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The Dreaded Business Plan

Some say the Business Plan is obsolete – it’s tedious to write, nobody ever reads it after it’s been written, and it certainly never gets updated.

Much of what I do is directing start-ups and existing businesses to prepare a Business Plan.  There is always a lot of hand wringing and groaning about the process, largely because the reason for preparing a Business Plan is misunderstood.  Many do it because they need financial assistance, and the “bank” told them they must prepare one before they will consider lending.  I say you need a plan to give you direction.

Let’s understand what is accomplished by preparing a Business Plan.  There are really two fundamental objectives:

1) developing a clear definition of the business you intend to start or expand that clarifies it’s organization, operation, product and/or service offerings, market, and strategies for growth; and

2) developing comprehensive and credible financial projections that explain the revenue and expense expectations for a specific period of time in the future that support your plans for growth.

In order to do either, you must be able to visualize the end result, know how to get there, and what the cost implications will be.  There are software products that help you produce the plan, and there are plenty of consultants out there who will write it for you, for a price.  Regardless of what methodology you use to produce the financial projections, which are the final results of your efforts, you must do your homework and look at all aspects of the business.

Instead of calling this exercise a Business Plan, let’s call it a business planning process.  You may or may not need funding, but if you do, whether it comes from an investor, self-directed funding, a bank, crowdfunding, or friends and family, you need a compelling vision of where you are going and how you will get there.

business-plan-printoutPeople mistakenly believe a Business Plan must be at least be 35 pages long, but preparing such a document would be daunting, especially for people who are not used to writing one. To make the process easier and less intimidating, we have devised a Business Plan template that strips out the non-essential “fluff,” making your plan more concise and to the point. The Small Business Development Center also provides free one-on-one coaching to help clients envision where they want to take their business and guiding them in translating their ideas into specific objectives and assumptions for their written plan.

One final note: Not every business idea is sound, and not everyone is suited to be an entrepreneur.  If you do not feel energized by the process of planning your business start-up or expansion, you and your business idea are probably not a match.

For help with your Business Plan, contact Elgin Community College’s Illinois Small Business Development Center (ISBDC). Call (847) 214-7488 or visit

The 2016 Poised for Growth Business Plan Competition is now underway. To participate, click on Get Details for entry requirements and to apply.

Guest Blogger: Deirdre White, DNA Executive Director


The Black History Family 5195-BHFF-Tabloid-PosterFestival —A Reason to Look Forward to February!

I have to admit, there are plenty of reasons to dread the month of February.   Some of the reasons are obvious —– cold weather, snow and catching that inevitable sinus infection.   However, for the past eleven years, there has been at least one thing that area residents can look forward to in February— The Black History Family Festival at Gail Borden Public Library.

On Saturday, February 6th from 1-5 p.m., Glennette Tilley Turner, renowned historian, lecturer and author on the Underground Railroad, will headline the 11th annual Black History Family Festival.  This year’s theme is “Hallowed Grounds: Sites of African American Memories”.

The Black History Family Festival is a family friendly event that has something for everyone— and I do mean EVERYONE.  Not only is this a family friendly event, the Black History Family Festival is a great opportunity for people from all backgrounds to experience the rich history of African-American culture and learn about their contributions at both the national and local level.   Locally, some of our best and brightest local youth will also be recognized as part of School District U-46’s Future African American Leaders Program.

Picture2So often during Black History Month, we only hear about the contributions of those I refer to as “the usual suspects”, such as Martin Luther King, Jr., Harriet Tubman and Rosa Parks.  One of the ways that the Black History Family Festival will take participants beyond the norm is through the Sankofa Wax Museum of African-American History.  Sankofa is a word in the Twi language of Ghana that means “Go back and get it”.  It is often symbolized by the Asante Adinkra symbol, a bird with its head turned backwards taking an egg off its back.   The wax museum will honor local African-American historians as part of Second Baptist Church of Elgin’s 150th anniversary celebration.

The Black History Family Festival will culminate with an interactive celebration of dance, music and folklore performed by the Muntu Dance Theatre of Chicago.  This returning act is always a popular attraction with their high-energy performance that is guaranteed to get you out of your seat.

Picture1The entire event is free and open to the public.  For more information, visit the Black History Family Festival website at  or the Gail Borden Public Library website at

I look forward to seeing you all there!


Guest Blogger: Tish Powell – Elgin City Councilwoman
A proud mom and Elgin resident since 1999, Tish is currently serving in her second term on the Elgin City Council.  To reach her email





A while ago, my friend Karly had an idea . . . to create a festival that brought together all of the amazing things that she had experienced at writers’ workshops, conferences, authors’ events, and in critique groups.  A festival that would give other writers and readers the same amazing experiences.  A festival that brought exciting programs and authors right to us, right on our doorstep, free and open to all ages.

That idea came to life and continues with the second annual Elgin Literary Festival which takes place on Friday AND Saturday, January 29th and 30th.  The Elgin Literary Festival is a celebration of the written word taking place in Downtown Elgin, a blooming center of the arts.  The Festival aims to highlight bookish culture and provide writers and readers a place to create and appreciate the art of writing, all within the charming architecture and welcoming businesses that are the soul of the City of Elgin.

This year’s program includes featured talks from:

  • Bart Scott speaking about being a grown Disney-loving man, why going to Walt Disney World can be even more fun as an adult – and without kids, and how he turned his love of the Mouse into a successful, funny travel guide.
  • Renée Ahdieh examining the process of getting published, especially as a writer of diverse background bringing to life different worlds.
  • Kate Quinn discussing the writing, researching, and publishing of historical novels in a rapidly changing market.
  • And Nathan Rabin sharing stories from his life and career as he chronicles how he made the epic journey from a Scribner author and head writer of The A.V Club to being a freelance writer living in his in-laws’ basement.

All of the festival’s programming is in the Hemmens Cultural Center and is free & open to the public.  Information about the festival can be found on Facebook and one can download the full festival program.

Submitted by Jamey Bouwmeester, Elgin Literary Festival Committee Member



Pro Boxing Fitness Brings Exhilarating

New Workouts To Downtown Elgin

Downtown Elgin’s exclusive boxing gym helps Elgin locals jab, cross and hook their way to a healthier lifestyle. “Our high intensity, group-based fitness classes offer a lot more than your traditional gym,” says Pro Boxing Fitness Owner, Erick Arevalo. “The members here have to interact with each other through different drills, which gives them a sense of camaraderie. A lot of friendships have been made at this gym. Plus, the workouts change every day so no one ever gets bored.”

Pro Boxing Fitness is open Monday through Saturday with classes in Olympic Style Boxing, Circuit Boxing, Strength and Conditioning, Muay Thai Kickboxing, Jiu Jitsui, and Yoga. If you want some extra one-on-one attention, Personal Training sessions are available. “There’s really something for everyone,” Arevalo says. “We see people of all ages, backgrounds and fitness levels walk through the door, and we’re happy to work with all of them.”

