95. ‘Express Yourself’ at Photo Exhibit’s Opening Night

95.  ‘Express Yourself’ at Photo Exhibit’s Opening Night

What would you picture if you were asked to photograph something that makes you laugh, cry, something you love, something beautiful or something you can’t live without?  Your images would undoubtedly speak volumes about your values, your personality and the people who matter to you most. Barrington portrait photographer, Thomas Balsamo, recently posed that challenge to 28 area special needs children in a contest called Express Yourself. With the help of special needs advocacy group, Barrington Area Special Voices, this project is the latest way Thomas has used his lens to both enlighten and empower.

"Express Yourself" Photo Contest, Courtesy of Thomas Balsamo

For the Express Yourself Photo Contest, Thomas armed contestants with cameras, confidence and a few tricks of his trade.  He paired them with local photography experts, encouraged them to explore and inspired them to share their feelings creatively.

Express Yourself Artists in Action, Courtesy of Thomas Balsamo

He rewarded their work with prizes and praise.  The project became the focus of his latest book and a brand new photography exhibit debuting in Barrington this week.  And now here’s where we come in…

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85. “C” is for Cookie at Community Church of Barrington

85.  “C” is for Cookie at Community Church of Barrington

Bakers throughout Barrington have been busy all week preparing for tomorrow morning’s 38th Annual Community Church of Barrington Cookie Walk. If you want to see what “selling like hot cakes” looks like, don’t be late. Last year, they sold out of cookies in just over an hour.  So be sure to show up early because goodies found at the Cookie Walk make THE BEST “homemade” holiday gifts for neighbors.  They look just like you baked them yourself.  But …. shhh … don’t tell anyone I’ve let you in on this sneaky cookie tip.  I wouldn’t want my own neighbors to know my little holiday secret ;).

Here’s how it works, for $10, you can buy a “one pound” box and fill it with your own hand-picked assortment of cookies in all shapes, sizes and colors…

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71. Bust a Move for the Pink Glove Dance Competition

71.  Bust a Move for the Pink Glove Dance Competition

It’s not every day that you see people dancing through the halls at Good Shepherd Hospital.  It’s not every day that you find hospital doctors, nurses and staff wearing pink gloves and feather boas to work.  But they’ve been up to something over at the hospital here in Barrington and, when I saw what it was, it gave me goosebumps.  It’s a video of about 100 Good Shepherd Hospital employees, wearing pink and dancing to Firework, one of my favorite Katy Perry songs. Who knew so many of our local healthcare providers double as dancing divas!?!

Photo Courtesy of Good Shepherd RN Breast Care Manager, Charlotte Dioguardi

They created the video to win a dance competition and it’s a major feat in choreographed camaraderie executed by employees, men and women, from just about every department at the hospital.

Photo Courtesy of Good Shepherd RN Breast Care Manager, Charlotte Dioguardi

From the hospital’s president, Karen Lambert, to its housekeepers, from its doctors to its paramedics, there’s no sign of stage fright over wearing wacky pink accessories while grooving to the beat.

Courtesy of Good Shepherd RN Breast Care Manager, Charlotte Dioguardi

They’re bringing out the boogie in hospital beds, at their desks and through the hospital halls.  NOW IT’S OUR TURN to help them dance their way to winning a top prize.  Read on to watch their video and cast your vote…

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65. Help Good Shepherd Hospital at Art in the Barn

65.  Help Good Shepherd Hospital at Art in the Barn

If you’ve ever made a trip to Good Shepherd Hospital for medical needs, planned or unplanned, this is one weekend where you can return to repay the favor. The 37th Annual Art in the Barn juried fine art show is happening this Saturday and Sunday, September 24th and 25th. Over 175 artists will be there to sell their creations and share their earnings to help fund hospital initiatives designed to keep us healthy.

A group of 10 women organized the first Art in the Barn with only 30 artists in 1974 to help raise money to build the hospital here in Barrington. The show has grown and, this weekend, they’re expecting up to 7,000 people to attend.

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52. Save the Lives You Love at National Night Out

52.  Save the Lives You Love at National Night Out

Our new baby turned two weeks old yesterday. With three kids under three in our house, events like tonight’s sixth annual National Night Out at Citizens Park in Barrington are beginning to take on new meaning.  Barrington police have played a big part in the planning and it’s designed to be a fun way to learn things that can save the lives of the people we love.

If you’ve ever worried about things like bike and train safety, stranger danger, your kids and drugs, how to keep them safe behind the wheel or as the passengers of other teen drivers, National Night Out will help bring you a little peace of mind. Whether your kids are little like ours or in the midst of their teens, they’ll definitely walk away from this party armed with new skills to help keep them out of danger.

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22. Get Artsy Outdoors at Art in the Park

22.  Get Artsy Outdoors at Art in the Park

If you love art and you love the outdoors, you don’t want to miss the FREE “Art in the Park” art and music festival coming up in Barrington this weekend.  The third annual event kicks off the outdoor festival season and is happening all day this upcoming Sunday, May 22nd.  You can expect to find more artists displaying their works this year, along with more musicians, more children’s activities, more food AND more people gathered for a day of art and inspiration at Barrington’s Citizen’s Park.

