Thursday, September 29, 2016

Area welcomes fall with a variety of activities

There are plenty of fall activities in the area in the coming days. Here are a few of the events we plan to attend.

Oktoberfest in Batavia
Batavia MainStreet will host an Oktoberfest Oct. 7 and Oct. 8 in downtown Batavia. The fest will feature authentic German food, beer, music, entertainment and family friendly activities. The fest will be open 5 to 10 p.m. Oct. 7 and throughout the day Oct. 8.

Holmstad to host bazaar
The Holmstad in Batavia will host its 39th annual bazaar from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m Oct. 8 at  Holmstad’s Town Center. The bazaar will offer jewelry, woodworking items, crafts, collectibles and more. Food will be available for purchase. The Holmstad is located at 700 W. Fabyan Parkway, Batavia. For more information, call 877-226-7310.

Fall fest down on the farm

Our friends at Bountiful Blessings Farm Produce will host a Fall Festival Oct. 7 to Oct.10. The event will feature a petting zoo, games, and activities for all ages. Refreshments will be available for purchase and a percentage of all vegetable and pumpkin sales will benefit Pulling for a Cure. The festival will be open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Bountiful Blessings Farm Produce is located at 15565 McGrirr Road, Hinckley. Indoor and outdoor vendor booths are available for crafters and others to sell their wares. For vendor information, email Jeff at

Museum plans fall fest
The Sycamore History Museum will host its fall festival starting at 1 p.m. Oct. 15. Visitors can tour the museum, make apple cider and participate in other activities. Admission is free. The museum is located at 1730 N. Main St., Sycamore.

Spooky tales at the library
The Geneva Public Library will offer The Haunted Page, a program featuring William Packs and his scary tales, at 7 p.m. Oct. 20. Admission is free. The library is located at 127 James St., Geneva. For more information, call 630-232-0780.

Now for something completely different
The Forest Preserve District of Kane County will host a senior stroll at 10 a.m. Oct. 6 at the Elburn Forest Preserve, 45W061 IL Route 38, Maple Park. The walk lasts about an hour, and refreshments will be served after the walk. Admission is free, but donations are accepted. For details, call 630-444-3190.

Harvest underway in Illinois
I drove through several central Illinois counties during a recent visit to Eastern Illinois University and saw many farmers harvesting corn from their fields.
I have always been impressed with the visual images associated with harvest time and enjoyed viewing farmers at work in their fields, even though I was driving along at 60 mph. I was raised in Arlington Heights, but my dad was raised on a farm near Roselle, and he instilled in us a deep appreciation for farming and all things related agriculture. I try to visit DeKalb County and other areas during harvest time just to watch the work in progress and to take photos. I will post photos of my upcoming tour as soon as they are available. 

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Monday, August 1, 2016

Directory features local farmer's markets

     The Kane County Farm Bureau’s Bounty of Kane directory features information about the many local farmer’s markets and roadside stands offering fresh produce and specialty items. The directory is at The site includes an interactive map to help you locate markets and stands throughout Kane County. The directory also includes dates and hours of operation. 
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Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Museum to host annual Quilt and Textile Show

The Batavia Depot Museum will host its annual Quilt and Textile Show July 15 to 17 at the Eastside Community Center and Shannon Hall, 14 N. Van Buren St. in downtown Batavia. The event will include an exhibit featuring commemorative quilts, an artisan market and more. The show is open 1 to 6 p.m. on July 15 and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. July 16 and 17. Admission is $6 for adults and $5 for seniors age 60 and older. Children 10 and younger are admitted free. Military personnel are admitted free with military I.D. 
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Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Fishing the Fox River and so much more

Photo courtesy of Eric Schaaf
A big shout out to Sugar Grove resident Eric Schaaf for sharing the photo above. Eric hosts and produces Fish the Fox, a website devoted to fishing activities on the Fox River. The site offers a variety of helpful information about the river and features a personal journal about Eric’s fishing experiences. Those with an interest in fishing and the Fox River will appreciate the site, but you don’t have to fish to enjoy the gallery of photos and images Eric captured along the Fox River. We're sure you'll enjoy visiting Eric’s site

It's Chop Around the Block time again
Craig Foltos and the crew at Foltos’ Tonsorial Parlor in downtown Batavia will conduct the 27th annual Chop Around the Clock hair-cutting event Friday, June 3 and Saturday, June 4 to benefit the Ronald McDonald’s Children’s Charities. The event will begin at 4 p.m. June 3 at the parlor, 7 E. Wilson St. The event will include entertainment, free food, music and other attractions. The event will continue around the clock until 4 p.m. June 4. For more information or to volunteer, call Craig at 630-879-5253.