With a successful 1.5 years of operation in Downtown Elgin, it seems the community loves the gym. Standing strong with 100 members and growing, a lot of people have seen life-changing results. “I have one member who lost over 100lbs,” says Arevalo. “Every person who has been committed to our classes has seen success, and that goes beyond just fitness results. We offer kid’s classes, and once the kids start working with us their attention, confidence and social skills vastly improve.”

Pro Boxing Fitness is located at 5 S. Spring St. in Downtown Elgin. With a whole new year upon them, this gym is the perfect answer for an exciting, unique program to achieve all your fitness goals!


JAN blog
Should auld acquaintance be forgot…

Should auld acquaintance be forgot? Never –  unless they are bad habits you have become acquainted with!  In the New Year, it is quite popular to come up with those ever so important new year resolutions! What are you resolving to do better or different in 2016? Many are determined to be more fit, spend more time with the family, get organized or even learn something new. If so, we have plenty of choices in downtown Elgin to help you see those through.

Get fit…
So you have your mind set on getting in shape…being more fit…shedding the excess. Downtown Elgin has options for every schedule and level. To start, Pro Boxing Fitness, 5 S. Spring, is “downtown Elgin’s exclusive boxing gym” plus a whole lot more. To learn more about Pro Boxing Fitness, read next week’s blog or visit If you are looking for more of a traditional health club, look no further than The Centre of Elgin, 100 Symphony Way. This 185,000 sq. ft. recreation center houses a newly renovated fitness club, free in-door track, ball courts, and pool. Stop by, take a tour, and make a commitment to your self!  (

Spend more time with the family…
It has been said that spending time as a family is a wise investment, and downtown Elgin definitely has some quality choices to experience time well spent! Take for example, the Gail Borden Public Library (, located at 270 N. Grove, has something for everyone. Or stop by the Elgin History Museum (, just a stone’s throw from downtown Elgin at 360 Park Street. Both of these facilities boast interesting and educational exhibits, displays on days-gone-by to modern technology and so much more, all geared towards the young of age to the young at heart!

More quality family time can be spent at the exhibits at Side Street Studio Arts, taking in an Elgin Symphony Orchestra concert, or just hanging out at Festival Park for a bike ride, a walk, or even play time in the park! Or sometimes just sitting down to share a meal, is a great way to share quality family time, and downtown Elgin has a plethora of choices! Monday night half off burgers at Elgin Public House, the shakes and malts at Al’s Café and Creamery, or try the award winning pizza at Danny’s on Douglas or the empanadas at Romance Premium Café, gourmet popcorn at Mama Lee’s, the gelato at Chooch’s, the gourmet hot doggities at Dog’s Paw, Blue Box Cafe for fresh deli sandwiches, and for a special time with children 21+, check out Martini Room, Eaton’s Redwood Inn or the Grand Victoria Casino boat! You want choices…downtown Elgin has choices!

Get organized…
Downtown Elgin also can get you organized! Need to get your finances in order or insurance up to date? Check out PJN Financial Services at or Kirkpatrick, Jones, Herzog Insurance at, respectively. Or what about your car? Did you make an appointment to get a tune-up or an oil change? You can get personal service for you and your car at Tom’s Auto Clinic, right here conveniently located in downtown Elgin! You will feel empowered in the new year by checking these all off your to-do list!

Learn something new…
Do you aim to learn something new? How about knitting at Elgin Knit Works, 8 Douglas Avenue. The shopkeepers have a passion for knitting and offer classes for all levels. Learn more at How about painting? Have fun at the interactive painting classes around town at Martini Room (, Ola la Ijorere (, or Brushed Chicago ( Each of these venues offers the canvas, paint supplies, picture and instructors for you and friends to create your own masterpieces in a friendly and fun setting!

So there you go! You have resolutions, and downtown Elgin has the means to the ends for your 2016 declarations! In the words of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, “Resolve, and thou art free”, (but make sure you do it in downtown Elgin)!

Submitted by an Elgin community member


2015 Downtown Elgin in Review:
DNA Staff Top Picks

2015-Year-In-ReviewBefore we switch to year 2016 here in Downtown Elgin, we, at the Downtown Neighborhood Association, would like to pause and highlight some the events and businesses which caused us to smile, be thankful, laugh out loud, or just realize what a great community we have to live, play, work, dine and shop in!   We hope you enjoy these videos and photographs and that they will inspire you to look forward to what 2016 will bring to all in Downtown Elgin!


  • The Big Overnight January Snow Push
    Because of the recent November blizzard, or this past week’s weather, we were reminded of how earlier in the year we got dumped on with lots of snow! Check out the photos of the City of Elgin’s Public Work crews removing snow in Downtown Elgin at night! WOW – they do a great job!
  • 10998092_356169297908650_2166322046965134291_nColin’s Friends Birthday Party at Blue Box Café
    The number of fundraisers held in Downtown Elgin this year for people and pets in our community, state, country, and overseas – was astonishing!  More than 50 fundraising events were held to raise money, food, and awareness for those in need and Colin’s Friends was just one great example! This fundraiser also brought people to downtown Elgin from far and wide!
  • Downtown Elgin May First Friday Art Hop1781721_829026503811690_3633845093924752681_o
    What a way to kick off the spring! Artists, buskers, dining and drink specials, events and more were available for First Friday goers!  We hope to continue to promote and help organize further nights like this in collaboration with other groups, businesses and organizations.  Thanks to Scales Off Media for putting a video together that captured the essence of the first First Friday’s Art Hop. Visit our First Friday’s Art Hop event page to check it out!
  • Best Dining Facebook Pictures from New Businesses
    There was many a time where photographs posted on Facebook, from Downtown businesses, caused our DNA staff to salivate and then leave the office to only return with that food option. So thank you Dog’s Paw Brewing Company, Mama Lee’s Gourmet Popcorn, and Romance Premium Café , to be among the many downtown Elgin restaurants, for posting awesome foodie photographs!
  • 12106999_454647241409850_1046735056968198244_n11223972_696294637171761_870742814172675127_n11125514_852112428158259_1830717499575263142_o





  • Downtown Elgin Incubates Thriving, “Out of the Box” and Sometimes “Quirky” Festivals
    Whether it is the more established Nightmare on Chicago Street or this year’s new Fez Fest or 11148374_1564360280483879_4778680922159484047_nKrampus Krawl, we appreciate the community of artists and event organizers who continue to keep Elgin innovating and celebrating the lesser mainstream but cultish followings of: a zombie apocalypse, Santa’s other half- Krampus, or funny hats!

Thanks for reading and watching and enjoy a safe New Year’s Eve and Day!

As 2015 comes to a close DNA staff would like to wish each and everyone of you a Joyous Season and a very Happy New Year!

Please enjoy this video of the 17th Annual DNA Window Wonderland by Scales off Media


Celebrating Christmas
with Downtown Churches

“No city of its size can surpass Elgin in the beauty and number of its churches …” That phrase in the 1908 “History of Kane County, Illinois” is as true today as it was then, providing it the nickname: “The City of Churches”. It is, today, home to more than 100 houses of worship. Two of these, members of the Downtown Neighborhood Association, reflected upon their message and role in this year’s celebration of Christmas. Both are on ‘Holy Hill,’ that central part of downtown, where the earliest congregations in Elgin were established, and which today still holds 20 houses of worship.

