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Wednesdays at the Plaza

August 2, 2017 @ 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm

Wednesdays at the Plaza brings free concerts to Millennium Plaza in downtown Aurora during the summer months. Millennium Plaza is located next to the Fox River on Stolp Avenue adjacent to the historic Leland Tower on Stolp Avenue and Galena Boulevard.

In 2017, Wednesdays at the Plaza runs from June 14 to August 16. Check back for an updated schedule. Concerts are from 7 to 9 p.m. Check our Facebook page to RSVP to events.

June 14: Jake Mack and the Lesser Stags

June 21: Empty Can Band

June 28: Wayne’s World Show feat. Noah’s Arcade with Kevin Trudo and friends.

July 5: CattleProd! with friends Dave Nelson and Mary Lou O’Brien

July 12: Devil in a Woodpile

July 19: Etha & Friends

July 26: Town Band

Aug. 2: Anderlik, Otto and Church

Aug. 9: Feed the Birds

Aug. 16: Big Sadie

Wednesdays at the Plaza are brought to you by Downtown Auroran Magazine, City of Aurora, Aurora Downtown, and a variety of local sponsors. Thanks to their generosity for making free, live music possible in downtown Aurora.

Thanks to these 2017 sponsors: Aurora Downtown, Fox Valley Park District, Aurora Fastprint, If These Walls Could Talk, The Compounder, Rocktown Adventures, Reuland’s Food Service, Vicki McCoy/ReMax, The Yetee, Ald. Carl Franco, City of Aurora

Details

Date:
August 2, 2017
Time:
7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Event Categories:
,

Venue

Millennium Plaza
21 S. Stolp Ave.
Aurora, IL 60506 United States
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First rooftop solar system in downtown Aurora generates renewable energy, other benefits

Posted by on Jan 4, 2018 in Featured News | Comments Off on First rooftop solar system in downtown Aurora generates renewable energy, other benefits

First rooftop solar system in downtown Aurora generates renewable energy, other benefits

Local collaborators are celebrating the power of the sun in the “City of Lights” with the completion of a state-of-the-art solar energy generation project in downtown Aurora. In December, a new 56.7 kilowatt (kW) solar power system was installed on the rooftop of the 113-year-old Carnegie library building at 1 E. Benton St., the former home of Aurora’s Main Public Library and now home to Support Techs. This renewable energy system is the first of its kind in Aurora’s historic downtown business district on Stolp Island.After acquiring the former Aurora Public Library building in December 2015, owners of The Support Companies researched ways to reduce operating costs while “going green.” This solar solution was selected to reduce CO2 emissions, reduce dependency on utility companies, and reduce costs over the long term. The new solar photovoltaic (PV) system is projected to reduce 58.72 tons of carbon emissions per year by generating 71,615 kilowatt-hours (kWh) of electricity in 2018.  The entire project took less than two months to complete. Michelle Knox, owner of WindSolarUSA designed the rooftop system to feature American-made products. Installation teams from local solar professionals at Rethink Electric in Geneva completed the project ahead of schedule.“The city of Aurora’s Building and Permits department was instrumental in making this project a reality. Their advice and efficient processes helped us meet our tight December deadline,” Knox said. “This was a collaborative effort,” she added.Economic advantages of the rooftop system include positive cash flow of $98,285 generated over the life of the system, a 30% federal tax credit, State of Illinois Renewable Energy Credits, and the Modified Accelerated Cost Recovery System (MACRS). Solar project developers like WindSolarUSA are responsible for understanding current incentives and educating owners throughout the design and installation process. American-made products chosen for the installation include 189 SolarWorld 300 watt photovoltaic modules and a Unirac ballasted system. A plus was that no penetrations were required to the building’s roof. An expansion to increase the system size by another 25% is in the planning phase.  “With new products available today, installations occur faster and more reliably,” said Rethink Electric owner Mike Nicolosi. “Cutting installation costs reduces reliance on purchased power and increases return on investment,” Nicolosi said. Rethink Electric installs alternative energy systems of every scale.“The price of solar has dropped over 60% in the last ten years,” said Rebekah Axtell, a local grassroots community organizer. “This project proves it’s definitely worth the time to stay updated as renewable energy and technology markets evolve,” she added.Axtell invited Knox and Illinois Solar Energy Association educators to speak at Eco-Week events, which she co-hosted June 2015 in conjunction with Aurora Greenfest. “Transitioning to renewable energy technologies while preserving meaningful community architecture is a two-fold investment in the quality of life for future generations,” Axtell said.The system went live on Dec. 21, Winter Solstice, the shortest day and longest night of the year. Now as the days grow longer, the sun is helping to power bright new initiatives in this historic building. In the lower level once known as the library’s “Young People’s Department,“ a community arts and culture space, Gallery 1904, opened recently.  It is aptly named after the year the Carnegie library first opened. Gallery 1904 is open monthly to the public for downtown Aurora’s First Fridays events. Opportunities for group...

