downtown link.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Red Bar to open this month, but not this week

In my excitement for the opening of the Red Bar Winery & Bistro, I said in my last blog post that it was opening this week. Scratch that. It is set to open this month, but the date has not yet been determined. My bad. I'll keep you posted.

Friday, March 06, 2009

Something's Brewing in Downtown Elgin

It was 1995. The era of flannel shirts, combat boots and a posthumous love of Kurt Cobain. The music was grunge. The fashion was androgynous. And the beer was microbrewed.

This was the year that Prairie Rock Brewing Company brought their artfully brewed beer and rustic elegance to downtown Elgin.

Just a year after the Grand Victoria began sailing the shores of the mighty Fox River, Prairie Rock rolled the dice on downtown Elgin. They were sort of a lone shark out there on the south edge of downtown, surrounded by the ghosts of car salesmen on what was once dealers’ row.

And the City took a gamble on Prairie Rock, too. It was more than a restaurant. It was a major player in the revitalization of Downtown Elgin.

And “P-Rock,” as I affectionately call it, played the role well for many years, becoming a favorite downtown destination and helping to shape downtown’s identity.

I have a lot of personal, special memories of P-Rock. Here are just a few . . .

. . . Having dinner with a group of friends before Elgin High School’s Turnabout Dance.

. . . Seeing one of Janus Theatre’s first performances up in the second floor loft space with the man who is now my beloved husband.

. . . Dancing like an idiot at my friend’s wedding reception in that same second floor loft space.

. . . Having a great time at the early Brew Fests when they were still on Prairie Street. Yeah, I don’t remember much else about that.

. . . Talking to people I never talked to in high school at my 10 year high school reunion.

. . . Singing “I will survive” with the girls on their famous Wednesday karaoke night.

. . . Plus many great lunches and dinners with new and old friends, paired with my favorite Vanilla Crème Ale, along the way.

Thank you to the owners, the staff, the brewmasters, the patrons and the City for 13 wonderful years. Prairie Rock’s slogan is so true, not only for the restaurant, but for what they did for the downtown . . . great beer really was the just the beginning.

In typical downtown fashion, as one door closes another one opens. There’s something new brewing in downtown. But it’s not beer . . . it’s wine.

Red Bar Winery and Bistro opens this month at 74 S. Grove Avenue, just down the street from the new Mad Maggie’s and Fountain Square condos.

Red Bar is an eclectic mix of restaurant, retail boutique and do-it-yourself winery. Owners Jim and Doris Canfield have created a unique destination where you can enjoy, purchase, learn about and make your own wine. They have completely transformed the space into a cozy and elegant lounge, complete with a red marble bar for which the place is named.

Please stop in and welcome Jim and Doris to the neighborhood. To learn more about Red Bar, give them a call at (847) 695-1659.