St Johns 3 of 3-1St. John’s Evangelical Lutheran Church, 109 North Spring Street, Elgin, was founded in 1859. The current building, erected in 1912, is distinctive for its two towers of differing heights and Gothic detail.

Inside, the pine-garlanded Communion rail in front of the Sanctuary leads your eye to the tall yellow-lighted tree, picking up on the color pallet of the towering Gothic stained glass windows and organ pipes.

“Our message to the Elgin community,” Pastor Clifford “Hannibal” Frederich reflected, “is that all are welcomed by God and us for the very reason that we are all redeemed by the One Lord Jesus Christ.”

Christmas Services at St. John’s:

Christmas Eve at 4:00 PM:
“Voices of Christmas,” a family service designed for children with several participating.
Christmas Eve at 11:00 PM:
A Service of “Lessons and Carols,” a choir candlelight service with Holy Communion.
Christmas Day at 10:00 AM:
Christmas Day Service with Holy Communion, with traditional reading and the Christmas Proclamation: “A Savior is Born!”

FUMC 4 of 4One block away, the First United Methodist Church of Elgin, 216 East Highland Avenue, Elgin, has roots in the early Methodist circuit rider pastors who first held services in Elgin in 1837. Today, the Bedford limestone building, erected in the mid-1920s, is a showcase of Gothic architectural style. Decorated for Christmas, the soaring tree on in front of the sanctuary is bedecked in blue and white ornaments mirroring the rose window high on the wall over the altar.

“These services are open to all,” commented Senior Pastor Richard “Rick” T. Carlson, “with special invitation to those from Muslim, Jewish and other faith communities who would like to experience a traditional Christmas celebration in a welcoming environment.”

Christmas Services at First United Methodist:

Christmas Eve at 4:00 PM:
Family Service geared toward children and youth, with young church members playing seasonal music and taking part in lessons and carols. An original illustrated story called “Road Trip!” will be read.
Christmas Eve at 7:30 PM:
Christmas Eve Traditional Service, with lights, choir, bells, and traditional carols. Pastor Carlson’s message entitled “Maybe This Year…” will be followed by candle lighting and prayer for peace.

If you are looking to be in a worshipping community for Christmas, or simply want to experience the both the majesty and humbleness of it all, these two churches will provide that special spiritual nourishment for the holidays and beyond, as well as a glimpse into the rich and faith-centered roots and heritage of Elgin.

Blog Contributor:  Michael Murschel, SD
Michael is funeral celebrant, spiritual director, and founder of Caring Farewells Funeral Designers: personalized and compassionate funeral, celebration of life, and memorial services. His services are most often provided for families who consider themselves spiritual but not religious, who have no active membership in a faith community, and therefore have no one well-qualified to engage in this presider role with them at a time when they most need it. In addition, he also provides pet memorial services for those times of loss.  



Downtown Elgin Christmas Past to Present:
Last Minute Gift Ideas

1f9a038942c01797e11393371cbfc56dGhosts of Christmas pasts? With a history dating back to the 1800’s, historic downtown Elgin has plenty of Christmas ghosts and stories of brisk shopping sales, decades long family businesses, and large department stores that also called any big city their home. Brisk sales, drives in the family sedan from other towns became events, and Christmas cheer in downtown Elgin was plentiful.

Do you long for those days or do you sometimes think you were born in the wrong era? Fast forward the time machine to the holiday season 2015 and, you see, you can still walk those same sidewalks and enter some of those same old buildings for the glory of Christmas presents, while still having one foot in the rich history of Elgin Christmas past.

Downtown Elgin offers great espresso coffee shops, where you can also get a sandwich, like Domani Cafe and Blue Box Cafe. 12308087_723393247795233_5179323546293236136_oSpending time in a book shop, we have that too with Elgin Books & Coffee and their own in-house coffee shop. Other great independently owned restaurants include Elgin Public House, El Faro, Mama Lee’s Gourmet Popcorn, Romance Premium Cafe, Toom Toom Thai Restaurant, Bangkok House & Shanghai Restaurant, Dog’s Paw Brewing, Chooch’s Pizza, Danny’s on Douglas, Pastigel Bakery, downtown Elgin institution Al’s Cafe & Creamery & more!

12278721_1093259300685864_1511758183436421154_nWalking these 1800 era streets, you really get a sense of history, but as you are personally well into the
present, check your phone and your “record store app” and see that there is a record store right in downtown Elgin! None other than Rediscover Records! Browse the best in preloved classics and the best in new releases from the Belvederes to SilverSun Pickups to Murder by Death, Joanna Newsome, Deerhunter, and Bully. We also carry turntables, record cleaners, record sleeves, those classic 45rpm inserts, and our Rediscover Records logo T-Shirts are immensely popular.

Keeping music as a theme, don’t forget Fat Cat Guitars Custom Repair Shop for guitar for repairs and custom made guitars! Other ornate, if not unique shops, include Soulful Sparrow, Elgin Knit Works, Elgin Antiques & Uniques, Funky Rooster Tattoo & Art Studio, Ola la IjorereBBK Motorsports, Ziegler’s Ace Hardware, Floral Impressions, and Town & Country Gardens!

Get the dickens away from the malls and big box store for the wafts of Christmas pasts while shopping at some of the hippest shops in the area that are very much the anti-mall or box store. Where does a place like this exist, you ask? In downtown Elgin!

Quick Gift Card Ideas & Deals:

Guest Blogger: Rich Wagner, Owner of Rediscover Records
Rediscover Records is a record store located at 9 S. Spring St. in historic downtown Elgin.
They specialize in new releases and the classics!


Krampuslauf Elgin’s Krampus Krawl

12088385_964687690270486_2663843954528348367_n-1Krampuslauf Elgin “krawls” into its third year with our first-ever Krampus Krawl!  This year we embark on a new journey, that of the Krampus Krawl, a five-stop traditional Krampuslauf in the downtown area where a run of celebrants dressed as Krampi, gather to showcase the tradition and lore of The KrampusKrampuslauf has a rich tradition dating back to the 17th Century in the German-speaking Alpine region of Europe, showcasing homemade costumes, libations, storytelling, and finding out who has been naughty, and who has been nice.  This year St. Nicholas will lead the procession, reciting poems and stories of the Krampus lore.  When you krawl, wear your Krampus best, a holiday sweater, antlers, or just be yourself, enjoy traditional Alpine-German music from Alpine Thunder, and join us to sample some of the tastiest treats Downtown Elgin has to offer! 

12240063_979808275425094_3625364212071811704_nThe Krampus is making a resurgence across the United States for folks looking for something a little edgier around the holidays, which can be too warm and fuzzy for some. Dress up in costume or dark holiday theme and join the Krawl from the lights of Riverside Drive up Chicago Street to Side Street Studio Arts for this year’s Krampus art exhibit opening, enjoying live performance, music, costumed camaraderie and libations along the way!  So, be a good little boy or girl and join the First Friday festivities on Friday, December 4, starting at 6pm! 


