“Faith and Begorrah,” it seems everyone is already in an Irish mood.
Restaurants, grocery stores and neighborhoods are taking the phrase “Go Green” seriously now through St. Patrick’s Day March 17.
Here are just a few of the places in and around Chicago where you might hear céad míle fáilte (a hundred thousand welcomes) and Irish music, see Irish dancers and feel you ought to be wearing something green.
Walk into any Hackney’s, a 76-year-old family run restaurant and pub this week to see how leprechauns expressed the family’s Irish roots and pride. The menu has lots of choices including the famed Hackney Burger but during the weeks leading up to St. Pat’s Day you might want to go for the corned beef, straight up or in a Reuben.
For Irish music with your grocery shopping check out the Sunset Foods stores in the northern suburbs. Irish dancers will be at Sunset’s five store on March 5. They will be in Libertyville at 10:30 a.m., Lake Forest at 11:45 a.m., Highland Park at 1 p.m., Northbrook at 2 p.m. and Long Grove at 3 p.m.
The city has several St. Patrick’s Day parades but your first stops should be on Saturday, March 11, 2017.
Greening the River
The Chicago River at Michigan Avenue and Wacker Driver will be turned green when vegetable dye is poured in at 9 a.m.
The city’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade has bagpipers, bands, dancers and dignitaries step off at noon from Grant Park at Columbus Drive between Balbo and Monroe Drives.
Lots of folks go over to the Irish American Heritage Center at 4626 N. Knox Ave. after the parade for an all afternoon-evening party. Tickets: $12-$15 adults; free for children 12 & under. The festival continues on Sunday.
Neighborhood Parades on March 12
South Side Irish Parade http://www.southsideirishparade.org/
Time is noon from Western Avenue between 103rd St. & 115th St.
You know the Academy Awards will be going to movies you loved and those you haven’t seen on Oscar Night, Sunday, Feb. 26, 2017. But you haven’t made it out to LA and tuning into ABC beginning at 6 p.m. CT to see who wore what, said what or grabbed a gold plated statuette is just more fun with friends, so ….
Get those invites out now! Fortunately you don’t have to go the old snail mail route. Free online invites are available thanks to Punchbowl at Oscars Red Carpet
Dress to impress
Take a page from those interviews on the Red Carpet and suggest guests do black tie (bow tie and shorts would do for the guys and slinky or low cut anything for the gals)
Or ask guests to wear something in keeping with a favorite movie from any year.
Food and drink
If guests ask what can they bring say you’ll provide the champagne, sparkling wine and whatever other drinks favored but will say thanks to dips, patés and cupcakes.
Decorations and favors
Pick up little Oscar-like statuettes, a red carpet if so desired, plates, decorations and Hollywood fun stuff from a party store such as Card & Party Giant, 1318 Waukegan Rd., Glenview, IL (847-657-7770).
Run off copies of the 2017 nominees from Oscars.org ceremonies for everyone to follow along, check off and make their predictions. And pass out statuettes or other awards to the winners.
Trivia and fun facts games
Use the thank-you times and commercials to ask trivia Qs or share fun info.
Wallet-Hub has come up with a couple of tidbits such as the current Oscar statuette is valued at $696.
Look at the timeline on the Oscar site to pull some fun Qs from itsuch as when was the First Best Picture. A It was “Wings” in 1929.
Or Q. Who Won Best Actress and Actor in 1960. A Simone Signoret for “Room at the Top” and and Charlton Heston for “Ben Hur.”
Or Q. When and how was the International Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences founded. A. In 1927 at a dinner at M-G-M studio head Louis B. Mayer’s home followed by a meeting of like-minded movers and shakers a week later at at Los Angeles’s Ambassador Hotel.
Or Q. Who was its first Academy President. A. Douglas Fairbanks 1927-29
You don’t have to go to Vermont to hike around maple trees and learn about that yummy syrup folks love to pour on their pancakes and French toast.
The Lake County Forest Preserves District holds Maple Syrup Hikes the second, third and fourth weekends in March.
The hikes are a chance to learn about the trees’ plumbing that makes late February and early March the best time in our area for collecting sap.
Actually, the sap is already running up Lake County’s sugar maple trees.
LCFPD Environmental Educator Jennifer Berlinghof has been out at Ryerson with her drill, hammer, spigot and pail to tap a few mature, sugar maples. She said the sap which is very watery has to be processed.
“It takes about 40 gallons of sap to produce one gallon of syrup. It takes a lot of boiling,” Berlinghof said.