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Who’s downtown? This week: Dan Barreiro

Posted by on Jan 3, 2018 in Featured News | Comments Off on Who’s downtown? This week: Dan Barreiro

Who’s downtown? This week: Dan Barreiro

Meet the people who make downtown tick. Learn who works in some of our architectural treasures, discover who keeps downtown looking beautiful, and see who you might pass on the street when you’re in the neighborhood. Join us in learning about those who are downtown Aurora. Who’s Downtown Q&A with Dan Barreiro Q: What is your title? A: Chief Community Services Officer, City of Aurora   Q: How do you spend your day in that role? A:  As the Chief Community Services Officer, I have day-to-day oversight of the Community Services Division with a budget of 6.5 million. My team includes Customer Service, Special Events, Neighborhood Redevelopment, Public Art, and Youth and Senior Services. Our division is small (10 full-time and nine part-time), but we have a large impact on the community.  I have the opportunity to help the community in a wide range of areas.  I spend some of my time on administrative tasks but most of my time is spent working with community organizations on partnership initiatives. For example, we will be planning a Mass Care Shelter Drill in 2018, and we will need partners to test our capacity. I am a behind-the-scenes person, but I have a hand in many initiatives supporting my staff as needed. On occasion, I wear different hats due to staff turnover. During those times, I have been more hands on and I appreciate my staff even more.        Q: How long have you worked for the city? A: I have been in this position since 2006 and with the city since 1988.     Q: What is your background? A:   I received a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science (Local Government) and a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from NIU.  My career at the city includes working in the Mayor’s Office, Human Resources, the Finance Department, and Community Services.   Q: What downtown projects have you worked on? A:  My first downtown project was the Pinney Street SSA which funded the deck on the rear side of the buildings on West New York Street. The project also provided screening of the garbage containers which improved the aesthetics of the businesses. My most recent projects were the Heart of America Mural and the Downtown Public Art Mural Request for Proposal (RFP). The RFP was awarded to the GreenLife Media group for a mural on LaSalle and Benton. The Heart of America Mural is located on the 2nd floor of the Santori Public Library.   I was also part of the team that saw substantial completion of the Grand Army of the Republic Museum (GAR) that resulted in its opening in 2016. I attended the 2017 Illinois Association of Museums to receive an award on behalf of the city for the GAR’s recognition as small institution of the year.     Q: What are you working on now? A:  Implementation of city goals for 2018. As a division we will be working on youth program evaluation, develop a capacity building program for Neighborhood Groups, Implementation of the Section 108 Revolving Loan Fund to support small businesses, promote grass roots organization events that bring visitors to Aurora, Improve the Customer Relations Management System resolution time, and amend the Neighborhood Revitalization Strategy Area Plan.   Another exciting event is our annual Experience Aurora Homeownership Expo. This...

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2018 Events List for Downtown Aurora

Posted by on Dec 31, 2017 in Featured News | Comments Off on 2018 Events List for Downtown Aurora