For more information on Krampuslauf, please visit, or visit our  Follow us on Twitter @KrampusElgin.

Guest Blogger: Side Street Studio Arts
An Downtown Elgin non profit – Side Street provides educational and creative resources and an accessible space, run by artists.  Side Street’s mission is to support the artist and artistic journey through collaboration.





As the holidays approach we here at the Downtown Neighborhood Association (DNA) wanted to share with our downtown Elgin community all there is to enjoy the season in one handy Twelve Days of Elgin calendar. We had so much fun compiling all there is to do this season. We’re sure there is a little bit of holiday joy to be found on our streets for everyone!



11am-2pm  FREE! Community Thanksgiving Dinner | First United Methodist Church


All Day Small Business Saturday | Shop Small in Downtown Elgin

1:30 pm ESO’s The Magical Music of Disney | Hemmens Cultural Center

6:30pm ESO’s The Magical Music of Disney | Hemmens Cultural Center



5-9 pm Mistletoes & Margaritas Holiday Mixer |The Haight


5:30-7:30 pm FREE! Home for the Holidays: Frozen Extravaganza | Gail Borden           Public Library

6 pm Krampuslauf 2015- Krampus Krawl | Side Street Studios Arts

8 pm First Fridays Improv with GreenRoom Productions | Hemmens Cultural Center

8 pm Home for the Holidays: A Musical Revue | Elgin Art Showcase


All Day FREE! (Skate rental not included) City Skate | Civic Center Plaza

12-4pm FREE! Elgin Police Department Holiday Open House | Elgin Police Department

12-5 pm FREE! Window Wonderland: The 12 Days of Christmas | Downtown Elgin

1-3pm Holiday Tea | Elgin History Museum

5 pm FREE! City of Elgin Tree Lighting | Robert Gilliam Municipal Complex

7 pm Judson University Christmas Concert of Worship | Judson University Herrick Chapel

8pm Home for the Holidays: A Musical Revue | Elgin Art Showcase


2pm Home for the Holidays: A Musical Revue | Elgin Art Showcase

6pm Home for the Holidays: A Musical Revue | Elgin Art Showcase



5-7 pm FREE! YWCA Elgin Holiday Open House | YWCA Elgin

5-8pm Celebrate Life + Art in Downtown Elgin: DNA Annual Meeting  | Kresmery Lofts


10 pm Chicago Burlesque Holiday Hijinks (21+) | Side Street Studio Arts


1:30pm  ESO’s Magical Holiday Concerts | Hemmens Cultural Center

6:30 pm ESO’s Magical Holiday Concerts | Hemmens Cultural Center

8 pm Core Project Presents: Cracked Nuts | Elgin Art Showcase


6 pm ESO’s Magical Holiday Concerts | Hemmens Cultural Center


5 pm Jingle Bell Jam | Side Street Studio Art

5:35 pm Holiday Adult Coloring & Painting Extravaganza | Ola la ljorere


7:30 pm Christmas Eve Traditional Services | First United Methodist Church


5 pm Rock the Halls Holiday Concert | Danny’s Pizza on Douglas


02_Selfie_Facebook_CoverPhoto_1Small Business Saturday in Downtown Elgin

The Downtown Neighborhood Association (DNA) would like to remind everyone Small Business Saturday is quickly approaching! It will be on the Saturday following Thanksgiving, November 28th, during the busiest shopping weekend of the year, nestled between Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

Founded by American Express in 2010, Small Business Saturday is a day to celebrate the small businesses that help support their neighborhood and offer unique quality products, flavors, atmosphere, and great customer service. Now in its sixth year, second year organized in Elgin, Small Business Saturday has been embraced as part of the holiday shopping tradition as each year shoppers, businesses and public officials come together to “Shop Small” and show their neighborhood pride.

To bring awareness and kick off the upcoming event Elgin Mayor, David Kaptain, will be reading a “Small Business Saturday in Elgin Proclamation” at the City of Elgin council meeting TONIGHT, Wednesday, November 18, 7pm. Local shop owners are encouraged to attend and participate.

Below is a run down of all the specials being offered in Downtown Elgin on Small Business Saturday:

905738_10153016263021199_8486919744678789951_oFloral Impressions, 215 E. Chicago Street: 15% off your purchase of flowers and things

Martini Room, 161 E. Chicago Street: Great cocktail specials, complimentary tasting of Holiday cocktails, and take your chances at the Holiday Ho-Ho-Ho Raffle to win some fun prizes!

Soulful Sparrow, 10 Douglas Avenue: 20% off sale on all boutique women’s clothing, which has been growing and their racks are brimming with new arrivals!  Plus one can meet their new business partner, Krissy Palermo, who lives north of Downtown Elgin and whose home is on this year’s Northeast Neighborhood Home for the Holidays House Tour!

But not only are Downtown businesses and organizations participating in Small Business Saturday but other national shopping movements from Black Friday(November 27) to Cyber Monday(November 30) to Giving Tuesday(December 1)!  Read below to shop/participate at participating local Elgin businesses and organizations:

BBK Motorsports, 227 Dupage Street: Joining the tradition of 11057509_941226025933198_5259629452165986212_oBlack Friday discounts BBK will have discounts on everything in the Parts and Accessories Department up to 75% off! No Part will be sold on Black Friday without a discount of minimum 20% off.  Generators on blow out and Dirt bikes and ATV’s at unbelievable prices! Gift Certificates will be discounted as well.

Rediscover Records, 9 S. Spring: Open for business on Black Friday at 8am, Rediscover Records will also be having Black Friday Record Store Day! Rediscover Records will celebrate with special releases, new releases, EPs, albums, singles and reissues that are exclusive to independent record stores only! No big box store can match what Rediscover Records will have!  Rediscover will post a complete list by Wednesday, November 25 evening. Live music throughout the day!

givingtuesdayAlso support a local or global non profit this season on Giving Tuesday – whether it be participating in Side Street Studio Art’s Jingle Bell Jam campaign to raise awareness and funds for charities, becoming a member of the Downtown Neighborhood Association or participating with the Grand Victoria Foundation in #ILGive, in conjunction with Giving Tuesday, in giving to these Elgin non profits, and the foundation will match up to $5,000 on individual donations given that day to each non profit!

So enjoy your holiday season here in Elgin by shopping local for you and yours, smartly planning out your holiday weekend on where you will get the best deals, and giving generously to those Elgin non profits who give year round back to our community!



It’s Time Again… Window Wonderland 2015 is here!


It’s beginning to look a lot like the Downtown Neighborhood Association of Elgin’s 17th Annual Window Wonderland. This year Window Wonderland is celebrating the classic carol The Twelve Days of Christmas with decorated windows, live reindeer, carriage rides, chestnut roasting and much more. Whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa or your own special holiday, join the festivities in downtown Elgin on Saturday, December 5 from 12-5pm.

In addition to Window Wonderland, the streets of downtown Elgin will be alive with additional activities and attractions including the Elgin Police Department Open House, First United Methodist’s Live Nativity Scene at Carleton Rogers Park, the Elgin History Museum’s Holiday Tea, and free ice skating at City Skate. The day culminates with the City of Elgin’s annual tree lighting at the Robert Gilliam Municipal Complex at 5pm.


