This Weekend Around Oak Park

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It has been a long, long, long, long time since I’ve written one of these articles, 13 months to be exact. But I wasn’t about to write the word “long” 13 times. Even if I did, that would mean everyone reading would assume each “long” equates to one month. That is presumptuous, excessive, and a waste of time, kind of like the opening lines in all of these pieces.

So what took so long to tell you what was happening on the weekends? There are a couple different ways to answer that question. One view is sheer negligence- I haven’t been doing it, there’s no excuse for it and that’s just what happened. But there is a second point of view- that I have been challenging everyone’s creativity in a year-long experiment to see how many people would go out and about in Oak Park without having this weekly article to consult.

Which viewpoint do you think it is? Do you even care? I wouldn’t if I were you. The time is now, there is snow on the ground (how do you feel about that, by the way?), and there is a lot of cool stuff happening this weekend in Oak Park, and this is how you can experience it.

Downtown Oak Park (DTOP) Shopper’s Reward Program
Get rewards for supporting local shops this holiday season. Save your receipts until Dec. 25 as a part of DTOP’s rebate program and receive $50 in Shopper’s Reward certificates for receipts totaling $25 or more from at least seven different businesses, with a grand total of at least $400.

“Romeo and Juliet” at Dominican University
Dominican University is sporting an all-female cast adaptation of Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet.” This condensed version from Artistic Director Krista Hansen will follow the feuding Montagues and Capulets in 85 minutes without intermission. Tickets are $17. Performances will be at 7:30 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, and 3 p.m. on Sunday.

Where to Watch the Bears and Packers
The Bears are favored this week against the Green Bay Packers and I honestly can’t recall the last time that has ever happened. The division rivals kick off Sunday at noon. If you are looking for good food and drinks, these bars will be the best places to watch the game:

  • Bar Louie – 1122 Lake St. – Burgers and small plates highlight the food menu. Martinis and microbrews dominate the drink menu. Great option if you plan on taking your time.
  • Avenue Ale House – 825 S. Oak Park Ave. – Specials on beer buckets, Bloody Marys, and Bellinis. If getting close to a TV is a priority for you, go here because they have a lot of them.
  • Oak Park Brewing Company – 155 S. Oak Park Ave. – A wide variety of beers on tap and great ambiance. You will feel like you’re watching the game in your cool grandfather’s man cave.
  • Lake Street Kitchen + Bar – 1101 Lake St. – Quality American comfort fare that is perfect for enjoying a football game. Afterwards, you’re close to everything in Downtown Oak Park.

Petite Boutique Holiday Market
Pleasant Home is hosting the Petite Boutique Holiday Market on Friday from 4-9 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. There will be over 20 gourmet food and art vendors. Anyone who wants to shop with a little more pep in their step should go on Friday for the live music and drinks. Pleasant Home is located at 217 Home Ave. in Downtown Oak Park.

Restaurant Spotlight – Munch
Munch, located at 104 N. Marion St., Oak Park, is known for its homemade comfort foods and a wide selection of gluten-free and vegetarian options. The restaurant is open for brunch, lunch, and dinner until 9 p.m. on Friday and Saturday but closes at 4 p.m. on Sunday. First timers should try the Comfort Breakfast for brunch or the “Beefy” Tostada Plate for lunch/dinner, or the Vegan Lasagna if you don’t eat meat. Last two points to remember before heading to Munch- the place is BYOB and they only accept cash. There is an ATM on-site if you need it.

Makin’ Music Bluegrass Jam
The Trailside Museum of Natural History is hosting a free bluegrass jam session on Sunday at 1 p.m. From the website: “Make a simple musical instrument from an invasive plant species, then join the fun in a bluegrass jam circle! Bring your basses, fiddles, mandolins, guitars, and banjos too. The jam is open to anyone who wants to play or listen.” The museum is located at 738 Thatcher Ave. in River Forest.

Downtown Oak Park is home to several small business owners that depend on support from the community. With nice weather promised throughout the weekend, it might be nice to take the family (or a date, a friend, yourself) to stop in a few local shops. Think of it as an opportunity to meet new neighbors and help the local economy.

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