51. Climb on Board the Monster Trucks of Barrington

Big Trucks Show in Barrington, Illinois

If you’re a young kid in Barrington, this may just be one of the hottest events of the year, especially if your wee one is into things that make you go “VROOM!” It’s Barrington’s 12th annual “Big Trucks” show and it’s happening tomorrow. Prepare your tots to climb on board the biggest trucks in Barrington and you’re sure to get some little motors running.

Big Trucks Show in Barrington, Illinois

Barrington’s 12th annual “Big Trucks” show runs tomorrow from 10 a.m. until 1 p.m. and I’ve heard local moms with young kids talking about this event for weeks…

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50. Spend Your Dough in 60010 at Sidewalk Days

Barrington Sidewalk Days

It’s a summer shopping tradition in Barrington and it starts today! Sidewalk Days are back, giving us all a great opportunity to find sweet deals at shops throughout Barrington.

Dozens of Barrington retail stores and vendors are participating in the three-day event.  You’ll find tents set up along the sidewalks of Barrington, at the Ice House Mall, Shops on Lageschulte and at The Foundry of Barrington.  The tents are already up and the savings are sizzling, so what are you waiting for?

Plus, if you come out to Sidewalk Days today, the Barrington Farmers Market and Cruise Nights will also be going on so there will be much to see and do downtown.  Not only are the shops are offering deep discounts on great merchandise, take a look at these other special events scheduled for the next three days…

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49. Have a Baby at Good Shepherd Hospital

Babies Born at Good Shepherd Hospital in Barrington, Illinois

You may have noticed that I’ve been a little absent over the past week or so here at 365Barrington.com and it’s because of some big news.  My husband and I welcomed our third child on Monday of last week, born right here in Barrington. The baby arrived a full week before my due date and we’re happy to announce that it’s a boy!

Babies Born at Good Shepherd Hospital in Barrington, Illinois

We named him Thomas Patrick, he was born at Good Shepherd Hospital and, boy-oh-boy, do I have a story for you…

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48. Childhood Swims Spark English Channel Challenge

Doug McConnel Camp Edwards Swim to Buck Island

What does swimming the English Channel have to do with childhood summer camp?  A Barrington man’s boyhood days at a Wisconsin camp in the 60’s were an early inspiration for one of his life’s biggest challenges.  Doug McConnell is nearing the end of months of intense training to swim the English Channel this August. And in these final weeks before he takes that leap, he will be returning to Camp Edwards every Friday to teach and sharpen the mindset he knows he’ll need while alone in the open Channel waters.

The English Channel swim is a 21 to 30 mile stretch that takes an average of 13.5 hours to complete. Depending on the tides, Doug will dive in sometime between August 20th and August 27th. He will start in Dover, England and finish near Calais, France, enduring bone-chilling waters, unyielding currents and the possibility of raw weather and rain without the light of day. He’ll have a boat, a guide and brief in-water feeding breaks to keep him going and he’s been preparing to face feelings of unnerving isolation while swimming miles through frigid, inky darkness.

English Channel Swim Map

Between now an then, Doug will take the lead at his childhood summer camp weekly as kids take on a 1/2 mile open water swim to a small island in Lake Beulah. He hopes to show today’s campers the power of personal goals, preparation and perseverance. It’s a final exercise Doug says will also help him mentally prepare for the challenge ahead. “So much of camp is experiencing things that you’ve never experienced before. It’s working through the excitement, eliminating the fear and enabling yourself to try new things.”

Barrington Man Swims the English Channel

Photo Courtesy of Susan McConnell

Successfully swimming the English Channel takes a carefully calculated balance between the right nutrition, practice regimen, mental preparation, team and coach.

Doug McConnell Prepares to Swim the English ChannelI learned that from Doug’s companion, strongest supporter, and wife, Barrington photographer, Susan McConnell. There’s no one who knows Doug and understands his commitment to this goal like Susan does. So I asked her to share a glimpse into these last days of Doug’s training, with her own photography and in her own words. You’ll love and learn from this beautifully written guest post from Susan about Doug’s recent return to summer camp.