She pointed out that the resulting maple syrup becomes a tiny taste treat given to people on the March hikes.
Hikes are every half hour from noon to 2 p.m. starting at the Ryerson Woods Welcome Center, 21950 N. Riverwoods Rd., Deerfield, but preregistration is necessary.
Cost is $6. Children age 3 and under, free. To register and get more details call (847) 968-3113 or visit LCFPD.
Most schools will be closed Jan. 16. Government offices and banks will also be closed because the third Monday in January is Martin Luther King Jr. Day, a federal holiday honoring the great civil rights leader born Jan. 15, 1929 and assassinated April 4, 1968.
A Baptist minister, an organizer of the 1963 March on Washington where he gave his famed “I Have a Dream” speech and the 1964 winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, King also worked with the Southern Christian Leadership Conference to change segregated housing in Chicago in 1966.
Chicagoans may wonder what he would say now, half a century later, if he saw the violence that plagues some of the city’s neighborhoods.
The question might be discussed at some of the events this weekend, or Monday and during the week when several organizations celebrate his birth.
Here are some of the places to go for those celebrations.
Chicago History Museum
Lyric Unlimited, an outreach arm of the Chicago Lyric Opera, and the Chicago History Museum, is doing Chicago Voices TALK beginning at 5 p.m. Jan. 15 at the History Museum. The program includes panel discussions and gospel music.
The History Museum is at 1601 N. Clark St., Chicago. Public admission $10, CHM members $5.
Zoo general admission is free Jan. 16. But also go to the Discovery Center for a noon musical celebration by the Chicago Metamorphosis Orchestra Project and the Shift’s Englewood Youth Orchestra. For information visit Brookfield Zoo.
The North Gate entrance is at 1st Avenue and 31st Street, Brookfield. The South Gate is at 3300 Golf Road, Brookfield.
Lincoln Park Zoo
The zoo holds day camps during school holidays. For Martin Luther King Jr. Day, preK through fourth grade camps are Jan. 16 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
The theme is “All About Birds,” but camp groups will explore the zoo and have activities regarding animal diversity, conservation and how the zoo cares for animals. The youngsters will also learn interesting animal tidbits such as why hummingbirds build nests using spider webs.
Camp headquarters is the Judy Keller Education Center. Cost is $68 a camper ($58 zoo members). Visit zoo camp for more information.
Black Ensemble Theater
The theater hosts programs by the African American Arts Alliance of Chicago, 7 p.m., Jan. 19. There is also a pre-show reception 6 p.m. in the Black Ensemble Theater Cultural center
Go to see Sketch N’ Tyme, The Robbert Reddrick Trio, Alexis Rogers, Yahdina Udeen, Dawn Bless, Red Clay Dance and RIZE Youth Dance Company. The program is sponsored in part by the Driehaus Foundation and the Illinois Arts Council. Tickets are $12.
The Black Ensemble Theater is at 4450 N. Clark St., Chicago. Visit AAAAChicago for more information.
Maybe now that Chicago’s Ice-Age weekend has come and hopefully, gone, we can lace up the skates and twirl to joyful music. Tip: closing dates are important so put them on your calendar. The first skating spot listed is indoors because it is part of a winter fest that leaves after the first full weekend in January. The second is outdoors but its regular hours change to extended holiday times late December except for special days and events.
If you want to skate at the Chicago Blackhawks Indoor Ice Rink among the rides and slides of the Pier’s Winter WonderFest, go by Sunday, Jan, 8, 2017. It all starts to disappear that Monday. Navy Pier is the nearly mile-long entertainment arm sticking out into Lake Michigan from 600 E. Grand Ave., Chicago, IL 60611.
You have likely passed Rosemont’s mega entertainment complex along the I 294 at I90 near O’Hare International Airport. There is a lot to do there including eating, seeing movies and flying (really) indoors. However, when winter comes there is also Frozemont, an outdoor Chicago Wolves Ice Rink for hockey and free skating. Skate rental is available. Tickets are sold at the rink’s box office. For the address think Monopoly game. It’s 5501 Park Place, Rosemont, IL 60018. Regular hours go through Dec. 23 but open skating has extended hours Christmas Eve and Day, New Year’s Eve and Day, Martin Luther King’s Day and Presidents Day.
As those TV ads say, “wait, there’s more” re ice skating at the MB Financial Park. If anyone in the family follows the Blackhawks, consider getting a ticket to the annual Skate with the Greats, 1 to 5 p.m., Jan. 14, 2017. Sponsored by the Chicago Blackhawk Alumni Association, event proceeds to benefit Chicago area Ronald McDonald House charities. Learn more at skate event.
