Saturday, July 10, 2010

Spotlight on North Center

Part of the reason we love Chicago - in the midst of a big city, there are micro neighborhoods and they host festivals/events for one reason or another all throughout the summer. Two fun neighborhood events in North Center are pretty close to each other yet in distinctly different neighborhoods and they might be worth a visit.

The first is Ben Fest.

St. Ben’s parish and school at Irving Park and Bell Avenue host this very family oriented festival featuring rides for the kids and music for all. St Ben’s neighborhood is a small (8 square block area) with the parish at the center. The church was built over 100 years ago by former parishioners of St Mathias (Lincoln Square) who, in horse and buggy days, found the 1 ½ mile ride to church on Sunday too long. The neighborhood now attracts many homeowners because of the architecture, old brick single family homes and two/three flats on tree lined streets, and the school system – both public (Bell Elementary) and private. The festival starts tonight (Friday evening) and runs all day and into the night on Saturday.

Next, just 8 blocks south is the start of the tenth annual 2010 Roscoe Village Garden Walk and it is free!

You can pick up walk guides at 2058 W. Roscoe. Exhibiting gardens will be on public display from 12:00 noon until 6:00 pm on Sunday, July 11. What you will also notice as you walk around Roscoe Village is the variety of home styles and how different this neighborhood is from St Bens just to the north. And yet they are both very livable city neighborhoods. In Roscoe Village, my favorite homes are the clapboard, porched, welcome your neighbor type, single family homes. Just follow the guide to the gardens, look for balloons and notice the homes along the way.

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