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47. Wet Your Whistle at Barrington Brew Fest 2011

2011 Barrington Brewfest

Downtown Barrington becomes the Beer Capitol of Chicagoland for one day every year and that’s TOMORROW! If you’d like to grab a cold one or sample sips of 50 local and regional craft brews, you don’t want to miss the 8th Annual Barrington Brew Fest, happening from 3 to 7 p.m.

2011 Barrington Brewfest

Barrington Brew Fest will take place under the Brat Tent in the north lot of Barrington’s Metra Station. If you’d like to taste and learn about a delicious variety of frothy brews, you’ll have the chance to learn from the pros…

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46. Sample 50 Fine Wines at Uncork Barrington 2011

7th annual Uncork Barrington event in downtown Barrington, Illinois

If you love fine wine and savor opportunities to sip samples from around the globe, you don’t want to miss tomorrow night’s 7th Annual “Uncork Barrington” event. I have attended this party every year since it started back in 2005 and, like a fine wine, it just keeps getting better with age.

7th annual Uncork Barrington event in downtown Barrington, Illinois

The party starts at 6 p.m. tomorrow, Friday, July 8th, and the planners have decided to extend the end time an hour this year, until 10 p.m., to accommodate those who get home later from work. When you enter the event, you’ll receive a complimentary wine glass and a wine passport to track your tastings.  There will be 50 different wines from all regions of the world available to sample along with complimentary hors d’oeuvres from some of the finest local restaurants.

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45. Travel the World at Barrington International Fest

International Fest in Barrington, Illinois

We just spent Fourth of July weekend celebrating our country’s independence, but today’s a day to celebrate all countries and cultures without leaving Barrington. The first ever Barrington International Fest is happening today from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. and we’re all invited to share a sampling of dance, food and music from around the world.

International Fest in Barrington, Illinois

International Fest will be a day full of fun for all ages with vendors, performers and attendees from far beyond the Barrington area. There are activities planned for kids, teens and adults along with music from around the world.

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43. Fire it Up with the Smokin Gunz

Smokin Gunz Band will Perform at the Barrington Brat Tent Tonight

Be sure you’re cocked, locked and ready to rock when you head to the Barrington Brat Tent today.  There’ll be lots of Country heat on hand tonight when Smokin Gunz takes the stage.  The band will be tonight’s finale performance after a full day of family fun at the Barrington 4th of July Weekend festivities.

Smokin Gunz Band will Perform at the Barrington Brat Tent Tonight

Smokin Gunz are otherwise known as “Chicago’s Hardest Working Country Band”. They’re a Top 40 Country band from the suburbs of Chicago, they have a reputation for getting the audience on their feet and you can learn more about them at SmokinGunz.net.

But the Smokin Gunz are just one of many great activities scheduled for the Brat Tent today…

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42. Take a Stroll with Stilt Man Frank Birdsall

Frank Birdsall Fourth of July Appearance in Barrington

It’s a bird!  It’s a plane!  No – it’s a giant Daddy Long Legs and you’ll find him cruising around the streets of Barrington today.  Stilt man and entertainer extraordinaire, Frank Birdsall will be making an appearance during Day Two of this weekend’s 4th of July Festivities at the Barrington Brat Tent.

Frank Birdsall Fourth of July Appearance in Barrington

Frank Birdsall on the Streets of Chicago, Courtesy of Frank Birdsall

Frank Birdsall is a man of many talents and you’ll find him performing his regular gig at Navy Pier in Chicago. He’s witty, he’s an athlete, he’s an artist and he’s an entertainer to boot!  He holds two national unicycle championships in track-riding and his strength, agility and balance have led to a successful career in stilt-walking.  And if that doesn’t impress you, get this.  Frank is a sculptor who creates outrageous balloon characters.  I bet he can walk, talk and chew gum at the same time, too!  You can make a date to meet Frank today right here in Barrington.  He’ll be performing at the Brat Tent at Noon and that’s just one of many fun events planned for Barrington’s 4th of July festivities today.

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