There are still opportunities to participate in Window Wonderland 2015. For more information on event sponsorship or if you, your business or your organization would like to decorate a window, please contact the DNA’s Event Coordinator Paige Roeber at 847-488-1456 or e-mail



The DNA’s 17th Annual Window Wonderland is part of Elgin Home for the Holidays. To see the complete schedule of holiday events in Elgin, click here.




Elgin Non Profits Matter

This is the time of the year when everyone collectively musters together to get through or just plain enjoy the next two months filled with various holidays, gatherings, events, and gifts.  It is also that time of year where end of year giving and giving back to one’s community are a reality.  Whether it be wrapping up 2015, ending your procrastination on following through, or looking ahead to 2016 and where your time, talents, and treasures will be used, Elgin has amazingly effective and busy non profits who could benefit from your support.  Below are a couple organizations one can support in the following two weeks.

CCCCommunity Crisis Center

Having long been in our Elgin community the Community Crisis Center has already started collecting winter outerwear clothing for men, women and children.

They only accept gently used outerwear, in good conditionclean, but not Fall or Spring weight, They also accept gloves, hats, scarves. There is always a shortage of coats in men’s large sizes every year, so those are greatly appreciated. So be on the lookout for great sales or good finds in one’s own closet!

Donations can be taken to any of the Elgin fire stations. To view these locations, visit

Volunteers are also needed so if you are interested contact Deanna by emailing

Side Street Studio Arts  12141174_804477396331885_8359645221523201337_o

Ever creative Side Street Studio Arts will be having a Sneak Peek and Fundraiser on Friday, November 13 of the weekend’s jam packed performances in “First Thing’s First!

The evening will look to raise funds to support all of SSSA’s programming, including it’s Accents – FREE arts education program. Art lovers will start the evening off with food, drinks, and immersive art experiences in the gallery, followed by the First Thing’s First performance in Next Door Theater ( Core Project, Janus Theatre Company, Rise Jones, Richard Pahl, Troupe iMprov, and more)., followed by desserts and art in the gallery.

So first things first and buy your tickets today! 

AC Image - ResizedYWCA Elgin

Elgin’s local YWCA has the local vision of “being a safe, nurturing hub of activity that brings together women, youth, and families of diverse backgrounds to a place that fosters growth, leadership, and prosperity. Through lifelong learning, leisure, and friendship, they enrich the community by empowering women and advancing the goal of eliminating racism.”  But it is a well known fact that many of our local non profits programs have been greatly impacted, halted, or have ended by the Illinois State Budget Impasse.

This is why the YWCA Elgin Annual Campaign this year is so important as they continue to “empower the cNgnNTegjVEwjYR-800x450-noPadparent to grow the child” by increasing literacy in families and providing after-school care for children of working parents. To get to know and understand the Elgin families which are affected check out their #ImAffected Campaign videos on their Facebook page.

Donations are appreciated so please consider contributing!

amazonsmileSupport Non Profits @ Amazon Smile

Lastly as we all enter the season of gift giving if you are an online shopper we would ask you to consider signing up for Amazon’s Free Amazon Smile program and choosing a local non profit which can benefit in donations from your purchases.  Simply sign up online for this program, choose the non profit to benefit, and remember as you are shopping to go to Amazon Smile.  Same shopping experience but now Amazon gives 0.5% of your eligible purchases to your local non profit of choice! And if your local non profit is not listed talk to them about registering their organization to be added to the list.




Elgin History Museum:
Inspiring Historical Discovery

Did you join the crowd at Chooch’s Pizza, the Martini Room or Elgin Public House during the Elgin History Museum’s Barstool Scholars Series recently? Were you one of the 600 attendees at the 28th Annual Bluff City Cemetery Walk? Have you seen the Project 231 film or the exhibit as it travels around Elgin? If so, then you know how history makes your brain larger! Be a part of the Elgin story this fall at these various events!

EHS2015-Annual-Benefit_v2-1Annual Benefit – November 7 – 6pm – Elgin Country Club

This year the Elgin History Museum will have its annual benefit at the Elgin Country Club on Saturday, November 7 at 6 pm. Tickets are $40 members/$50 non-members and are available online for purchase. Hot and cold appetizers and desserts will be available along with a silent auction. Guests will enjoy Terry Lynch portraying Daniel Burnham, architect of the 1909 Chicago Plan. Burnham will take you through the history of the city he loved so well; from the Fort Dearborn Massacre to the Columbian Exposition of 1893, from the Union Stockyards to the city’s fabulous architecture.


Holiday Tea – December 5 – 1pm – Elgin History Museumimage (2)

What says the holidays for you? For many it is the Museum’s Annual Holiday Tea. This event will feature holiday treats and hot beverages — of course! Leslie Goddard will delight with a history of the well-known Marshall Field & Co., Chicago’s leading department store. The flagship Chicago store had the iconic Walnut Room, legendary holiday windows and of course the decadent candy, Frango Mints! Free



Mad Man Muntz
An Elginite you’ll want to know! 

The latest exhibit Mad Man Muntz: Pop Culture Icon tells the inspiring, wacky and fun story of a hard working former Elginite, named Earl Muntz who became a sales and commercial advertising legend in California in the 1940s and 1950s. Buy one, get one free on all Muntz merchandise in the Museum Store! It’s a Muntz Christmas this year!

Shop Local History this Holiday Season!image (1)

Holidays can get hectic. Cut out the stress and head over to and click on the “SHOP” tab. There you will find one-of-kind jewelry, great books and much more at prices everyone can be happy about! The Museum Store is open Wednesday- Saturday from 11am-4pm. Many items will be on sale for the holiday season! Check us out!


Guest Blogger: Hannah Walters – Public Services Coordinator/ Elgin History
Hannah is not a native of Elgin, but since moving here in 2008, calls it home. As part of the Elgin History Museum staff she can be seen in the third floor office of Old Main improving the website, updating the Facebook page, sending out fun emails and promoting all things Elgin History.

Elgin History Museum, 360 Park Street
Wednesday-Saturday, 11am-4pm; @elginhistory

Elgin Police Department Says Boo!
Be Safe. Be Aware. Be Involved!

The Elgin Police Department would like to remind everyone to be on the lookout for ghouls and goblins this Halloween, which falls on a Saturday. We expect there will be a lot of children out and about during the recommended trick-or-treating hours, which are from 3 -7 p.m.

Parents, we encourage you to accompanyTrick or Treat your children and when dusk is approaching, keep a flashlight handy to light their way. Your children should be able to maneuver safely in their costumes that will hopefully be light in color and have reflective tape affixed.  Remind them to cross at intersections, stay on sidewalks, and let you check their candy before it’s eaten. Home and business owners should keep their property lit and as always, if you like it – lock it! We want everyone to have a safe and fun holiday.

If you don’t know this about our department already, community outreach is one of our main objectives. We attend and host many meetings each month in an effort to better understand what residents and businesses are experiencing in their neighborhoods. In return, we offer information to keep our community-up-to date with crime problems, trends and department initiatives.