2018 Events List for Downtown Aurora

2017 was a year full of festive events in downtown Aurora, and 2018 looks to be continuing the trend of an ongoing community party in the heart of the state’s second largest city. Aurora Downtown, a nonprofit group of business and property owners within downtown Aurora’s Special Service Area (SSA) #One, will continue to sponsor and host several events in downtown including First Fridays, a night of art and culture, and Second Saturdays, a summertime event with family-friendly activities. The group is also teaming with Aurora’s Harry Potter Festival for a two-day festival, and will partner with Family Focus for Roots Aurora, as well as the City of Aurora for Winter Lights. Take a look at the full list of exciting events in the New Year brought to you by Aurora Downtown, City of Aurora, and other local groups. Please note that there is no First Fridays in January or July. First Fridays returns on Feb. 2 with art, music, and more plus free trolley rides. Second Saturdays runs from May through September with the exception of June.  February 2. First Fridays March 2. First Fridays 24. Egg Hunt on the Island 29. Museums After Dark April 6. First Fridays 21. Fox River Arts Ramble May 4. First Fridays/Food Truck Festival 12. Second Saturdays 19. Aurora Kite Festival 28. Memorial Day Parade June 1. First Fridays “Illinois Bicentennial” 9 & 10. Aurora’s Harry Potter Festival 20. Wednesdays at the Plaza 21. Museums After Dark July *No First Fridays* 4. 4th of July Parade 14. Second Saturdays 15. On the Wall Hip Hop Festival 18. Wednesdays at the Plaza August 3. First Fridays/Stolp Island Block Party/Roots Aurora 11. Second Saturdays 15. Wednesdays at the Plaza 25. Alley Art Festival TBA. LaSalle Street Auto Row Car Show September 7. First Fridays “Happy 30th Birthday SciTech!” 8. Second Saturdays 20. Museums After Dark October 5. First Fridays “Happy 50th Birthday Fire Museum!” 6. Cock-A-Doodle Brew Fest 13. Octo Street Fest 27. Trick-or-Treat in Downtown Aurora November 2. First Fridays/Day of the Dead (Dia de los Muertos) Celebrations 16. Winter Lights Festival December 7. First Fridays “Cocoa Crawl” To find out more about events as they happen, like and follow events at “Aurora Downtown” on Facebook here. Also, sign up for our newsletter on the home...

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New public art director puts focus on community-led experiences

Posted by on Dec 26, 2017 in Featured News | Comments Off on New public art director puts focus on community-led experiences

New public art director puts focus on community-led experiences

The city of Aurora welcomed Jen Evans this fall as the Aurora Public Art Commission’s new director after former director Rena Church retired in June. Evans first worked with Church and the commission in 2006 as a teacher for ArtWorks, a dual credit program for area high school students. In her new role as director, Evans wants “to provide residents with community-led experiences, education and leadership opportunities in the arts, contribute to the vibrancy of the city through public artwork, and oversee an alliance of cultural stakeholders in the city.” Evans is excited to add more public art within the city: “Something that is interactive with the community, and not just a static sculpture. Something that kids can climb on or in or through; something that’s just dying for a selfie, something that’s really engaging.” The “Swimming Stones,” the moving fountain sculpture located on Benton Street is a prime example of this sort of interactive public art, Evans added. It is this sort of engaging style that Evans is inspired by, and is the direction she hopes to follow for future installations downtown. Evans is also focused on education and engagement. She is looking to create opportunities for local artists and community members to give them space to lead and teach their own art classes and curate shows. Evans plans to utilize the space on the first floor of the David L. Pierce Art and History Center at 20 E. Downer Pl. for these informal art classes led by the community. “You can come organize a poetry slam, or you can come make a mess,” she said. She added that the focus does not even have to be on visual art. Evans is interested in promoting a sense of community cohesion and wants to use the space as a creative incubator, whether it’s open mic night, an artist lecture, or a story from a refugee, there will be untold spectacles and unique opportunities for public engagement and education, she said. Evans is the former Interim Executive Director of Water Street Studios in Batavia where she worked to professionalize and redesign the trajectory of the agency while overseeing its gallery, gift shop, and art school.  A former adjunct professor of art at Waubonsee Community College and the Art Institute of Illinois, Evans is a seasoned artist whose artwork has been on exhibit at the Paramount Theatre in Aurora, Fermi Lab in Batavia, the Ishikawa International Salon in Japan and at more than 30 other exhibitions over the past 13 years.  A city press release said that Evans brings a global perspective of art and culture to Aurora, having lived and worked in both America and Japan. Evans is among the small group of artists and community members who started Aurora’s Alley Art Festival in 2010. The third floor of the Pierce Center will continue to be a white-wall gallery space that will highlight artists from all over the country as well as local students for the annual Winter Garden of Youth show, celebrating its 20th year. Winter Garden of Youth can be visited from noon to 4 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday until January 20. Aurora University interns Brendon Kolodziej and Victoria Alexander interviewed Jen Evans for this story. Editor’s note: The David L. Pierce Art and History Center at 20 E. Downer...