Citizen's Park Art in the Park Festival
Photo Courtesy of Barrington Cutural Arts Center

There will be close to 60 area artists displaying their works for sale from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. at this Sunday’s event, there will be eight musical acts performing live on the stage, you’ll find live art demonstrations happening throughout the park and just wait until you hear what’s planned for kids this year…

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14. Sign Up for the Barrington Mother’s Day 5K

14. Sign Up for the Barrington Mother’s Day 5K

Want to start a new tradition with your mom this Mother’s Day? There’s still time to sign up for the Mother’s Day 5K Run/Walk happening on the streets of Barrington on Sunday morning. You can even have a poster created to cheer on your mom and arrange to have it posted along the course route.

Sign Up for the Barrington Mother's Day 5K Run/Walk

Get your legs moving with your mama and bring your little ones, too for the FREE 100 meter kids dash.

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339. Spice Up Classrooms with the Chili & Music Fest

339. Spice Up Classrooms with the Chili & Music Fest

There’s a great party happening one week from today where you can sample chili, enjoy live music AND help create cool new programs that benefit all students in Barrington School District 220. It’s the fourth annual Chili & Music Fest, we’re all invited and you will be excited when you hear how this party is helping change the way students and parents in Barrington learn.

Support Barrington Schools at the 2011 Chili and Music Fest

Barrington’s District 220 Educational Foundation organizes the Chili & Music Fest every year to raise money for one of our community’s most important causes…

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306. Be Crowned the South Barrington Chili Champ

306.  Be Crowned the South Barrington Chili Champ

The results are in after Saturday’s “Chilly Challenge” Chili Cook-off in South Barrington. About 300 chili fans from in and around Barrington met at the South Barrington Arboretum Saturday afternoon to sample and vote for chili prepared by seven local restaurants.

2011 Chili Champion at the South Barrington Arboretum

I was one of the guest judges and snapped a few photos on the chili tour, which started at Pinstripes Bowling, Bocce & Bistro. A shuttle whisked the chili tasters off to all seven restaurants, which included Pinstripes, Cooper’s Hawk Winery & Restaurant, Nozuzmi Asian & Japanese Cuisine, Gold Class Cinemas, L’Eiffel Bistrot & Creperie, Panera Bread and defending 2010 Chili Champion, Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse. That’s a lot of chili for only $10 and it was so much fun! Almost all of the participants cast ballots for their favorites at the very end and it was a very close vote. But the 2011 South Barrington Arboretum Chili Champion is…

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292. Meet "Taco" – Barrington’s Award Winning Horse

292. Meet "Taco" – Barrington’s Award Winning Horse

The new year is off to an exciting start for our friends at Walk On Farm in Barrington. It’s a riding center devoted to making life easier for people with disabilities and one of their therapeutic horses named “Taco”  just won a prestigious Equine of the Year award!

Taco the Award Winning Horse at Walk On Farm

The North American Riding for the Handicapped Association, or NAHRA, gave Taco the award for the region that includes Illinois, Missouri, Iowa, Nebraska and Kansas. The trainers at Walk On Farm say Taco is very deserving.

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290. Celebrate Dr. King by "Delivering the Dream"

290.  Celebrate Dr. King by "Delivering the Dream"

There’s a special celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr’s legacy happening at Barrington High School tomorrow at 2PM. The Barrington Children’s Choir, Bataille Academy dancers, student groups and local church leaders will come together to share Dr. King’s message of pursuing dreams that make the world a better place.

The program is called “Delivering the Dream” and will last about an hour and fifteen minutes. Performers will bring to life specific voices from the past of great leaders like Dr. King, Cesar Chavez and Presidents Lyndon Johnson and Abraham Lincoln. “And in each case they will describe the dream they had to make the world better and how they were able to persevere and either achieve the dream or set in place the mechanism for others to live it out so that it wouldn’t die.” Community Church of Barrington Reverend, Dr. Zina Jacque, invited me to drop by their rehearsal yesterday.

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289. DASH to Cure Diabetes Presents The Second City

289.  DASH to Cure Diabetes Presents The Second City

If you’re up for a little comedy to lighten the mood tonight, you’ll find it at Barrington High School. Performers from The Second City’s touring comedy group will take the stage at 8PM and you’ll be helping raise money for a great local cause in the process.

The Dash to Cure Diabetes Presented by The Second City

Tickets cost $30 for adults and $15 for students and the show starts at 8PM. Founded in Chicago in 1959, THE SECOND CITY has become the premier training ground for the comedy world’s best and brightest stars. According to the touring performers’ website, SCTourco.com, you can expect the following at tonight’s performance:

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254. Community Church of Barrington Cookie Walk

254.  Community Church of Barrington Cookie Walk

One of Barrington’s best holiday secrets is happening tomorrow morning and, if you’re like me, you don’t want to miss it. I’ve always dreamed of baking batch after batch of Christmas cookies to give as homemade gifts to friends and neighbors. But this only happens in my Martha Stewart fantasy world. Well, thanks to a talented bevy of baking ladies at Community Church of Barrington, my fantasy will be realized this year, or at least it’ll look that way ;).

Purchase Christmas Cookies at Cookie Walk

The Community Church of Barrington’s 37th annual Cookie Walk is happening tomorrow, December 11th, from 10:30AM until 12:30PM, but doors will open at 9AM for those who want to pick up their tickets early.

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