It’s the Food! Events, Variety Bring People to Downtown Aurora...

  Foodies are going to want to head downtown this May and beyond. With over a dozen locally-owned restaurants, downtown Aurora is a great place to eat. A couple of community events this spring and summer are helping to highlight Aurora’s core as a food destination.   Picnic at the Plaza kicked off in mid-April and returns on April 30, June 18, and July 23. The event is part of the Aurora Downtown organization’s Downtown Saturdays efforts to draw people to downtown on Saturday afternoons.   The first Picnic at the Plaza welcomed Grumpy Gaucho, a food truck featuring freshly baked empanadas, to Millennium Plaza on Stolp Avenue. Gorgeous weather assisted in bringing families with strollers, dog walkers, residents, and bicyclists to the plaza. Grumpy Gaucho is back at the plaza from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on April 30. Nate’z Dogz comes to the plaza on June 18 and July 23.   Picnic at the Plaza is a community picnic in downtown with chalk and bubbles, too. Picnic goers can order from the food truck or patronize nearby restaurants; River’s Edge Cafe, 14 W. Downer Pl. Ste. 18, is offering a picnic lunch to go for the afternoon.   If you want to stay inside, Gillerson’s Grubbery offers a kids eat free special from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Downtown Saturdays.   On May 6, First Fridays presents the first Food Truck Festival as part of the annual Downer Place Block Party on Downer Place just west of Stolp Avenue. The street will be blocked off for more than a dozen food vendors. Live music featuring The Ron Porter Trio and Bones Jugs is around the corner at Millennium Plaza.   Food trucks range from grilled cheese to empanadas to tacos. There...

Food Trucks, Live Music, A Pop Up Shop. All on May 6 at First Fridays in Downtown Aurora...

Before summer officially kicks off, First Fridays is throwing a party that is going to set the bar high. On May 6, the monthly celebration of downtown culture adds a block party with food trucks and live music, and the Pop Up Shop returns.   The Downer Place Block Party features a Food Truck Festival from 5 to 10 p.m. with a dozen food trucks parked just west of Stolp Avenue. Live music featuring The Ron Porter Trio and Bones Jugs is around the corner at Millennium Plaza on Stolp Avenue.   The quarterly Pop Up Shop is back from 6 to 9 p.m. at Leland Tower, 7 S. Stolp Ave. About 15 local artisans will sell their wares in the historic building.   First Fridays, a night of art, music, and culture at a variety of venues in downtown Aurora, also features two student art shows, three open museums, and several art openings.   Pick up a free First Fridays passport at any venue for a full map of participating venues or visit the welcome table at the block party. Return the punched passport at the last venue visited for a chance to win a First Fridays goody bag filled with gifts from downtown businesses.   In May, the following venues are open for First Fridays.   Oxie Affordable Optical, 131 W. Galena Blvd., celebrates their grand opening with an open house. 5 to 9 p.m.   River’s Edge Cafe, 14 W. Downer Pl. Ste. 18, celebrates their second anniversary with cake, photography by Tim Perroud, and live music out front with Dan Becker from 5 to 7 p.m. and The Simple Teller from 7 to 9 p.m.   Ballydoyle Irish Pub, 28 W. New York St., features art by Jennifer Toshack, terrariums...

Announced! RiverEdge Park Summer Lineup...

