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Rosemary Mackey
(630) 293-2200 x139

City of West Chicago

475 Main Street
West Chicago, Illinois 60185

West Chicago Blooming Fest Packs a Feast for the Senses

Saturday, May 19, 2012
Main Street in Historic Downtown West Chicago
9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.

    The West Chicago Garden Club plant sale is at the heart of Blooming Fest. This year, its tent will be back on Galena Street.  
    Festival-goers enjoy a selection of plant vendors, garden art, crafts and more at West Chicago's annual downtown garden festival, Blooming Fest.  
    Mandy Rakow, coordinator of Local Music Night, was a featured performer at last year's event. This year she has put together another dynamic schedule of performances between 12:00 – 5:00 p.m. at the Main Street stage. (Listed above)  
West Chicago, Illinois: May 14, 2012 Downtown West Chicago will be transformed into a "blooming" center for the arts, as well as for gardening, on Saturday, May 19, 2012 when local and international artists and area musicians join West Chicago Garden Club members, crafters of unique hand-made articles, West Chicago businesses, not-for-profit organizations, food vendors, master gardeners and more for Blooming Fest, an event that has grown into an eagerly anticipated rite of spring.

People Made Visible, in collaboration with the West Chicago City Museum and the West Chicago Cultural Arts Commission, will host two international visiting artists, Heidi Hove and Jens Axel Beck. They arrived from Denmark on Sunday, May 6, 2012 and will be in West Chicago through the end of May, participating in social art projects in the community and at Blooming Fest on Saturday, from 9:00 a.m. 5:00 p.m. Plus, there will be an additional opportunity for self-expression during artXposium at Blooming Fest. In the Gallery 200/STUDIO, located at 203 Turner Court, People Made Visible will host a TASK Party where the public is invited to participate in the creation of a collaborative piece of art. TASK Parties were started by a NYC artist, and involve people using a variety of materials throughout the day to contribute to a constantly changing sculptural piece. Access to Gallery 200/STUDIO is available from Turner Court and Main Street, or on foot down the staircase at 204 Main Street.

The arts component has grown as heartily as the colorful annuals and perennials that will be for sale, with a full day of entertainment planned for the Main Street Stage, starting at 9:00 a.m., with assorted groups from the community, including Jo Noonan's Community Choir, the Wheaton Academy Kantorei, a Zumba fitness demonstration from the West Chicago Park District, as well as its school of dance showcasing dances from its upcoming show ROADTRIP USA 2012. The styles included will feature the youngest ballet dancers from the Pre-ballet class, awesome tappers from Pre-Dance and Kinder-combo, the energetic Pom girls and funky hip hoppers.

At 12:00 p.m., performers from Gallery 200/Studio's Local Music Night take over with a strong schedule that runs through 5:00 p.m. Cassandra Vohs-Demann, West Park, TriTone Sax Trio, Ellus Bellus, The Wacky Keys and Into the Real headline the bill.

Details of the Local Music Night Performance Schedule

12:00 - 12:45 PM
Cassandra Vohs-Demann's musical style builds on the traditions of Melissa Etheridge, Sheryl Crow and Sarah McLachlan, but is uniquely her own. Cassandra's original songs focus on love, loss, self-reflection, healing and dreams and are inspired by personal experiences and a true desire to help others through music. Her high energy performances and inspiring vocals connect to the audience straight from heart. Cassandra is the owner of A Place to Shine Music, where for 19 years she has been teaching, performing, writing and producing music. Currently, Cassandra performs solo and with her band Cassandra and the Gravel Road Band touring all over the Midwest and has recently begun traveling regularly to Nashville to co-write, network and perform her original music at area writers nights.

12:45 - 1:30 PM
West Park - Though it's not their name, Colleen & Dustin should be called the "double barreled duo." You'll know when you hear the sweet vocal harmonies and original compositions on a bed of mellow acoustic guitar. A presentation that ranges from delicate to hand clapping & foot stomping tells you they came to write and sing!