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Aurora Film Society launches film screenings in 2018

Posted by on Dec 22, 2017 in Featured News | Comments Off on Aurora Film Society launches film screenings in 2018

Aurora Film Society launches film screenings in 2018

A local group aims to bring more films to downtown Aurora. The group of Aurora residents formed Aurora Film Society (AFS) this September to accomplish that goal. AFS was formed to serve as an educational, social, and local resource that provides a shared cinematic cultural experience based in the city center. The film society will offer monthly screenings of curated films as well as special events such as single screenings and festivals that focus on genres such as documentaries, animation, children’s film, and music. The screenings begin in January at the Aurora Regional Fire Museum, 53 N. Broadway. The 2018 film series includes 12 films on alternating Thursdays. If membership is large enough, the group will offer two screenings a month. The movie loft, located on the second floor of the museum, seats approximately 60. Yearly subscriptions are required to attend the monthly film screenings. Three subscription levels are offered. The basic level at $50 includes one admission to each monthly film screening. Admission is transferrable, but not refundable. For more information on subscription levels or to purchase a subscription, visit aurorafilmsociety.org. Karl Nicholas is the board president. Board members include Jeanne Norris, Kyle Reeves, Vicki McCoy, Karen Nicholas, and Helen Ratzlow. “These screenings will be held downtown so as to avail ourselves of local restaurants, pubs, and bars for post-screening discussion. Our special events and film festivals will draw patrons from the wider region, with the likely result of more patronage to downtown businesses,” Norris...

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2018 Aurora’s Harry Potter Festival returns in June for two days

Posted by on Dec 21, 2017 in Featured News | Comments Off on 2018 Aurora’s Harry Potter Festival returns in June for two days

2018 Aurora’s Harry Potter Festival returns in June for two days

Save the Date! Aurora’s Harry Potter Festival will be returning for two days in 2018. The popular festival started by local mom and teacher Kate Purl casts its spell on downtown Aurora on June 9 and 10. Tickets will go on sale on March 24 at 9 a.m. through EventBrite. Visit cityoflumos.org for more info as it happens on ticket sales. Vendors are also encouraged to visit the website as Diagon Alley will be returning to Water Street Mall. Aurora’s Harry Potter Festival is partnering with Aurora Downtown, a non-profit organization of business and property owners, to present the 2018 festival. Proceeds from the festival will be split by local non-profit organizations. If a 501(c)(3) organization is interested in being one of the beneficiaries, visit https://cityoflumos.org/info/ to learn more. Visit Aurora’s Harry Potter Festival on Facebook...

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Aurora Botanicals grows fun ideas, plans spring opening in downtown Aurora

Posted by on Dec 19, 2017 in Featured News | Comments Off on Aurora Botanicals grows fun ideas, plans spring opening in downtown Aurora

