Staying local? Enjoy Spring Break in downtown Aurora...

If you’re not able to get away this month, it’s easy to enjoy spring break in downtown Aurora. You just need to look at the city from an outsider’s perspective and try new things that are outside of your normal routine.   I recently took a couple of local friends to The Riverfront Playhouse for the first time and they loved it. We then walked over to Leland Legends for dessert and had a great time being “local tourists.”   It’s always fun to visit downtown museums, and they’re all free for Aurora Museums After Dark from 5 to 8 p.m. on Thursday, March 29.   A real spring break treat is a signature coffee drink or a fruit smoothie from Endiro Coffee, 29 W. New York St. If you’re going for an afternoon snack, try their street sides like the veggie samosas or the grilled plantains. Yum.   I always feel like I’m on vacation when I stop by La Quinta de los Reyes, 36 E. New York St., and order their table-side salsa and guacamole. For those on a budget, try Taqueria El Tio, 81 S. River St., on Monday night for dollar tacos.   Of course, it’s a real vacation when you splurge on some spa treatments. A stop at Zen Loft Wellness Center, 6 W. Downer Pl., for a chair massage on Wednesday afternoon during “Walk-In Wednesdays” is a must.   Fatimah at Pure Skin Solutions, 26 S. Stolp Ave., will make your skin shine with a refreshing facial, and check out Do or Dye Designs next door or Big Boss across the street for a new look.   Perhaps test out some summer recreational equipment at Rocktown Adventures, 107 Spruce St., or take a bicycle for a spin at...

Earth Hour celebrated on March 24 in downtown Aurora...

Aurora Greenfest announces its spring event, Earth Hour at SciTech Hands On Museum, 18 W. Benton St., on Saturday, March 24. The free, family event will raise awareness for healthy living and a healthy environment by encouraging creative play at the downtown museum in a limited illumination environment. The museum will reduce its lighting and the skylights will provide natural light (sunset at 7:36 pm). “Earth Hour is about starting the conversation about the interconnectivity of climate change and you,” says Mavis Bates, founder of Aurora Greenfest. “We’re partnering with SciTech because we know creative play and healthy activities create awareness for how we each can help improve the health of the planet,” Bates said. Activities at the event include Parent/Child Yoga session, Circle Rhythm Clap and Stomp, Crafts, Guided Meditation, Healthy Snacks, a Scavenger Hunt and all of the SciTech exhibits. “Families will have fun exploring all the great things at the museum, especially the weather exhibits and the reef exhibit that is on loan from its national tour,” said Bates. Doors open at 6:30 p.m.; special activities like yoga, rhythm circle, and meditation will be held twice in the evening beginning at 7 p.m. RSVP to the Facebook invite...

River’s Edge Cafe to close; Tredwell Coffee to open in downtown Aurora...

Amy Petit is saying goodbye; Chad Dawes in saying hello. Petit, the current owner of River’s Edge Cafe is shuttering River’s Edge Cafe in March after selling the business to Chad Dawes, of Montgomery. Petit was looking to sell the cafe for the last few months, and after receiving serious interest from a few candidates, she accepted Dawes’ offer in mid-February. Dawes, of Montgomery, plans to reopen the cafe as Tredwell Coffee with business partner Dana Wyatt. The opening depends on sale and renovations, Dawes said. He said it will “still (be) an amazing cafe with artisan coffee and great breakfast and lunch options. We will focus on the coffee and work to increase speed of service.” “The biggest goal is to be a bigger presence in the community. We want to focus on the people that make Aurora special. My mission statement is “Enriching people’s lives with artisan coffee and a place to belong.” “Our plans are to be a craft coffee house. Serving multiple roasters and having a rotating option. Our main roaster is a wonderful company out of Addison called Tugboat Coffee.” Dawes said he’d like to expand the coffee shop’s hours, but will first need to “see what kind of traffic I can get later in the day.” Meanwhile, Petit looks forward to more time as a wife and mother. She also wants to pursue her current passion of health and wellness as a nutritional products consultant. Petit can be reached at livehealthy5@icloud.com.  ...

In with magic; out with Harry Potter at downtown Aurora festival this June...

There will be no Aurora’s Harry Potter Festival this year. According to festival organizers, Warner Bros. Entertainment’s attorney contacted them and directed them not to use Harry Potter’s name or any references in the downtown Aurora festival. “We are disappointed that we cannot host another Harry Potter Festival after last year’s successful event, but we didn’t want to just cancel. At Warner Bros. suggestion, we will be hosting a general celebration of wizards, witches, and all things magical this June,” organizers wrote on a Facebook post. “We are going to host a scaled-back event to see how things go in a festival without Harry Potter’s name on it. Our 2018 event will take place on Saturday, June 9,” they added.  Until recently, a two-day festival was planned for June 9 and 10. Now festival organizers are planning Downtown Aurora Magic, a one-day festival on June 9. “Last year’s event was popular and fun. We have been planning a follow-up event for months and don’t want to scrap the entire festival, so we are following Warner Bros. suggestion to have a generic wizard festival instead of a Harry Potter-specific event,” said Kate Purl, who originated Aurora’s Harry Potter Festival last year. Some downtown locations are taking it in stride. The Aurora Regional Fire Museum will feature a Museum of Curiosities & Local Magic Market on both Saturday, June 9 and Sunday, June 10. “While we can’t use Harry Potter’s name or specific references to the books, there is still plenty of magic to celebrate in downtown Aurora.  Festivalgoers can enjoy classes, crafts, entertainment, costume contests, games, and more while exploring all that Downtown Aurora has to offer,” she added. Tickets will go on sale on Saturday, March 24 at 9 a.m. through Eventbrite.com. Tickets will be $10 per person for witches and...