Batavia's Farmers' Market opens June 4

Batavia’s Farmers' Market will open for the season June 4 on River Street, just north of Wilson Street. The market will be open from 8 a.m. to noon Saturdays through Oct. 22 and will include more than 20 vendors. Shoppers will find fresh produce, flowers, meat, cheese, music and more.

Museum and garden set open

The Fabyan Villa Museum and Japanese Garden will open for the season at 1 p.m. Sunday, May 29. Admission is $3 for the villa museum and $1 for the garden. The museum and the garden are located in the Fabyan West Forest Preserve, near Route 31 in Geneva. The museum and garden are open from 1 to 4 p.m. Sundays through Oct. 13. For additional dates, visit the click here.

Program recalls airborne operations on D-Day
The St. Charles Public Library will observe the anniversary of the Allied invasion of Normandy with The Airborne on D-Day, a special program at 7 p.m. June 6 at the library. The program will look at the critical role U.S. airborne forces played during the early hours of the invasion on June 6, 1944. The program is free, but registration is encouraged. The library is located a 1 S. 6th Ave., St. Charles. For more information or to register, call 630-584-0076.

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Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Valley Sheltered Workshop to mark 50th anniversary

The Valley Sheltered Workshop in downtown Batavia. 

Valley Sheltered Workshop and the Batavia Chamber of Commerce will celebrate the workshop’s 50th anniversary at 10 a.m. May 9 at 325 Main St., Batavia. Mayor Jeffery Schielke will lead an anniversary ribbon-cutting ceremony. The workshop opened in 1966 and provides job opportunities for individuals with disabilities. Visitors will have an opportunity to learn about the organization’s interesting history and its operations. The City of Batavia marked the workshop’s anniversary with a ceremony April 18, during a Batavia City Council meeting.

And pancakes too
The Valley Sheltered Workshop and the Batavia Lions Club will partner to host the workshop’s 50th annual pancake breakfast from 7:30 a.m. to noon May 1 at 325 Main St. The meal will include pancakes, sausage, fresh strawberries, orange juice and coffee. Take-out service will be available. The event also will include a cash drawing, a silent auction, and basket raffles. Tickets are $7 for adults, $5 for seniors age 65 and older, and $3 for children age 12 and younger.

Farm Bureau to offer mature driving program

The Kane County Farm Bureau Women’s Committee will host a 55 Alive Mature Driving Program April 26 and 27. The eight-hour course discusses defensive driving techniques and related safety information. The program will meet from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. each day at the Kane County Farm Bureau, 2N710 Randall Road, St. Charles. Registration is required. The fee is $15 for AARP members and $20 for all others. Participants must attend both days to successfully complete the course. Some insurance companies offer discount auto insurance for drivers age 55 and older who complete the course. For more information or to register, call the Farm Bureau at 630-584-8660.

Concerto concert on April 24
Our friends at the The Fox Valley Philharmonic Orchestra will present a free concert featuring two soloists at 3 p.m. April 24 at Our Savior Lutheran Church, 420 W. Downer Place, Aurora. The concert will feature Kristine Mertens, the orchestra’s senior oboist and Lily Johnson, 12, the youth winner of the Fox Valley Academy Concerto Competition. For more information, call 630-476-9092, or click here.

Library program highlights 'British Invasion' music
The Batavia Public Library will present The British Invasion, featuring musician Dave Rudolf and the music of the Beatles, Donovan, The Who and others, at 2 p.m. April 24. The show is part of the library’s Sundays on Stage program. Admission is free, but registration is encouraged and can be completed by calling 630-879-1393, ext. 200.

