Alley Art Fest returns to Water Street Mall on Aug 26...

Alley Art Festival returns to Water Street Mall in downtown Aurora from noon to 5 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 26.   Alley Art Festival will fill the tree-lined, pedestrian-friendly mall between Downer Place and Galena Boulevard with local art, music, food, spectacle, and fun for the day.   The festival continues to be one of the largest gatherings of local artists in the Fox Valley, bringing more than 60 artists to display their original works, prints, and creations.     “Alley Art Fest continues to provide an opportunity for the community to support local artists while enjoying a fun day downtown,” said organizer Marissa Amoni.   Joining the hip and eclectic lineup of art this year is Dept., a group of teachers from Naperville Central High School including Daniela Cirone, Danielle Figueroa, Becky Mancuso, Amy Murphy, and Greg Padgett. Fox Valley Robotics will be demonstrating robots and have a Lego build activity. A children’s art tent will also feature hands-on, creative opportunities.   Alley Art Festival was started in 2010 by Marissa Amoni, Jen Evans, Lisa Green, and Nate Miller. The festival is supported by artists and volunteers, and is sponsored by Downtown Auroran Magazine, Aurora Downtown, and the City of Aurora’s Neighborhood Festival Funding.   The day-long festival is family-friendly, and welcomes patrons of all ages to patronize local artists, listen to local music, and support local food vendors.   To find out more about Alley Art Festival, visit Alley Art Festival on Facebook or online at...

The Beatles and barbecue at Santori Library on Aug 26...

Released on June 1, 1967, the music of the Beatles’ eighth album, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, was different, exciting and colorful.   That’s the idea behind the Aurora Public Library Foundation’s Beatles Barbecue, set for 6:30 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 26 in the Richard and Gina Santori Public Library’s Parker Garden.   “Two librarians – Robb Winder and Dan Smolla – suggested a 50th anniversary-type party with Beatles music, 60s fashions and a cookout, and the event committee loved the idea,” said Foundation President Kelly McCleary, who is busy working on themed décor for the outdoor celebration.   “This is a fundraiser to support early literacy and scholarships as well as delivery of library materials to the homebound,” McCleary said. “It will also help purchase technology and STEM tools for all library locations.”   But like the 1967 album, the event will be different from past Library Foundation events.   “We will have a live band (the Dog and Pony Show), dancing, karaoke, raffles, trivia and prizes,” said Foundation Manager Laura Stoney, “but there will not be an auction at this time. We just want people to come out and have fun and support their library.”   Tickets are available online at http://www.santorilibrary.com/beatles-barbecue-tickets/ for $50 each, which includes an on-site barbecue with all the trimmings by Reuland Food Service. Beer, wine, and a specialty cocktail created just for the occasion are included in the ticket price.   Call 630-264-4124 for information or...

First Fridays plus a Block Party on Aug 4 in downtown Aurora...

Stolp Island Block Party adds some outdoor fun to First Fridays on August 4 and September 1. The block party, hosted by the Aurora Downtown organization of downtown business and property owners, features live art, live music, an outdoor market, a beer tent, and more. The block party is from 6 to 10 p.m. on Stolp Avenue from Galena Boulevard to Downer Place. About a dozen artists will create live art on Stolp in front of If These Walls Could Talk, who is curating the art portion of the evening. The First Fridays summer concert series continues on Aug. 4 with Ron Porter Trio at 6 p.m. and Scott Tipping Trio at 8 p.m. at the gazebo at Millennium Plaza. An outdoor market features fresh, locally grown produce from Renewed Roots Initiative; baked goods by Frosted Fig; homemade soaps from Aroma Roots; essential oils and more from Illuminate Space; and unique fresh air topiaries from Aurora Botanicals. Food vendors include Grumpy Gaucho, Taco Grill, and Gobble Doggs. Gillerson’s Grubbery is setting up a beer tent at the festivities. Art openings, live music, and more are featured at First Fridays on Aug. 4 at several locations throughout downtown including: If These Walls Could Talk, 32 S. Stolp Ave., opens “Pencils and Pallets,” art from Eva Balek & Jennifer Hunger. 7 to 11 p.m. Culture Stock, 43 E. Galena Blvd., hosts an annual urban art show from 4 to 9 p.m. Spoken word starts at 8:30 p.m. Gallery 1904, 1 E. Benton St., features “Three Artists in One Space.” 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. Indie Studio Space, 105 E. Galena Blvd., welcomes director Andre Boyd and photographer Ryan Lynch. 5 to 8 p.m.   David L. Pierce Art and History Center, 20 E. Downer Pl., is currently...