RiverEdge Park, now in its fourth season, announced their full summer concert and event lineup for 2016. The popular Blues on the Fox Festival celebrates its 20th anniversary with The Robert Cray Band, Los Lobos and Tedeschi Trucks Band, with openers Marcia Ball, Larry McCray and Leland (June 17 and 18). Other national acts announced were “Weird Al” Yankovic (July 2), KC and The Sunshine Band (July 3), Air Supply with Blood, Sweat & Tears (July 16), Melissa Etheridge with Pat Benatar and Neil Geraldo (July 22), Alan Jackson with Lauren Alaina (August 6) and Boz Scaggs with America (August 20). These national headliners acts join Kool and The Gang with Thomas McClary of the Commodores (June 24), Willie Nelson and Family with Special Guest Kris Kristofferson (June 25), The Hollywood Vampires (July 7) and The Beach Boys and The Temptations (August 5), all already announced to perform live on the banks of the beautiful Fox River this summer. For more great live music, at the right price, Aurora’s popular Downtown Alive! outdoor music series returns with American English (July 29) and 7th Heaven (August 19). Tickets are only $1 when purchased through May 31. A slew of community festivals and fun special events also will attract all ages to downtown Aurora this summer: ColorVibe 5K Race (May 29), the Two Brothers Summer Festival with Cold War Kids, Lord Huron, The Lone Bellow and Phox (June 3-4), Aurora’s Fourth of July Celebration with the Aurora American Legion Band and Fox Valley Orchestra (July 4), the Aurora Puerto Rican Heritage Festival (July 23 & 24) and Get the Led Out: The American Led Zeppelin (August 26). Online ticket sales for all shows start today at 2 p.m. at RiverEdgeAurora.com. Early bird discounts are offered on...

Free Concerts on May 6 Kick Off First Fridays Live Music Series at Millennium Plaza...

Bones Jugs and The Ron Porter Trio are bringing live music to the Food Truck Festival/Downer Place Block Party: A First Fridays Event on May 6 in downtown Aurora.   The annual Downer Place Block Party will host a dozen food trucks and live music. The free concert is from 5 to 10 p.m. at Millennium Plaza on Stolp Avenue.   Aurora Downtown sponsors the event that is part of First Fridays. In addition to the block party, several venues will be open with art, music, and other offerings. The quarterly Pop Up Shop will be held once again from 6 to 9 p.m. at Leland Tower.   “We are really excited to have this caliber of talent to add to the block party. Thanks to the partnerships Aurora Downtown has with the city and First Fridays venues, what started as a few food trucks parked along Downer Place last fall has grown into a full outdoor party with something for everyone,” said Marissa Amoni, event organizer for Aurora Downtown.   The Ron Porter Trio, a versatile trio drawing from R&B, Rock, Pop, Blues, Jazz, Big Band and Reggae, performs from 5 to 7 p.m.   Bones Jugs, a 21st century throwback to 1920’s ragtime with a new­-agey jugband twist, performs from 7:30 to 10 p.m.   Food trucks will be parked on Downer Place just west of Stolp Avenue. The bands will perform around the corner at Millennium Plaza on Stolp Avenue just south of Leland...

Poetry Returns to Downtown Aurora...

Downtown is alive with words. Passerby can now enjoy several poems printed on large posters throughout downtown Aurora.  Cultural Creatives, Inc., the non-profit group responsible for bringing you the Aurora ArtWalk, is pleased to announce its latest endeavor:  A Celebration of Poetry in Public Places in recognition of National Poetry Month. To celebrate, the City of Aurora, Aurora Downtown, and the Cultural Creatives have collaborated to produce a display of poetry in public spaces — specifically four city-owned kiosks located in downtown Aurora and at the Route 59 and Route 25 train stations, as well as additional locations strategically located throughout the city center including: The Terminal Building (Galena and Broadway), The Silverplate Building (Downer and Stolp), and 28 Downer Pl. The buildings selected are part of the Vacant Window Project, a grassroots all-volunteer effort supported in part by Aurora Downtown. Poetry placement was designed to be readily accessible to pedestrians.   The project was inspired by Poems on the Underground in London. The Cultural Creatives group and A-Town Poetics agreed the project would be well received in Aurora.   A call to writers was made, work was selected by a team of jurors, poems were chosen and seven posters were produced. The following writers have been selected for the 2016 display: Karen Fullett-Christensen, Aurora; Tricia Marcella Cimera, St. Charles; Sondra Sula, Aurora; Paula Garrett, Geneva; Kristin LaTour, Aurora; Margo Anderson, Aurora; Frank Patterson, Aurora. All writers currently residing in the Fox Valley region were eligible to submit original poetry.   For more information on the project, to join A-Town Poetics, or to get information about submitting work for future poetry exhibitions, contact Karen Christensen at...