Statues draw visitors to St. Charles Sculpture in the Park
Lifelike statues draw visitors to St. Charles Sculpture in the Park
This year, some of the sculptures are lifelike.
When walking through Mount St. Mary Park in St. Charles and looking at the pieces in the annual Sculpture in the Park display, my wife and I have agreed this is the best summer for this enjoyable slice of public art.
A sculpture of Monet painting his own version of the park is striking, as is one of a man and, presumably, his son or grandson fishing off a balcony along the Fox River.
It's almost like having an outdoor wax museum right in the middle of town. And it gives one the impression that this sort of art will pop up more often in the future.
While those real-life statues depicting life in a park along the Fox River are an interesting new addition, the number of urban, abstract or metal pieces remains plentiful.
As I have in the past, I will now reveal my favorite piece of art at Sculpture in the Park. It's called "Love the Breeze in My Hair" and was created by Jennifer Meyer of Lansing, Illinois.
It is made out of stuff that anyone could grab at a metal salvage site. But to bring it to life is something quite different -- and that's what makes the mind of an artist so important to share.
Anyone who hasn't included Mount St. Mary in their list of walking, biking or running areas should do so when Sculptures in the Park is in full swing during our warm months. The artwork is in the park until the end of September.
The St. Charles Park District and its supporting foundation had a great idea 14 years ago, and it's turned out to be something we have enjoyed each year since.
Blocking view again?:
Retailers in the Fabyan Crossing retail strip along Randall Road in Geneva felt it was best to remove trees along the parkway so that people could more easily see their store signs. We've brought this up a few times.
Since that happened more than a year ago, it definitely has been easier to see the new Fresh Thyme store, Best Buy, Two Bostons, At Home and other shops in that strip.
But let's not forget that a new Oberweis ice cream store, a pizza place and burger joint are going up in the southeast corner of that retail area.
I'm going to take a wild guess here in thinking that those stores will block my view of the other retailers, depending on which way I am traveling. But a new store attracts consumers who may visit the other stores -- and a tree cannot do that.
Trees just look nice and give a retail setting a sense of beauty and calm, while making a statement of how a community values natural settings.
The stores won that round -- and the retailers did provide money for the city's Tree Fund -- but more brick and mortar is just as hard to see through as a tree.
Just a tad late:
Here's another thought on the placement of new businesses along Randall Road.
With the Boston Market quick-serve restaurant at Randall Road and Gleneagle Drive in Geneva suddenly closing its doors, that would have been a good spot for an ice cream shop like an Oberweis.
A lot of traffic runs past that location, because the frontage road also serves Home Depot, Petco, the Millbrook veterinary clinic and various other small businesses.
Of course, the Boston Market spot became vacated too late for those new restaurants in front of the At Home furniture store to give it some consideration.
So what could go into that Boston Market spot? The spot sort of begs for a coffee and doughnut place. I know, we have a bunch of these places around. But this area has early-morning workers and landscapers making their way in and out of Home Depot and the pet-care site.
My vote? A new Dimple's Donuts spot.
An impressive challenge:
Each time I hear stories about the annual Wilderness Challenge that TriCity Family Services orchestrates for young clients to spend time with adult mentors in the woods and boundary waters of Minnesota, I ponder how they could possibly be away from life's conveniences for so long.
I'm talking about spending 10 days out in the wilderness with all of the comforts and electronics of home left behind. That's 10 days with bugs and maybe rain, cold or heat.
That's why they call it a "challenge," of course, and it also reminds me that I don't do "wilderness." Unless, of course, I roll out of a hotel bed, hop in a car and drive a few miles to the "wilderness" and then go back to the comfort of a hotel at some point. Then I'm generally OK with it.
When I see the awesome photos these people post on Facebook, it looks like heaven on earth. Plus, it turns young people into leaders who have learned more about themselves and others than they could ever hope to do so through social media channels.
The folks who volunteer to put this annual trip together and the young people who have taken on that challenge over the years deserve all kinds of thanks, praise and recognition.
And they should be getting that at the Wilderness Challenge 30-year anniversary event Friday, July 12, at the agency.
The perfect place:
There was a time when Batavia's Windmill City Festival, set for July 12-14, earned a few frowns because it was scheduled just after Fourth of July and it was generally hot and muggy at that time of year.
Its original concept of Boo-Boo Days, in which merchants had deals of merchandise that had minor flaws or pricing mistakes, kind of faded over time.
It was like an afterthought to Swedish Days in Geneva or the now defunct Pride of the Fox festival in St. Charles, both held in June.
But Windmill City Festival has clearly found its footing with top-rate bands, plenty of family activities and good food. The key ingredient over the past several years has been the development of the city's riverwalk and the placement of the band shell near Depot Pond.
Few towns, if any, can boast of such a perfect setting for a festival. No one has to build and break down a stage, or block traffic on various city streets when Windmill City Fest takes place.
The area around Depot Pond creates as much of a "town square" as any town could want. If Mother Nature cooperates, this is a fun place to see some of the area's finest bands.