Aurora Botanicals grows fun ideas, plans spring opening in downtown Aurora

Kristin Ludwig currently runs Aurora Botanicals from home, but she will soon be bringing the business to downtown Aurora. Ludwig plans to move her indoor garden, specializing in manageable decorative plants, edible and medicinal herbal extracts, tea enhancers and organic honey to 13 S. Broadway by next spring. Ludwig, a biologist, plant biochemist and single mother, moved to Aurora’s West Side historic district years ago and “felt at home in a town for the first time,” she said. Before recently founding Aurora Botanicals, Ludwig started out her career in product development in plants, going around the globe finding and researching new plants for one of the largest horticultural companies in the world, Ball Horticultural Co. located in West Chicago. Ludwig then moved into the industry of cancer and medical diagnostics, taught horticulture classes at various colleges, moved from Aurora to Grayslake and back to Aurora again where she settled into the ventures of corporate development, launching businesses for clients and “helping to supply everything a business needs.” Moving back to Aurora only within the last year, Ludwig took notice of the great beautification of the city, all the newly planted flowers in pots and storefront gardens. Having seen this resurgence first-hand, she decided, “I’m in,” she said. Ludwig wants to target both decorators and seasoned gardeners, but also appeal to people who might not think they could have success with plants. Ludwig’s plants, though oftentimes exotic, require low maintenance. Her garden offers a multitude of soilless plants and plenty of bromeliads, or plants with no roots. And so, she added, her plants and plant-made artwork are perfect for apartments and urban settings. Ludwig will carry a storybook theme throughout the building with Aurora Botanicals being an Alice in Wonderland themed garden shop. Eventually, Ludwig hopes to have a trio of shops in the location: Aurora Sweets, a Willy Wonka themed candy shop, and Aurora Gourmet, a gourmet foods store in the theme of The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. Ludwig said that Aurora Botanicals as an Alice in Wonderland themed garden shop is going to be a mix of the Tim Burton style “weird and wonderful,” while also sustaining vibes of a “Disney Classic.” Ludwig is working with her father, son, and brother to build sets and props. “I want to focus a lot on the design of the store and the experience it provides in addition to the products being sold,” she said. To try and provide guests with a memorable experience, Ludwig’s plans include a space to hold “mad tea parties” in the center of the shop so kids can sit or take pictures. She also plans on holding public workshops for making terrariums or planters, with the experience centered on promoting creativity and sharing fun facts about plants.   The other two storefronts will be located on the Broadway side of the building. The Willy Wonka themed candy store is aimed at encapsulating all things funky, modern, cool, and delicious. With props and decorations built to mirror both the new Johnny Depp and old Gene Wilder versions of the film, this candy store is to be a blend of the two, with Ludwig citing how she loves the films’ “amazing soundtracks, colors, and craziness.” Aside from the futuristic and zany, Ludwig...

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Museums After Dark returns for 3 dates in 2018

Posted by on Dec 13, 2017 in Featured News | Comments Off on Museums After Dark returns for 3 dates in 2018

Museums After Dark returns for 3 dates in 2018

Aurora Museums After Dark welcomes visitors to downtown museums after hours on three Thursdays in 2018. Aurora Regional Fire Museum, SciTech Hands On Museum, G.A.R. Museum, The Pierce Center, and Santori Public Library stay open for an extra few hours for families to enjoy on March 29, June 21 and September 20. The museums open from 5 to 8 p.m. for Aurora Museums After Dark. Children are free with paid adult admission and members are free at applicable museums. The downtown museums highlight STEAM activities for all ages. Families are encouraged to pick up a museum passport and have it stamped at all locations in order to enter a raffle for a museum membership. Aurora Museums After Dark is sponsored by Aurora Downtown, a non-profit organization of downtown business and property owners within Special Service Area #One. Brian Failing, executive director of the Aurora Regional Fire Museum, came up with the idea for the pilot season in summer 2017. “It allows us to bring families downtown to enjoy all that our great museums have to offer, and it allows us an opportunity to collaborate on new programming,” he said. Venture downtown when the stars are out, and enjoy a fun and educational treat for all...

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SciTech celebrates 30 years with 30 events in 2018

Posted by on Dec 13, 2017 in Featured News | Comments Off on SciTech celebrates 30 years with 30 events in 2018

