First Fridays Dec. 5

First Fridays in downtown Aurora features art, music, and fun! Visit downtown galleries, pop-up galleries, museums, shops, restaurants, and more on the first Friday of every month. Come downtown for a winter wonderland of festive, decorated windows and lots of art, music, and fun on Dec. 5 for First Fridays. It’s the Small Show at the ArtBar this month. Pick up local art as stocking stuffers. The ArtBar, in the tavern at Two Brothers Roundhouse, features more than two dozen local artists for one night only. Visit the ArtBar from 6 p.m. to midnight. If These Walls Could Talk, 32 S. Stolp Ave., is open for a good cause from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. The gallery is hosting an auction to support the Aurora Area Interfaith Food Pantry. In its second year, brown paper bags are turned into works of art by local artists and auctioned off to pack the pantry. It’s Bad Santa at Yetee Gallery, 110 Cross St. If you’ve been naughty, then this is the show for you. Curator Chris Hodge, of Aurora, invites several local artists to display their twisted, holiday works from 7 to 11:30 p.m. Local musicians will perform at an open mic hosted by Culture Stock, 43 E. Galena Blvd. from 6 to 8 p.m. Musicians are invited to sign up starting at 5:30 p.m. on Friday. Attendees can enjoy acoustic, family-friendly performances. The David L. Pierce Art and History Center, 20 E. Downer Pl., will be open from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. with various activities, including the History Mystery guessing game sponsored by Aurora Historical Society. Patrons are welcome to shop the Museum Store on the first floor, and visit the Invitational Show on the third floor of the historic building. Aurora Regional Fire...

Small Business Saturday is Nov. 29...

Shop small in downtown Aurora. We have blocks of fun and unique shops. Here are just some of the things you can fill your bags (or stockings) with at businesses located right in downtown Aurora. Did we mention the free parking? NOM NOM NOM If you have foodies on your list, then downtown Aurora — with around a dozen eateries — is a great place to fill up on gift cards, gift certificates and more. Here is a sampling of tasty items: Chef Amaury at 33 West. Located at 33 W. New York St. along Restaurant Row, this intimate, local restaurant owned by Auroran Amaury Rosado features several delectable courses inspired by local, seasonal and organic fare. Rosado frequently hosts wine dinners, and tickets would make an ideal gift for the foodie in your life. River’s Edge Café. They brew coffee, cook and cater at downtown’s only independent coffee shop located at 14 W. Downer Place. They’ll also make baked goods for you, or a frittata for holiday breakfasts. Their pumpkin muffins will make you want to practice your parallel parking. Fox Valley Homebrew. Two doors down from River’s Edge Café is Fox Valley Homebrew — a beer crafters dream. The small store sells beer and winemaking kits plus a whole lot of accessories for the hobby. Visit www.foxvalleybrew.com. BEAUTIFUL THINGS Wardell Art Glass Studio. You might not need stained glass, but Wardell Art Glass Studio at 28 S. Stolp Ave. has a small gift shop in front of the large street level workshop. Ceramic art tiles, gift cards and other unique gift items are available. The DLP. The David L. Pierce Art and History Center is a great place not only to soak in some art and culture, but also to shop. A gift shop to the left...

See Mary Poppins!

Win a FREE pair of tickets to see Mary Poppins at Paramount Theatre in downtown Aurora. For a chance to win, sign up to our email newsletters — it’s that easy! We only email monthly newsletters and sometimes specials and offers, so we will never clog your inbox. For another chance to win, visit our Facebook page! https://www.facebook.com/auroradowntown We will announce the winner on Small Business Saturday, Nov. 29....

Winter Lights Festivities Abound...

The City of Aurora is kicking off the holiday season with the third annual Winter Lights event – It’s a Jolly Holiday! – this Friday, November 21 from 5 to 9 p.m.The festivities will take place on Downer Place and Stolp Avenue in downtown Aurora.   Returning this year, the Winter Lights Parade will usher in the holiday season with dazzling floats along Downer Place, leading up to the official holiday tree lighting. The tree, in front of the Grand Army of the Republic Hall, 23 E. Downer Place, will be lit at6 p.m. by Aurora’s Miss Merry Christmas, Jack Frost and Mayor Tom Weisner. Later in the evening, a winter fireworks display will light up the night sky and will be best viewed from the Downer Place Bridge.   The free, family-friendly event will brighten the twinkling streets of downtown Aurora with live music, ice sculpting, local art, roasted nuts and other treats, plus a winterfireworks display. Family photo ops will abound with live reindeer, costumed characters, a life-sized walk-through snow globe, Aurora’s Grinch, the Paramount’s own Mary Poppins, and, of course, Santa and Mrs. Claus.   In addition to shopping the new Christkindlmarket full of vintage gifts and holiday foods, patrons are invited to shop along Downer Place and Stolp Avenue where several businesses will be extending their hours including the David L. Pierce Art and History Center, 20 E. Downer; River’s Edge Café and Fox Valley Home Brew, 14 W. Downer; Vara Designs 15 W. Downer; YM Boutique, 5 W. Downer; Eyeland Optical, 26 E. Downer; and If These Walls Could Talk, 32 S. Stolp.   More than 25 well-known local and regional vendors will be participating with holiday treats and treasures on display for purchase.  Bring your holiday shopping list for...

All Spoked Up Pedaling To Downtown...

All Spoked Up, a popular bicycle shop along the river in downtown Batavia, is opening up a second location this December in downtown Aurora. Owner Matt Knowles recently confirmed that the second location will open at 14 W. Downer Pl. in the old Metropolitan Business College building owned by Dan Hites. All Spoked Up will move into the suite formerly occupied by World Relief (who have since moved to LaSalle Street in downtown Aurora). Knowles is excited about the new downtown Aurora location, and said he hopes to open in early December. Knowles is currently working on a build out. The bicycle shop was encouraged to move to downtown Aurora after Aurora Downtown, an organization of business and property owners, announced a rental subsidy program this year. Aurora Downtown’s Business and Retention Committee (BAR) decided, as its project for 2014, to offer rent subsidies to up to three new businesses locating in downtown Aurora. The committee members felt that this was consistent with the mission of the committee, which is to attract and retain new businesses. The committee looked to approve either a new upstart business, a relocation from outside the downtown area, or the opening of an additional location of an existing business. BAR wanted to deal with a for-profit business that would contribute to the tax base in Aurora, and expressly prefer a retail business, although they would accept and consider applicants who were service businesses. “Although we hadn’t envisioned a bike store, when All Spoked Up responded to our program, we were excited. Aurora is a bike-friendly town and we felt there was a need for a bike store in the downtown area,” said John Nachtrieb, spokesperson for BAR. “We are delighted that All Spoked Up responded, and we are looking forward...