1:30 - 2:15 PM
TriTone Sax Trio is comprised of three classically trained saxophonists that strive to deliver music of the highest caliber while pushing the boundaries of traditional labels. When given freedom to play anything they want, they will jump seamlessly from Bach and Mozart, to Coltrane and Davis, to Metallica, Johnny Cash, Lady Gaga, or any other style of music. Unlike most classical or jazz groups that gig actively, TriTone composes and arranges most of their music themselves. Also, each player may switch between different saxophones or even incorporate different instruments during the course of a set. This flexibility of sound and musicality allows for a new experience every time you hear them perform!

2:30 - 3:15 PM
Ellus Bellus
Simplifying your perspective, seeing the unnoticeable, having the humility of a child, and building a sustainable future. According to lead singer Eian O'Brien, that is what Ellus Bellus means. As good friends from high school, Eian O'Brien and Brennan Walls were always playing music together, finding common inspiration in their roots. It wasn't long until Eian and Brennan found that they could not only play music together, but create it together. They began writing, experimenting with different sounds, and finally, they stopped thinking and wrote from the heart.

3:15 - 4:00 PM
The Wacky Keys are a local trio (DeKalb, Sandwich and Warrenville) consisting of steel guitar ace Dave "DK" Kolars, joined by Diane Norman on guitar and Mike Warfel on bass. Together, the three offer a variety of traditional Hawaiian tunes and other exotic fare to take you on a musical journey to faraway places. Be prepared to relax and let your cares drift away. Aloha.

4:15 - 5:00 PM
Into the Real - Mixing the features of their diverse musical and cultural backgrounds, Into the Real lets their unique brand of sound come alive, defying musical conventions: folk, rock and Americana elements are tainted with jazz influences as intricate sonic patterns and unusual melodies develop over the songs. Juliana Cesano's deep melodic voice embodies all the warmth and fascination of her native Argentina while conveying the message of every song with unmistakable purity and sincerity. The lyrics are inspired by a deep love for nature, American literature, the writings of spiritual mystics, and poetry from various cultures.

At the heart of Blooming Fest: West Chicago Garden Club Plant Sale

The West Chicago Garden Club was the catalyst for Blooming Fest over ten years ago. Its annual plant sale was at the heart of the event and remains so today. Garden Club members have been preparing for weeks for their annual plant sale through the arduous process of digging and potting plant species from their own gardens. "We have regulars who wait all year for the Garden Club's annual sale," said City of West Chicago spokesperson Rosemary Mackey. "The prices and quality can't be beat, considering these are tried and true, with many varieties coming straight out of members' gardens," she said.

Likening the multiplication of some of her past purchases to the prolific growth of a single magic bean in a favorite children's tale, Mackey acknowledged the beauty of seeing her garden fill in to a point where she may soon be dividing and donating her plants back to the Club for future sales. "I love the concept of recycling our gardens through this plant sale. The money the Garden Club raises goes back into the programs they run all year long. These programs are open to non-members as well, and offer education, support and motivation to those interested in improving their landscapes. In that way, it's a self-sustaining process." For more information, visit the West Chicago Garden Club's website at

Other plant vendors, including Sonny Acres, WeGrow Dreams, Sam Crozier and the Community High School Horticultural Club will be on-hand as well, offering some spectacular varieties not easily found. "Last year, I ran into a woman who was ecstatic to find a type of flower from a Blooming Fest vendor that she had fallen in love with during a recent trip to England," said Mackey. "Her arms were full as she carried a tray-full, and her smile was ear to ear."

This year, festival-goers have an additional two hours to browse and buy due to popular demand for extended hours. "Blooming Fest will close at 5:00 p.m. this year, instead of 3:00 p.m.", said Mackey. "It's a great way to transition a day of shopping and festival fun which includes a downtown car exhibit compliments of the Chicago Corvette Club, into an evening dining experience at one of West Chicago's downtown or area restaurants, or visiting a business that you may have discovered for the first time for a full line of its products."

For a complete schedule of events visit under Current News, or to view a slideshow of 2011's Blooming Fest visit this page.





West Chicago is a diverse, family-oriented community with a rich cultural mix and a proud heritage. It is the first Illinois community established by the railroads and continues to be a convenient transportation hub served by three major rail lines, Illinois' third-busiest airport and three state highways. West Chicago offers award-winning schools, a growing industrial park and convenient access to parks, shopping and restaurants. For more information, call Rosemary Mackey, Marketing & Communications Coordinator, at (630) 293-2200 x 139.

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