This Weekend Around Oak Park

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14 years ago to date, I was sitting in my junior high classroom and listening to my teacher’s lesson. It was a Tuesday morning and everything about the day seemed normal. Suddenly, my principal came in with a concerned look on her face. She pulled my teacher in the hallway for a minute or so and I, along with my classmates, was left to speculate what they were talking about.

We thought that maybe my teacher was in trouble for drinking or who knows what (he was a younger guy) and we would go home early for the day. My class always wished that would happen, but it never came to fruition. After the principal and my teacher returned from the hall, we were told that we would be going home early for the day, but not for any reason we could have imagined.

Much like how my parents will never forget where they were or what they were doing when JFK was shot in 1963, I will never forget the morning of September 11, 2001. It was the first time in my life where I felt like my world was not as safe as I thought it was. It was the first time in my life where I witnessed true heroics from policemen, firemen and civilians alike. In the weeks following the event, I felt what it really meant to be part of the United States of America because that’s exactly what we were- united.

As we reflect on one of the most significant dates in modern U.S. history, be reminded of what it means to be an American. We are free, have achieved great victories, and we are built on the strengths of communities. Here is a glimpse at what is happening in our communities this weekend.

9/11 LemonAid fundraiser in River Forest
The annual “Kids Helping Kids” LemonAid stand  will be open Friday from 3-7 p.m. on the 700 block of Bonnie Brae. LemonAid was established one year after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and has raised more than $140,000 to date for local charities that serve children. Proceeds made this year will benefit the National Alliance on Mental Illness, Parents Allied with Children, and Teachers for Tomorrow. Past charities, all chosen by Bonnie Brae residents, have included Shiner’s Hospital for Children, Opportunity Knocks and the OPRF Food Pantry.

NFL Kickoff Weekend
The Bears begin their season at Noon on Sunday against division rival Green Bay Packers. If you’re looking for a place to watch the game, we recommend the following bars to gather with like-minded football fans who may need a lot of drinks to get through this game in which Chicago is severely disfavored:

  • FatDuck Tavern & Grill – 7218 Madison St., Forest Park
  • Kinderhook Tap – 800 S. Oak Park Ave., Oak Park
  • Avenue Ale House – 825 S. Oak Park Ave., Oak Park
  • Doc Ryan’s – 7432 W. Madison St., Forest Park

“Dreamscapes In Song & Story” at Pleasant Home
Pleasant Home, 217 Home Ave. in Oak Park, will be transformed into a unique coffee house on Friday at 7:30 p.m. There will be relaxing music from duo Petra van Nuis and Andy Brown who are known to create a ‘magical, music dialogue’ of swinging jazz sounds. Later, Megan Wells will be performing with her dynamic and emotional storytelling. General seating is $15. VIP seating is $35 and includes bistro style seating and passed hors d’oeuvres. Call 708-383-2654 for tickets.

BarrieFest 2015
Barrie Center and Park, 1011 S. Lombard Ave. in Oak Park, will be the site for several family-friendly activities from 12-5 p.m. on Saturday. There will be a bounce house, live entertainment, obstacle course, and the Oak Park Fire Department will be on site with the “Flame House,” to educate children on fire safety.

Oak Park Farmers’ Market
The Oak Park Farmers’ Market is in its 40th year and it’s all thanks to the support from the community. Shoppers are welcome Saturday from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Pilgrim Church Parking lot, located at 460 Lake St.

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