275. Ring in the New Year, Barrington-Style

Ring in the New Year, Barrington Style

2010 is quickly coming to a close and there are a number of great parties going on throughout Barrington tonight for those of you who want to ring in the new year, Barrington-style.  And did you hear that actor Vince Vaughn dropped into Chessies 111 Grille for lunch yesterday with his new wife and baby?  You can ask them all about it if you stop in for their New Year’s Eve festivities tonight.

Ring in the New Year, Barrington Style

Whether you’re up for an early evening or would prefer to stay out for the new year’s countdown at Midnight, here are some fun things going on in Barrington tonight…

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274. Barrington Holiday Lights Love Story

Holiday Lights on Old Oak Road in Barrington

There’s an elaborate holiday lights display in Barrington that’s been drawing crowds at Christmastime for the past 12 years. But there’s a love story behind these lights that I never knew until I knocked on the front door.

Holiday Lights on Old Oak Road in Barrington

Vern Hagenbring and his family built the home at 100 Old Oak Road in Barrington back in 1967, when he owned and managed Hagenbring’s department store in downtown Arlington Heights.

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273. Behold the Work of Barrington’s Clark Griswold

2010 Barrington Griswold Award

There is one category in the 365 Barrington holiday lights contest that I wasn’t so sure about. After all, could Barrington actually have it’s own version of Clark Griswold, one of the best holiday characters EVER, played to perfection by Chevy Chase in National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation? We searched for him and, YES, we found him! And today we’re paying homage as we bestow this year’s Clark Griswold Award to one impressive Barrington dad.

2010 Barrington Griswold Award

His name is John Kazmier and your jaw will drop when you first see his family’s lighted home in The Glen, a gated community in South Barrington.

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272. Say Thanks to the "Colored Lights Champion"

365 Barrington Holiday Lights Contest

We found our Colored Lights Champion! His name is Troy Wiseman and, if you’ve driven west of Barrington High School on Lake Cook Road, there’s no way you could have missed his family’s bright and beautiful home.

365 Barrington Holiday Lights Contest

The Wisemans are a family of six. Troy and his wife have four boys and moved to Barrington from California in 1994 to be closer to relatives. Troy says he’s always been a “Christmas guy” and he opts for colored lights over white lights because “They’re more festive and kid-friendly”. But he doesn’t just stop at a few strands of lights. Oh no. He has 96,000 lights hanging on his home, trees and the gate surrounding his property.

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271. See the Lights in the "North Pole Neighborhood"

Riverwalk Neighborhood Holiday Lights

We’re announcing our first winner of the first ever 365Barrington.com holiday lights contest. The winning category is “North Pole Neighborhood” and the award goes to…

Riverwalk Neighborhood Holiday Lights

Six homes on Manchester Lane in Port Barrington’s Riverwalk neighborhood have coordinated their lights displays and set them to music.

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270. Go Behind the Scenes at Barrington’s Post Office

Holday Rush at the Barrington Post Office

It’s been a very busy month for one group of Barrington workers in particular.  The men and women of the Barrington post office have been working overtime, lifting packages, sorting cards and delivering heaps of holiday mail to make sure all of our packages and cards arrived on time this year.  I stopped by the main post office during the holiday rush to catch up with the mail carriers before they headed out on their routes. They were all busy sorting, but a few obliged when I asked them to strike a pose.

Workers at the Barrington Post Office

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267. On The Menu: Ambrosia Gingerbread Houses

Ambrosia Gingerbread Housese

It’s the eve of Christmas Eve and and I’ll be cooking for tomorrow’s family festivities late into the night.  With my favorite holiday foods on my mind and in my oven, I thought today would be the perfect day to debut a brand new feature we’ll regularly be running here at 365Barrington.com called “On the Menu”. To help showcase some of the finest culinary offerings here in Barrington, I’ll be talking to chefs at local restaurants to learn more about some of the most popular items from their menus. And I’m starting today with the amazing gingerbread houses you’ll only find at Ambrosia Euro American Patisserie in Barrington.

Ambrosia Gingerbread Housese

Ambrosia’s gingerbread houses are like edible works of art. They’re so masterfully crafted that Ambrosia’s owners, executive pastry chef, Richard Rivera and his wife Debby, only make 12 to 20 of these houses every year.

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266. Be Invited to Sing at The White House

Barrington High School Vocal Students Perform at the White House

 The Barrington High School Madrigals just returned home from Washington D.C. after performing at the White House this week. The Junior and Senior students toured monuments between three days worth of performances at eight locations, including the White House, the U.S. Botanic Garden, the Old Post Office, the historic Willard Hotel, the National Christmas Tree … Read more…

265. Last Chance for Holiday Lights Nominations

Santa's Mail Station Holiday Lights Display

HA-LLE-LUJAH! It’s day 265!!! And that means there are only 100 days left until our 365th post here at 365Barrington.com. Thank you for being here. Your visits are what motivate me to write these entries every day and I sincerely appreciate your time. I’m also so excited about our Barrington Holiday Lights Contest nominees for this year.

Santa's Mail Station Holiday Lights Display

There are some AWESOME displays and we’ll be revealing and introducing you to the winners in the coming days.

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264. Be Married for 41 Years

Mom and Dad Anniversary

 Last night I told my husband that I feel like I’ve aged 20 years since we were married four years ago.  I quickly laughed so he’d know it was just a joke ;). And this morning I realized that today is my parents’ 41st wedding anniversary. If being married truly makes my “feels-like” age increase … Read more…

262. Organize Dinner Like Mom/Author, Kelly Donlea

Barrington Cookbook Author, Kelly Donlea

There’s a cookbook author and mother of three here in Barrington who is building a reputation for the system she devised to help busy moms put dinner on the table every night. Her name is Kelly Donlea, her brand new cookbook just came out, and you can meet her in person in Barrington tomorrow as she demonstrates how to make two delicious holiday meals that are related, but secretly separate.

The idea of remaking meals is the subject of her latest book, called “40 Dinner Duos – Cook Once, EAT Twice”. This book offers dozens of Dinner Duos that use the same main course (and cooking efforts) for two night’s dinners to make an entirely different meal another night.

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261. The 12 Toys of Christmas at Learning Express

Tickle Monster Laughter Kit

Christmas is one week from today and, if you still have shopping to do, it’s almost crunch time.  To help you find great gifts for the kids on your list this year, I asked Learning Express Toys to let us in on their hottest holiday gift items for 2010.  Learning Express has stores in both Barrington and Lake Zurich and the local owner, Rick Derr, says the toys you’ll find at their stores are for more than just play time.  “Well-designed toys are fun to play with and they also develop creativity and important life skills like strategy, cooperation, and collaboration.”  So grab a pen, paper, your coat and your wallet and head out to Learning Express to check out their “12 Toys of Christmas”.

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