Lincoln Park Zoo
Families will appreciate the casual, no-pressure-to-show-off skating rink near the red barn at the Farm-in-the-Zoo in Lincoln Park. Admission and skate rental are each $5. Go now to also see ZooLights which continues through Jan. 1, 2017. Come back to skate some more through Feb. 26. You might not want to leave before visiting the new snow monkeys in the MacaQue Forest, the penguins in their new compound or Siku, a new polar bear in the Walter Family Arctic Tundra. The zoo’s parking lot is at 2400 N. Cannon Drive, Chicago, IL 60614 and is on the CTA’s 151 and 156 bus routes.
A fun place to skate is below Cloud Gate (The Bean) at the McCormick Ice Rink in Millennium Park. Take photos (can you skate while doing a selfie?) of the city’s skyline and warm up with hot chocolate from the Park Grill. Don’t worry about not skating at Olympic level. Free skating lessons are offered Friday through Sunday by the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events during their Winter Workouts an hour before the rink has opend. Other lessons are available other times and dates Dec. 24, 2016 through Jan. 8, 2017. The rink is open weekdays at noon and weekends at 10 a.m. through March 5, 2017. It’s located in one of those “you can’t miss it’ places because it borders the west side of Millennium Park along Michigan Avenue between Washington and Madison Streets. Its formal address is 201 E. Randolph St. Chicago, IL 60601. Skating is free. Rentals are $12.
Swirling and curving on the north-east side of Millinneium Park in Chicago Park District’s Maggie Daley Park, is the unusually shaped Maggie Daley Skating Ribbon. Open now through the first week of March, the Ribbon winds through a somewhat rolling, changing “parkscape” that is a fun place to go. Skating is free. Rentals are $12 weekdays and $14 Friday through Sunday and holidays. The park is at 337 E. Randolph St. Chicago, IL 60601.
The city has seven other outdoor ice rinks aside from the Maggie Daley Ribbon. They will stay open through Feb. 20, 2017. To find the location nearest you or one you would like to visit and to see hours and special programs visit CPD.
Peninsula Chicago Sky Rink
You can skate with a city view above Michigan Avenue if eating, using the Spa or staying at the Peninsula Chicago. The upscale hotel has added an ice rink to its Terrace in a romantic setting of pine trees and snowflake lighting. Snack or warm up with hot cider, hot chocolate and other treats. The rink is open through March 1, 2017. Donations of $15 adults and $10 children age 12 and under go to children’s charities.
For other information and rink availability visit Sky Rink and call (312) 337-2888.
Plan now for what you want to do New Year’s Eve. If in or visiting Chicago there are fun runs and cruises, count-downs and parties and delightful cultural programs. Most events require tickets.
1.Celebrate the changing of the year the Viennese Neujahrskonzert way. Performances take place in 24 North American cities near New Year’s Day. In Chicago, the “Salute to Vienna New Year’s Concert” will be at Symphony Center 2:30 p.m., Dec. 31, 2016.
The program is all about wonderful Strauss waltzes and music from the Merry Widow, and Die Fledermaus by the Strauss symphony of Canada and the Chicago Philharmonic. Dancers are from Ukraine’s Kiev-Aniko ballet and the International Champion Ballroom. Singers are soprano Lilla Galambos and baritone Thomas Weinhappel from Vienna.
For tickets visit CSO or call (312) 294.3000. For other information visit Salute Vienna or call (416) 323.1403.
2. Celebrate with a Chi-Town Rising event.
The day starts with the Chi-Town Rise & Shine 5K race and Fun Run, check in begins at 7:30 a.m. for the 9 a.m. race beginning at Millennium Park, 201 E. Randolph St., Chicago. The run also goes through Maggie Daley Park, Grant Park and by the lakefront. The event is a Special Olympics fundraiser. Handouts include pompom hats, gloves and hot chocolate. Click here to register and see details.
It continues with the Family Count-Down from 3 to 6 p.m. at Millennium Park’s Wrigley Square. New Year celebrations start at different times around the world so parts of the event are activity stations showing New Year’s customs in different countries. The event is free. The Kids Countdown Spectacular is 6 p.m.
Chi-Town Rising New Year’s Eve Celebration is 9 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. Tickets are free but are required to enter the two viewing areas between Michigan Avenue and Columbus Drive. There will be food and beverage concessions and views of the midnight fireworks. The North Viewing Area, north of the river, will be the site of NBC 5’s broadcast. South Viewing Area on Upper Wacker Drive will have the main performance stage.
