When the young actors in the Libertyville-based Encore Theatre Group need to rehearse for or present their latest production, they can often be found doing so at the Libertyville Civic Center.
"The Civic Center has been a huge help for Encore with providing us with a home base," Encore Director Bob Silton said.
"Not only do we have space to rehearse and perform, but it is also centrally located so that parents can drop off and pick up their kids throughout the year easily. In the summer and fall months, kids feel comfortable enough to walk to and from or ride their bikes. So location and space are a huge factor for us."
This year marks 20 years since the Libertyville Civic Center Foundation and the village worked together to open the building as the Libertyville Civic Center.
"The community has supported it very well," said Joyce Quilty, co-treasurer of the Libertyville Civic Center Foundation. "The location is ideal. It's right there in town. It's a beautiful building."
The building, 135 W. Church St., previously served as a post office, Quilty said. It became a focal point of the Libertyville Civic Center Foundation's search for a permanent location 20 years ago. The foundation was incorporated by the state Jan. 1, 1987, said Anne Carlino, executive director of the foundation.
The village ultimately purchased and still maintains the building, which initially served as a home for the Libertyville Senior Center and a youth center.
Though it's no longer used as a youth center, it remains the home of the senior center, which uses the facility Monday through Friday and for its annual Senior Hall of Fame ceremony.
Quilty said the building also offers many other uses, including as a meeting space for local groups and as a banquet facility for weddings and birthday parties.
Residents and nonresidents can rent parts of the civic center for various occasions, Quilty said. For example, one room in the building's basement can host a party for 50 to 60 people.
"It's surprising how much space there is," Quilty said.
Dee Cox, who serves on the civic center board's Libertyville Days Committee, said she has used the building for baby and wedding showers.
A Realtor in town, Cox said she cherishes the opportunity to give back to her hometown by volunteering her time with the Libertyville Civic Center Foundation, which uses funds from its annual Libertyville Days festival to support the civic center.
"It has really grown," she said of the festival. "All the groups participate in hosting Libertyville Days."
Due to her experience in helping to bring the festival together each year, Cox was asked to serve as one of the organizers -- along with Valerie Kanuch and Quilty -- for a special party in early June to celebrate the Libertyville Civic Center's 20th anniversary.
With a "Star-Spangled Libertyville" theme to match Libertyville Days, the anniversary party featured red, white and blue decor. There was also music and food from a local caterer.
"It was just a good time," Cox said.
Between 60 and 70 people attended the event, which also provided an opportunity to honor past volunteers who have contributed to the Libertyville Civic Center over the years, she said.
"It was fun. It was a nice event," Cox said. "I look forward to another 20."