We have two community meetings occurring before the end of October:

11201862_1013140555374481_8984021799308872703_nThe first community meeting will be hosted at St. Mary’s Church, 397 Fulton St. at 2:15 p.m. on October 25, 2015. This will be a community conversation, where open dialogue will be highly encouraged and the content will be provided in both Spanish and English. This is an excellent occasion to meet Elgin officers.

The second is the Chief’s Community Meeting, which will be hosted on October 26th at 6 p.m. at 151 Douglas Ave. This is a great opportunity to talk to command staff, hear what issues are being identified in the community, catch up on the latest department news, and you may even want to use the time to check out the museum showcases in our lobby.

If you aren’t already a follower of ours on Facebook or Twitter, we hope you will take a moment to connect.  We are in your downtown neighborhood and we welcome all opportunities to communicate with you.

Kristie Hilton is a senior management analyst with the Elgin Police Department and among other responsibilities, she manages the department’s social media endeavors.



The day of reckoning is Saturday, October 24, 2015, 6-11PM, when all must head to downtown Elgin to the Safe Zone! The zombie apocalypse – Nightmare on Chicago Street – returns for its 5th Anniversary, and to secure your safety, you will need a ticket to enter the zone, so purchase your tickets from the Downtown Neighborhood Association for $12 ($15 at the door, upon availability).
12032826_10206909194881323_8046492172075041216_oTo prepare, walk or run now to your nearest device to register for the Boys and Girls Club of Elgin’s Zombie Run. This 5K run/1 mile fun walk will get your blood going to prepare you for the evening’s festivities! The race starts at 9am at the Southwest corner of Kimball & Grove, and the after party will be held at Danny’s on Douglas. So grab your running shoes, grab the kids and grab the dogs (but don’t you get grabbed by a Zombie) and head to this ghoulish race to support the Boys and Girls Club of Elgin!
Then at 6pm, head over to the Safe Zone, Chicago Avenue from Douglas to Villa, where you will see businesses boarded up, burning tires, cars overturned and zombies around every corner, and you’ll experience a night like you’ve never had! And as a reminder no strollers, coolers, animals or weapons of any kind in the safe zone!
6119907For Nightmare on Chicago Street’s 5th Anniversary, the City of Elgin Special Events has brought the community together to bring you an event that you will heighten all your senses. There will be special menus from Blue Box Cafe, Romance Premium Cafe, Prairie Rock Bar & Grill, Danny’s Pizza and more!
Thirsty? Then head to Martini Room to experience the “Safe Lounge with Martini Room 11116515_897267517015824_7040921143223601668_o161”, or Elgin Public House for their “Nightmare Beer” specially brewed for this event. Medusa’s and Stay Gold Productions will be presenting “Zombie Invasion” with drink specials and dancing all night long! Ola la Ijorere will be offering the “Safe and Sober Zone” where you can eat, drink and be merry with non-alcohol selections. And Al’s Cafe will have an out-door bar ready to serve you, keeping you safe from the undead!
ngdo3dzvfbgmku3cc5o8Still more! To protect yourselves from the menacing zombies, you can come in costume, and even participate in the NOCS Costume Contest. Prizes to be awarded for the best costumer, too. Adding to this, many of the downtown Elgin businesses will also have specials and offers such as Funky Rooster Tattoo & Art Gallery will have a special on Creepy Tattoos, and Side Street Studio Arts will host Svengoolie in their gallery space. Plus, you don’t want miss out on the Side Street Sideshow in the parking garage at Spring and Chicago, and their 2015 Battle of the Bands winner, Oceans & Oceans will be on the Main Stage at 6pm! And if you are feeling a chill from the undead in the air, stop by the YWCA Elgin’s Warming Shelter, located at 220 E. Chicago Street.
The Downtown Neighborhood Association (DNA) is even getting in on the fun! To help protect you from the undead, the DNA will be selling blinking, flashing and glowing jewelry and accessories that will scare all those zombies away!  Be safe!
Make sure to plan you visit to the Safe Zone. According to the Zombie Defense, “this may be 6293758719_0bf8d45988your last shot at survival” so the ZDI is equipped to ensure that every human will have a good time with multiple stages of entertainment, food, drink, live graffiti artists, Svengoolile and much much more! Check it all out on the NOCS website.
Disclaimer: This event is infectious…


Fall Means OktoberFest in Downtown Elgin

Fall, I look forward to it every year. Sure summer is fun, but to be honest it gets too hot.

Fall is where it is at for me. Leaves changing color, football is being played across the country, it is warmish during the day and cool at night!!!!

Logo-wihtout-dateBut the best part about Fall is the food. Harvest has come in so we get all types of great veggies and fruits. Apples, root veggies and the last of the summer veggies are all available. Meats are perfect and nuts and dried herbs are plentiful. It is a great time of year as a chef. So many great flavors to choose from…

We are also getting into the swing of holidays. Christmas, Thanksgiving, Halloween are all coming soon, but one of my favorites is Oktoberfest, a German celebration of the completed harvest!!!!! Everyone has worked hard and the food and beer are plentiful!!! We are lucky here in Elgin to have an awesome variety of celebrations and venues to choose from.

Here are some of my favorites in no particular order:

Al’s Café & Creamery  12115967_1760334860860671_9114819418188735700_n
Chef Tony always has a seasonal delight or 4 to enjoy with this month dinner being OctoberFest – delicious authentic German foods. Even their October lunch menu has a German twist! Plus, they have the best milk shakes in town!!!! Patio season is almost over but Al’s is always a great choice and has been for over 25 years.

Blue Box Café
The newest season of Doctor Who is in full swing at The BBC. Enjoy a full espresso coffee bar, great sandwiches and soups and the pleasant, welcoming dining room where you can relax and enjoy a sunny afternoon!!!! Plus try out their latest fall drinks during “Boxtober”!

Danny’s on Douglas
The Dalton’s moved their iconic Elgin pizza place to downtown Elgin and have created an awesome family friendly atmosphere. They host tons of events including karaoke, live music and a lot of benefits to help those in need!!!  Plus on Saturday, October 17 will be their Oktoberfest celebration, where for $25 you can get all you can eat pizza and Oktoberfest drafts plus music and fun!


Elgin Public House  11998914_10153617137986880_1243387492586066865_n
Greg Shannon once again will put out a great spread  for their Oktoberfest weekend, October 10th – 12th. Get there early, as the menu is limited in amounts. The schnitzel is awesome!!! They also serve Brats, Sausage Platters and some fantastic German potatoes. They will also have several great German beers available to wash it all down. Yum! And if you miss this weekend RSVP for their Oktoberfest Dinner Pairing on Tuesday, October 20. Double Yum!

12106711_10152971178141199_3854937298869675279_nMartini Room
Ula continues to offer some of the best martini’s in the Chicago area and is constantly adding to her amazing menu of drinkable treats – this month’s martini being Pumpkin Pie! They offer martini flights every Wednesday evening, so you can sample some of her new concoctions, plus they have other specials during the week!!!!