SciTech celebrates 30 years with 30 events in 2018

On November 28, 2017, SciTech began their year long celebration of the science museum’s 30th anniversary. As part of this milestone celebration, they are hosting 30 events over the next 12 months. Most of the events, like First Fridays, Super SciTech Saturday,the Family STEAM Nights, Egg Drop, and Giving Tuesday are all family-friendly events. The next event is SciTech’s NOON YEAR’S EVE celebration on Saturday, December 30 from 10 AM – 5 PM. With a balloon drop at noon and a 45-minute show with Jason The Juggler at 1 PM, the entire family will find fun and games throughout the day. There will also be raffles with amazing prizes, including:    * an escape room experience at Chicago Lock    * annual passes to Legoland Discovery Center    * Chicago Wolves hockey tickets    * Eli’s Cheesecake raffles Tickets are available for purchase at scitechmuseum.org for $10/person and will be $15/person at the door. In 2018, SciTech will be celebrating 30 years by having 30 events throughout the twelve months. These events include; Super SciTech Saturdays where children admission is free with a paying adult, First Fridays where all admission is free from 6:00 pm until 8:00 pm, special events for the entire family to enjoy, and events for just adults. Take a look at the 30 events below and help SciTech celebrate 30 years. November 28, 2017 – Giving Tuesday December 2, 2017 – First Fridays December 30, 2017 – Noon Year’s Eve Party January 27, 2018 – Super SciTech Saturday: Frozen Fractals with special guest Mr. Freeze from Fermi Lab February 2, 2018 – First Fridays February 22, 2018 –  Winter Family STEAM Night February 24, 2018 – Super SciTech Saturday: Healthy Me! March 2, 2018 – First Fridays March 30, 2018 – Egg Drop March 31, 2018 – Super SciTech Saturday: Women in STEM April 6, 2018 – First Fridays April 14, 2018 – Comedy Night Fundraiser April 28, 2018 – Super SciTech Saturday: Party for the Planet May 4, 2018 – First Fridays May 26, 2018 – Super SciTech Saturday: Racing Rivers June 1, 2018 – First Fridays June 16, 2018 – TBA June 29, 2018 – Super SciTech Saturday – Incredible Insects July 28, 2018 – Super SciTech Saturday: Amazing Animals with special guest: The Flying Fox Foundation August 3, 2018 – First Fridays August 9, 2018 – Summer Family STEAM Night August 31, 2018 – Super SciTech Saturday: Construction September 7, 2018 – First Fridays: Happy 30th SciTech September 29, 2018 – Super SciTech Saturday: Super Storms September 30, 2018 – 30th Anniversary Celebration October 5, 2018 – First Fridays October 27, 2018 – Super SciTech Saturday: Assistive Technology November 2, 2018 – First Fridays November 24, 2018 –  Super SciTech Saturday: Lighting the Future November 27, 2018 – Giving Tuesday SciTech Hands On Museum is the premier hands on interactive STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, mathematics) museum in the Aurora area. With its three levels of over 200 exhibits SciTech is able to welcome over 75,000 guests annually. The museum also offers various educational programing including; field trips, early childhood programs, outreach, summer camps, special events, scout programs, and much more. Happy birthday,...

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Broadway businesses get festive with holiday window art

Posted by on Dec 5, 2017 in Featured News | Comments Off on Broadway businesses get festive with holiday window art

Broadway businesses get festive with holiday window art

Clara Diaz wanted to bring a little extra something to Broadway for the holidays. The four-lane thoroughfare in downtown Aurora features dozens of shops including Diaz’ Balderas Beauty Salon.   “We want to do something special,” said Diaz about the decision to not only bring Santa to a few shops during the month of December, but to also hire artists to paint about 16 storefronts along Route 25 from Benton to New York streets.   Diaz is working with a growing group of Broadway business owners to make Broadway the business district that it once was and that they believe it can be again with a little help.   The business owners have met monthly with the assistance of Aurora Downtown, a non-profit group of business and property owners in downtown.   The businesses, including La Quinta de los Reyes, PME Cake Supplies, Delgado Jewelry, and about 20 others, discuss traffic, parking, lighting, events, holiday decorations, and more.   This year, Aurora Downtown board member and streetscape committee chair Gina Salamone ordered hundreds of string lights for the trees along Broadway, which the city installed prior to the Winter Lights event on Nov. 17.   Diaz said that funding from a few Aurora alderpersons is helping to decorate the storefronts, along with a matching gift from Aurora Downtown and Invest Aurora.   Artist Lita Lu is working with local artist Jose Art on the window paintings for the holiday season.   “We need to show that creative side of this city,” Lu said.   The Broadway businesses hope that the windows can continue to be decorated year round with an emphasis on seasonal holidays.   As for Santa, he’ll be visiting businesses on Broadway from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on the first three Saturdays in December. Children are invited to take a photo with Santa and participate in a fun activity. The event is free, but optional activities might be offered for a fee.   Santa will visit 24 N. Broadway on Dec. 2; PME Cake Decorating, 35 N. Broadway on Dec. 9; and SeguroMex Insurance, 31 S. Broadway on Dec....

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