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Tuesday, August 7, 2007

The August Blues

What is it about August that brings on the blues? Is it the arrival of the "Back To School" department in every retail store? Is it, at least in these parts, the oppressive heat and humidity that often arrive during August? Is it just a wistful longing for a little more summer, when autumn lingers right around the corner? Lots of people take a last-minute trip during August, eager to soak up some sun, or get in a few more hours of shopping, fishing, golfing, surfing: whatever floats one's boat, as they say. But what if you can't swing even a few days away? Are you stuck, wallowing in the August Blues?

Good news: there are lots of things to do right here in Des Plaines that can give you that "summertime and the livin' is easy" feeling, helping you fend off the August Blues for a few more hours, even a few more days. Here are just some of the events going on this month in Des Plaines and our suggestions for making a day in the neighborhood feel more like a mini-vacation.
  1. From Ireland to Greece, almost every European country has a cool, modern Sculpture Garden in one of its cities. Well, for the month of August, so does Des Plaines, as the "Sculpture Invasion" takes over the Oakton Community College campus. From the Web site:
    More than 40 members of Chicago Sculpture International will participate in this juried exhibition, whice features an “invasion” of 14 large-scale outdoor sculptures at the Oakton Sculpture Park on the Des Plaines campus. Thirty-three smaller sculptures and models will be on display inside the Koehnline Museum of Art. Organized in 2004, Chicago Sculpture International has more than 140 members working at all scales and in media ranging from stone and steel, to video and nylon.
    Want to know more? Visit Oakton's Koehnline Museum of Art Web site for details. The "Sculpture Invasion" is in town until August 30, 2007. Combine your visit with a meal at David's Bistro, Wolf Plaza, 623 N. Wolf Rd. Des Plaines, IL 60016 and stop by Pesche's for a beautiful bouquet and you'll feel like you've spent the day in the European countryside.

  2. Hey dere - how 'bout a Door County Fish Boil? When my family wasn't in the Wisconsin Dells, we could often be found summering in tranquil Door County (well, it used to be tranquil - now it often feels like one big traffic jam!). The Des Plaines History Center remembers those old-fashioned summer days with affection, too, so it is once again hosting its annual Door County Fish Boil, on Friday, August 24. Three seatings at bargain prices, and live entertainment is also included. For more information, click here for the Des Plaines History Center's Web site. If you can take the day off, why not walk and play on Chicago's Lake Michigan shores, then return to Des Plaines in time for the fish boil? You'll get that at-ease Door County feeling while only using 1/4 of the gas (and time) it would take to get you up North. While in the city, stroll through Chicago's Andersonville neighborhood for Swedish gifts and goodies that will make Sister Bay and Egg Harbor seem just around the next turn.
  3. This just in - Don't forget the Methodist Camp Grounds this weekend, August 11 & 12. There will be a country fair, along with a Civil War reenactment, crafters, food, entertainment and tours of the camp and an 1870's cottage. So come and step back into time and have some fun.
    Like a weekend in Virginia or Pennsylvania without any of the expense. Thank you, Anonymous poster, for sending us this tip. Keep 'em coming, Des Plaines. :)

  4. Finally, an event that actually takes place in early September, but get your reservations in now - the Library's Croquet Tournament! On Saturday, September 8, from 1-4 PM, join us for an old-fashioned, "Alice in Wonderland"-themed Croquet Tournament at the Rose Garden on Ashland Avenue, across from Central School. Three person teams will play for fun and prizes. Refreshments will be served and live music will fill the air - come out and give it a try or cheer on your favorite team. Teams must register and pick up their information packet in person at the library. Registration continues until August 31, 2007. This event is co-sponsored by the Des Plaines Park District, Graham Hills and the G. L. Hills Funeral Home as part of the library's continuing Centennial Celebration. Stop by the library for more information - we'd love to see you there! Think of it as a weekend trip to a more peaceful, civilized time-gone-by: time to stop and smell the roses.
Now, feel free to share your ideas for beating the August blues - have any favorite roadtrips or end-of-the-summer festivals? Post them in our Comments section below. Want some more suggestions for squeezing out summer's last few, delicious drops? Here are some books, available at the Des Plaines Public Library, for planning short roadtrips in the Chicago area. Click on the titles to see the catalog record and to place a hold on the items.

Chicago's 50 Best Places to Take Children
by Clare La Plante

Chicago Walking Guide
by Jeanne Oelerich

Illinois State Parks: A Complete Outdoor Recreation Guide For Campers, Boaters, Anglers, Skiers, Hikers and Outdoor Lovers
by Bill Bailey

Midwest Marvels: Roadside Attractions Across Iowa, Minnesota, the Dakotas and Wisconsinby Eric Dregni

The DPPL has many other books to help you plan roadtrips and travel far and wide - just stop by the Reference Desk for help.


  1. Don't forget the Methodist Camp Grounds this weekend, August 11 & 12. It's our country fair. There will be a Civil War reenactment, crafters, food, entertainment and tours of the camp and an 1870's cottage. So come and step back into time and have some fun to.

  2. Wow, what a great suggestion! Like a weekend at one of the great Civil War sites, combined with a country fair -- without airfare, hotel and big dent in your bank account. I'm going to take your post and add it to our "August Blues" blog, since your event is this coming weekend. Thanks so much for telling us about it.

  3. In addition to all the crafts and entertainment at the Campground this weekend, the Friends of the Des Plaines Library will be hosting a booksale at the country fair. We will be located in the dining hall along with the bake sale - what a perfect location! It's the best place in town to eat cookies and buy books in a breezy, screened-in area with lots of happy people. Come join the fun!

  4. Don's Dock will be handling the fish boil for the DPHS and has been offering it at their restaurant on Miner all summer. Call them for more info and support a longtime Des Plaines establishment (and buy some fish chips for me -- thanks!)

  5. Thanks, John, for reminding us about Don's Dock - call them at 847-827-1817 or visit their Web site at for more details.


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