Roots Aurora on Aug. 31...

Along with presenting food, music, art and dance from a variety of cultural enclaves in Aurora, the Roots Aurora festival will honor eight leaders of the community who have preserved and shared their own family heritage and in doing so have enriched the culture of Aurora. A mixture of first-generation Americans and those who trace their families back more than 100 years in Aurora, the group includes business owners, professionals and an artist. David A. Frieders is a 4th-generation Auroran and radio personality who delved deeply into his Luxembourg heritage through research, travel and the tales of his grandfather.  He is a long-time member of the national Luxembourg American Cultural Society and has worked on many activities in the Aurora chapter. Mirna Lopez-Freitag was born in Aurora but raised in Arecibo, Puerto Rico.  Returning to her Aurora roots as a teenager, she built her own business, Midwest Occupational Health Management Services while throwing herself into the life of the local Puerto Rican community.  She is president of the Aurora Puerto Rican Cultural Council and a former board member of the Aurora Hispanic Heritage Advisory Board, and is credited with reviving the once-annual Puerto Rican festival and parade and introducing holiday customs from the island. Guy Prisco is the son of Italian immigrants who arrived in Aurora in 1926 and established the family name as synonymous with the grocery business.  Following a different path, he became an architect, but helped to found the Italian American Club in Aurora and continues to support the cultural activities of the community. First-generation Aurorans, Dr. Michael and Eva Kontos kept their Greek heritage close to their hearts.  However, when they realized that many young Greek Americans were growing up without understanding the widely varying regional cultures of their homeland...

Alley Art Festival on Aug. 30 Aug13

Alley Art Festival on Aug. 30...

  Art, music, and spectacle will return once again to downtown Aurora’s Water Street Mall as Alley Art Festival celebrates its fifth year on Saturday, August 30.   Over 60 local artists, a full lineup of musical acts, and other performances will be part of the annual event that runs from noon to 5 p.m. in downtown Aurora near City Hall.   “This year really tips the scales as far as local talent is concerned,” said Marissa Amoni, who organizes the grassroots festival. “It’s the one day that artists – some of whom got their start at Alley Art Festival – can all get together and show the community what they’re up to,” she said.   Local artists include Don Picton, Chris Evans, Chris Hodge, Raul Rodea, Solange Henson, Leslie Sabella, Roz Anomaly, Valerie William, Alice DuBois, Cassidy Alexander, Charles Huff, and dozens more.   Featured on the lawn are the local talents of Town Band at noon, Eastern Fire Belly Dance at 1 p.m., Miles Nielsen at 2 p.m., Noah Gabriel at 3 p.m., and Michael Heaton at 4 p.m.   There will also be a full lineup of musicians throughout the day on the stage inside Riverfront Playhouse including Eric Peter Schwartz, Katie Lentz and Chris Contreras, Barrelhouse Blend, and The Heels. In addition, Culture Stock, 43 E. Galena Blvd., will be open with a $5 bag sale on clearance books.   Alley Art Festival continues to be artist-run, and stays true to its original vision of a local, grassroots art festival on Water Street Mall. The event is free and all art is available for sale. Food vendors will be on hand with hot dogs, ice cream, and more.   Alley Art Festival is sponsored by participating artists, Downtown Auroran Magazine,...