Visit Chi-Town Rising details. For tips on clothing and other viewing areas visit FAQ.
3. Navy Pier is headquarters for two New Year’s Eve Parties.
The 5th Annual Chicago Resolution Gala celebrates with several drink bars and buffet stations and dancing in the Pier’s Grand Ballroom. There is also a good fire works viewing spot. For tickets and details visit Resolution Gala. Visit tickets and details.
There is also a party in the Crystal Garden, the Pier’s six-story glass botanic atrium. There will be several bars and champagne for a toast. For tickets and more details visit Crystal Gardens.
4. New Year’s Eve Cruises go from Navy Pier. Watch the fireworks after partying aboard the Mystic Blue, the Spirit of Chicago or the Odyssey. Each cruise ship hosts a New Year’s Eve Party. Times and prices vary so see which one fits your budget. Visit Mystic Blue Cruises, Odyssey and Spirit of Chicago.
The big Thanksgiving weekend shopping spree is now history but there are still gifts to get and some fun outings still on the to-do list. Combine them!
For one-of-a-kind gifts, there are hardly any better places to look than in museum shops.
At the Art Institute of Chicago, the stunning ‘Moholy-Nagy: Future Present’ exhibit fills Regenstein Hall. A retrospective with more than 300 works of László Moholy-Nagy who influenced everything from advertising and manufacturing to art movements and design, the exhibit is reason enough to plan an outing before it leaves Jan. 3, 2017.
Tip: The museum’s huge gift shop in the main building and the selective gift shop in the Modern Wing are definitely places to find special items you likely won’t see elsewhere. Plus, you will benefit the Art Institute.
Dec. 3 and 4, 2016 are free admission days at The Field Museum and The Field’s regular exhibits are fascinating any time. But China’s Terracotta Warriors are there only through Jan. 8, 2017 so go before they head home.
Tip: The Field has an amazing gift shop of items from all over the world. It would be hard not to leave there with a gift (including something for oneself).
Christkindlekarket Chicago downtown on Daley Plaza, is designed to emulate Nuremberg’s holiday market, begun in the 16th century. The market opened in Chicago as a trade event in the 1990s. This is a place to visit for fun and food.
Tip: The vendors sell items not easily found in the United States such as Bavarian glass and pewter. It has expanded to include items from other countries such as Ireland and Poland so have fun browsing. BTW, Naperville also now has a Christkindlemarket.
Historic Long Grove, a north suburban village that dates from the mid 1800s, dresses up Dickens fashion for the holidays. Go for a carriage ride and to hear carolers or take a selfie by the covered bridge.
Tip: Pick up treats at the town’s famed Long Grove Confectionery, gifts at the Olive Tap and check out other boutiques for specialty items.
If the weather is good you should be able to see down the road without street lights Nov. 13-15, 2016. Full moons are typically bright. A full moon that is a supermoon because it is closer to Earth than normal is even brighter. The supermoon that starts next week is going to appear larger and outshine supermoons from the past 68 years.
That roundish object that is a space craft destination and the subject of mythology will be the closest it has been to earth since 1848. Or as sports fans might know, it was the year that the Indians last won baseball’s World Series.
There will be another supermoon on Dec. 14 this year but it won’t be quite as close. According to NASA, the next time a full moon will come as close to Earth as on Nov. 14, 2016 is Nov. 25, 2034.
It’s likely it will be hard to miss but Adler Planetarium astronomer Larry Ciupik had a couple of suggestions
“The closest it will be is at 5 a.m. (Central Time) the morning of Nov. 14,” Ciupik said. He pointed out that looking for the supermoon depends on the weather and time of night.
“When the sun sets, look east. Before the sun rises, look west. The moon rises in the east at sunset and sets in the west shortly before the sun rises,” he said.
He pointed out that it probably will look larger when it is on or near the horizon. “That is because when it is up high in the sky there is nothing to compare it to,” Ciupik said.
“That’s called moon illusion,” he said.
BTW, readers, the moon will look bright and large Sunday, Monday and Tuesday but it reaches its full crest early Monday morning. That will occur about the same time it reaches the perigee (technically perigee-syzgy) of its orbit. That is its closest point to Earth.
The opposite or farthest point of the moon’s orbit from the earth is its apogee-syzygy when it’s sometimes known as a mini-moon. Just remember that the orbit is elliptical, not round.
Other information can be found at NASA which is a good resource.