Save the date
The Pottawatomie Garden Club of St. Charles will host its annual Garden Walk July 9. The theme for this year’s event is A Day in the Country and will feature six gardens. The walk will be conducted from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tickets are $15 in advance, or $20 the day of the event. The event benefits the club’s scholarship program. For more information, click here. 

A special reminder 
More than 100 volunteers from local churches and organizations will lend a hand with The Batavia Interfaith Food Pantry’s annual Food Sharing Days collection effort April 30 and May 1 at the Berkeley Food Store in downtown Batavia and the Jewel-Osco store on Randall Road. Volunteers will offer shoppers lists of suggested items needed to restock the pantry’s shelves. The collection effort will be conducted 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. both days. 

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Monday, January 18, 2016

Still plenty to do in a busy January

I like to think I manage time well, but I am always surprised (and a little intimidated) by how fast time passes. I looked at my calendar this afternoon and realized the first month of new year is more than half gone and running down quickly. I've jotted down a few items on scraps of paper and wanted to share them with you.

Library program to feature Wright Brothers Jan. 21
The Books Between Bites program at the Batavia Public Library will host a presentation about “The Wright Brothers,” David McCullough’s account of the Wright Brothers journey to Kitty Hawk. Barbara Kalina, a former history and literature teacher with the Batavia school district will lead the presentation and discussion from noon to 1 p.m. Jan. 21 at the library, 10 S. Batavia Ave. For more information, call the library at 630-879-1393. 

Music boosters to host pancake breakfast
The Marmion-Rosary Music Boosters will host their annual pancake breakfast from 8:30 to
1 p.m. July 24 at Marmion Academy’s Lux Dining Hall. The event will include musical entertainment. Tickets are $7 for adults and $5 for children ages 3 to 12. The breakfast will include unlimited pancakes, scrambled eggs, bacon, sausage, hash browns and beverages. For more information, call 630-897-6936.

Geneva school district unveils new website
Geneva School District 304 officials recently unveiled the district's new website, featuring a crisp and bright look. I still enjoy visiting websites just to see the type of design and presentation techniques organizations employ to tell their stories. I think the school district did a fine job with their redesign effort, but visit the site and decide for yourself.

Slow down and enjoy better health
One of the best ways to improve overall health and peace of mind is to slow down, according to a recent report from our friends at AARP. The report offers some simple steps to follow in the new year. One of my favorites is the suggestion to slow life’s busy pace with writing. It seems making time to sit down and write (either with pen or keyboard) offers many benefits, including an easing in our need for speed. I added “write more” to my new year’s resolution list, and I hope the health benefits alone will be motivation enough to make writing more a resolution I can keep throughout the year.

Extension offers valuable tips
I always enjoy reading the University of Illinois Extension's blog posts and reports. The extension's staff covers everything from agriculture and gardening to nutrition and consumer tips. I particularly enjoy the gardening advice and enjoy thinking about gardening activities during January's bitter-cold days. Planning for springtime tasks helps to keep me going when daytime high temperatures are in the single digits.

Movin’ On
Sending out some tardy congratulations to Ryan Klassy, who recently ended a good run as information director at the Kane County Farm Bureau to take on a new job at a local community college. I met Ryan about eight years ago while I was working for the Chicago Tribune and always enjoyed coordinating the Tribune’s coverage of the farm bureau’s activities. I also enjoyed reading Ryan’s columns in the farm bureau’s monthly publication. Best wishes in the new gig, Ryan.

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Saturday, December 19, 2015

Tis the season for ugly sweater parties

The Lodge on 64, 41W379 Route 64 in Campton Hills, will host an ugly sweater party at 9 p.m. Dec. 23. Admission is free and prizes will be awarded. For more information, call 630-443-8000.

The Geneva Park District will host a Christmas caroling event from 11:15 a.m. to
12:30 p.m. Dec. 22 in downtown Geneva. Participants will meet at 11:15 a.m. in the Geneva BRIA Center lobby, 1101 E. State St. Those younger than 16 must be accompanied by an adult. The program is free but registration is encouraged and can be completed by calling 630-232-4542.

The Geneva Public Library will feature photographer Anthony Nevins’ black-and-white photos during December. The exhibit features 21 photos and is displayed in the library's lower level gallery. The library is located at 127 James St., Geneva. 

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