Nightmare on Chicago Street  top2
This year October 24th is the evening that Elgin hosts into one of the area’s best Fall celebrations!!!!! Downtown transforms into a zombie safe zone (but safe for how long????) for the evening as we celebrate Halloween, Elgin style!!!!! There is live music, great offerings of food and beverages plus costume contests, special guests and more!! Buy your tickets soon for a spot in the safe zone!

There are ton’s of other great places to check out and visit in downtown Elgin that I don’t have room to more than mention including: Chooch’s Pizzeria, Dog’s Paw Brewing, Prairie Rock Bar & Grill, Romance Premium Café, Mama Lee’s Popcorn, Toom Toom Thai, In the Neighborhood Fresh and the many restaurants at the Grand Victoria Casino (Where at any bar and any day in October, to celebrate Oktoberfest, you can get $4 Hacker Pschorr draft). Downtown Elgin is thriving and there are many things to enjoy!!!!

The guest blogger this week is the ever busy Chris Mau, owner of Blue Box Cafe in Downtown Elgin.

Addition: Also the latest DNA member, Colonial Cafe, currently rolled out their Oktoberfest menu which is being offered now through October 11!


Elgin Symphony Orchestra Kicks-off
Their 65th Anniversary Season
with Three Concerts in October

otto_presents_eso-logo-final (2)The Elgin Symphony Orchestra’s 65th season begins October 3rd and 4th with an opening weekend to remember! Audience favorite Maestro Andrew Grams is back – you are missing out if you haven’t seen him conduct! His dynamic, exciting and thrilling conducting style is just one reason why you’ll love the ESO. Experience the Elgin Symphony Orchestra this October with three different concerts. An ESO concert is perfect for a date night or a night out with friends. Downtown Elgin offers so many great restaurants and spots to mingle afterwards.

a grams at holiday inn Sept 2015 aIf you come to the symphony on Saturday nights, then you can join other concert goers, the guest artists and Music Director Andrew Grams for free appetizers and a cash bar at Elgin Public House.

For any of the ESO’s October concerts, you can get 35% off the single ticket price. Enter code 15-DNA35 at checkout or mention the code when calling the ESO Box Office (847-888-4000).


LynnHarrell.1Opening Weekend: Lynn Harrell Plays Tchaikovsky
October 3 at 7:30 p.m. & October 4 at 2:30 p.m.

Hemmens Cultural Center, 45 Symphony Way, Elgin

2015 Conductor of the Year Andrew Grams returns to conduct the ESO with one of America’s most celebrated soloists, cellist Lynn Harrell. Audiences will enjoy familiar American sounds with the Ives’ Variations on America (with the tune “My Country Tis of Thee” in several different variations). Tchaikovsky’s Variations on a Rococo Theme and the Andante cantabile movement from String Quartet No. 1 will be performed with the Elgin Symphony Orchestra musicians and world-renown cellist, Lynn Harrell.   The program will end with Brahms’ triumphant First Symphony. Much like Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 with the “Ode to Joy” theme, this Brahms symphony, also known as “Beethoven’s Tenth,” is one not to miss as a live performance – the power of the entire orchestra at full volume is a glorious and highly emotional experience.


DarthvaderOut of this World: Sci-fi Movie Classics
October 17 at 7:30 p.m. & October 18 at 2:30 p.m.

Hemmens Cultural Center, 45 Symphony Way, Elgin

Sci-fi lovers unite!! Guest conductor, Matthew Kraemer will lead the ESO as they perform themes from Star Wars, Star Trek, Aliens and Back to the Future…in a galaxy not so far away. You’ll even see a few film clips from these cult-classics. Don’t miss your chance to show your Sci-fi allegiance.



Musical Chills & Thrills
October 31 at 7:30 p.m. and November 1 at 2:30 p.m.

Hemmens Cultural Center, 45 Symphony Way, Elgin

Hair-raising stories and soul haunting sounds from Mussorgsky, Gounod, and Mozart abound at this frighteningly funny concert ending with Lemony Snicket’s The Composer is Dead, narrated by Damon Gupton. Andrew Grams takes the stage with his friend and actor Damon Gupton. Gupton’s recent roles in Suits Whiplash, and Unfaithful have brought much acclaim and he is currently starting in NBC’s The Player!

For tickets and information, visit

Questions? Contact Marketing Director Julie Baker at



 Support your Downtown Elgin

via the DNA!

Click Here

It’s been said before that the DNA is in the “heart of everything Downtown Elgin”, and we would like you to be a part of that! It’s true – sometimes people forget that we are a non-profit, 501(c)(3), volunteer-driven organization, but we are. We rely on Membership to help support our mission of being the driving force for economic vitality in Downtown Elgin.

As a designated Illinois Main Street Community, the DNA utilizes National Main Street 4-Point Approach® to downtown revitalization, which is accomplished through economic development, historic preservation, promotions, special events and your support.

We may not have the “warm and fuzzies” of other local non-profits, but we do serve the community in many ways. For example, this past year:

  • The DNA’s Design Committee achieved national recognition for Downtown Elgin on the National Register for Historic Places.
  • We hosted a Real Estate Tour, which attracted new businesses, realtors and developers to Elgin’s central business district. This secured 5 new contracts between property owners, new businesses and developers.
  • We also brought in thousands of visitors with our special events, such as the City of Elgin/DNA Fourth of July Parade, DNA Downtown Elgin Pub Crawl, Window Wonderland, Small Business Saturday and much more.
  • The DNA Board and Staff has established relationships with both Elgin Academy and Judson University to create opportunities for our downtown stakeholders that were previously not available
  • We were the first to launch new technology in Downtown Elgin, such as the DNA Parade App and the drone footage videos, created by local developer, Milan Shah. We are also working on a new app for our 2015 Pub Crawl which will allow free data for qualifying participants, while in the Downtown area during the crawl.

The above is only a slice of what we have accomplished. It may not give you those “warm and fuzzies”, but it is still very important, and we cannot carry out our mission without the generous support of our Members.

Thank you, in advance, for supporting your Downtown via the DNA.

FOR ALL NEW Business and Organization Members:  Register now to receive free ads/promotions in our weekly e-newsletters, the DNA “Top10” and “Weekend Reminder” for the remainder of 2015!

DNA Memberships start at $30.




DNA’s Annual Downtown Elgin Pub Crawl Going Back to Basics

September 16, 2015

Remember those sunny days of your childhood? The Downtown Neighborhood Association of Elgin invites you to sweep the clouds away and bring your family, neighbors and friends (ages 21 and over, sorry Junior) to the annual Downtown Elgin Pub Crawl on Friday, September 25 from 6-10pm.

The theme for this year’s Pub Crawl is “Back to Basics” – a kind of Saturday morning cartoon themed day of play but for grown-up kids at heart.
Participating downtown Elgin bars include Chooch’s Pizza, 64 S. Grove Avenue; Danny’s Pizza on Douglas, 231 Douglas Avenue; Dog’s Paw Brewing, 74 S. Grove Avenue; Eaton’s Redwood Inn, 118 E. Chicago Street; Elgin Public House, 219 E. Chicago Street; Martini Room, 161 E. Chicago Street; Medusa’s/Jet Night Club, 209 E. Chicago Street; and Prairie Rock Bar & Grill, 127 S. Grove Avenue.As an added bonus, this year several popular downtown businesses will also be featured as stops on the crawl including Blue Box Café, 176 E. Chicago Street; Funky Rooster Tattoo & Art Studio, 73 S. Grove Avenue; and Mama Lee’s Gourmet Popcorn, 20 S. Spring Street.For only $15.00, each Pub Crawler will receive a Report Card passport (pre-order before Friday, September 18th for a FREE t-shirt!) In order to qualify for a $300 cash prize, crawlers will take their Report Card to all eleven participating Pub Crawl venues to receive top marks in different school subjects by completing the Alphabet Scavenger Hunt.There will also be a variety of kid-themed activities and contests such as a Cookie Eating Contest at Blue Box Café, Big Wheel Races sponsored by BBK Motorsport on DuPage Street, Temporary Tattoos at Funky Rooster Tattoo, Lifesize Beer Pong at Prairie Rock Bar & Grill, and even a Cartoon Character Costume Contest at Medusa’s.For more information about the 2015 Downtown Elgin Pub Crawl, contact the Downtown Neighborhood Association of Elgin at 847-488-1456, e-mail or visit to purchase tickets in advance.




Elgin Cultural Arts Commission Sponsored Events Take Over September!

September 9, 2015


All this excitement in the month of September has everyone at the Elgin Fringe Festival jumping!


Elgin Cultural Arts Commission Sponsored Events Take Over September
The Elgin Cultural Arts Commission (ECAC) has been an incubator for unique events for quite some time. Whether it’s an arts organization or an individual artist, the ECAC has been a place to apply for grant funding to help support new ideas. A good way to see what the ECAC supports is to check out a series of events taking place during the month of September.
fez Friday, September 11: Get your Fez on at Fez Fest. This project continues the tradition of expanding the diversity of the arts scene in the City of Elgin. Local and area artists are putting their spin on interpretations of this iconic headwear at Elgin’s ArtSpace Gallery. Featuring 2D and 3D presentations of the theme will be “Famous Fezstorians in History”––a museum-style display featuring fictional characters who have made their mark while sporting a fez. There will also be feats of synchronized driving in mini 1957 Chevy Bel-Air replica cars. To add to the evening’s fun, guests are encouraged to wear their Fezzes and related attire. The first 20 attendees who come to the event wearing a fez will receive an exclusive, limited edition Fez Fest print. For attendees who arrive fez-less, a limited number of fezzes will be available at the door for a nominal fee. After the show, the fun continues with Fez-themed cocktails around the corner at the Martini Room! To learn more about Fez Fest, check out
 FFWednesday – Sunday, September 16-20: the Elgin Fringe Festival returns for its second year featuring more than 120 performances at unique venues throughout downtown Elgin. From comedy shows to dance performances, concerts, and plays, the Elgin Fringe Festival will be offering something for everyone, including Family Fringe, Go-Go Fringe and the Raising of the Blimp ceremony. Tickets and buttons are available at Fringe Central, which is located at Side Street Studio Arts, 15 Ziegler Court. It only costs $3 for a button and tickets range in price from free to no more than $10. If people plan on spending a lot time at the fringe, they can save money by getting a festival pass, and then they can see up to 24 shows for only $50. To learn more about the artists, the shows, and how to buy tickets or volunteer, go to
sff Saturday, September 26: the Elgin Short Film Festival returns for its 7th year at the Hemmens Cultural Center. Since 2009, the Elgin Short Film Festival has become a way to further the art of filmmaking while bringing a bit of Hollywood to downtown Elgin. While most short film festivals are modest with the films being shown to small groups of people, the Elgin Short Film Festival draws large crowds each year. Audiences and artists get the full Hollywood treatment with a red carpet reception, complete with limos and swag.  All this hospitality to the artists extends to the audience where they are treated to the comic talents of Mike Toomey, a regular performer on the WGN Morning News, who will once again act as master of ceremonies to present this year’s finalists. Winners will be selected by a panel of celebrity judges, and audience members will cast their votes for their favorite film. To learn more about the Elgin Short Film Festival and purchase tickets call 847-931-5900, or go to
Credits//Author: Sean Hargadon.  Mr. Hargadon has served on the Elgin Cultural Arts Commission for 9 years as a Commissioner and Chairman. During that time he has provided support and overseen multiple projects including Walkabout: Theater On Your Feet, the FallBack Arts Festival, and the Elgin Pop Up Poetry Project, along with many others. Additionally, he has helped develop artistic programs and strategic planning that support local artists and arts organizations.
Photo: Elgin Fringe Festival





First Fridays are Alive in Downtown Elgin

September 2, 2015

Elgin Art Hop – You are invited! from ScalesOffMedia on Vimeo.

First Friday is becoming part of the modern Elginite vocabulary as of late. The Downtown Neighborhood Association of Elgin decided to bring this national movement to our neck of the woods back in May 2015 and the celebration has continually evolved. As we head into another new month, and as we look forward to another exciting First Friday, a true explanation of these events and why they are taking place is overdue!

What is First Friday? In short, First Friday is a celebration the first Friday of the month to encourage economic development through the arts in our downtown neighborhood. The Downtown Neighborhood Association highlights special events, requests the downtown businesses to keep their doors open later and encourages patrons to experience a side of Elgin they may not have come across before. We invite buskers – or street performers – to bring their talents to the heart of our downtown community.

Often times the DNA will organize a special event that runs alongside the general First Friday celebration. Our first two events were what we called Art Hops. These events highlighted local artists in our pop up performances and galleries, participating local businesses with event-specific maps and correlating “passports” for participants to complete and turn in for raffle prizes! First Friday events following the Art Hops have kept the same general guidelines, but we have adjusted the themes to go along with other local special events, holidays and happenings!

For the September First Friday celebration, we are having a #Hashtag Hunt! This month we are all about discovering our downtown businesses and organizations while boosting their social media klout… and how YOU can use that to enhance your Downtown Elgin experience! Check in on the DNA Downtown Elgin First Fridays Facebook page now or stop by Elgin Artspace Lofts from 5pm-9pm on Friday, September 4th, to kick off this one-of-a-kind social media scavenger hunt. From there you will receive instructions on where to go, what photos to take and where to post them online! Complete all tasks and you’re automatically entered to win Downtown Elgin prizes. This month’s participating businesses include Martini Room, Elgin Antiques and Uniques, Rediscover Records, Elgin Artspace Lofts, Soulful Sparrow, and Blue Box Cafe. As you move about town, enjoy the sights and sounds of downtown Elgin with even more street performers, art galleries and events to kick off your weekend! Stop by Martini Room at 8pm as the evening is winding down to see Troupe Strozzi kick off a preview of their show that will be featured at this year’s Elgin Fringe Festival!

Credits// Author: Carrie Frederich- DNA First Fridays Committee Chair Video: Scales of Media Photo: Bruce and Sue Shipyor