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Makes dressing for the occasion Sew Convenient

McHenry County Clerk     


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      667 Ware Road, Room 107 Woodstock, IL 60098 Thurs. Feb. 8th & Feb. 9th Mon. - Fri., Feb 12th thru March 2nd 8:00 am to 4:00 pm


Â?     ÂŒ  ‘      ‰   March 19. Voters may choose to vote at the most convenient site for them since all ballot styles are     

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Mary E. McClellan, McHenry County Clerk

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‡ˆ‰-334-4242     Mary E. McClellan    

667 Ware Road, Suite 107 WOODSTOCK, ILLINOIS 60098 815 -334 - 4242


McHenry County Yearbook Online

Think Rain onyour WeddingDay is BadLuck? your engagement ring could be



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ROMANCE 8 THE CUPID OF CRYSTAL LAKE Unofficial matchmaker sparks string of successful relationships 12 DIGITAL DISASTERS Online dating over 40? It ain’t for the faint of heart 14 MARITAL MELANCHOLY Fluency in ‘love languages’ can help couples reconnect

BUSINESS & CIVIC 16 AN ‘INCREDIBLE LADY’ Superintendent Kathy Hinz helps lead school district, students to brighter future

WEDDING 18 BETWEEN THE SEAMS Local seamstress Kelly Szramek makes dressing for the occasion Sew Convenient 22 BRIDAL BEAUTY Timeless and contemporary wedding dress designs from Kathryn’s Bridal 25 LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION Venues that set the tone for a one-of-a-kind wedding



Five stately overnight escapes in the Midwest Photos provided by Vrooman Mansion in Bloomington


28 ENCHANTING. ELEGANT. EXTRAORDINARY. Restored to its former grandeur, Barrington’s White House serves as a picture perfect place to capture life’s most precious moments

DINING & ENTERTAINING 32 CHEESEBURGER BONANZA McHenry’s Twisted Burger flips the American fast-food staple on its buns

36 WINE OF THE TIMES From extravagant to economical, wine shops offer their picks for Valentine’s Day 38 PAINT THE TOWN RED Twelve Valentine’s Day date night ideas you’ll love

HOME & LIFESTYLE 40 BEDROOM REVAMP Budget-friendly ideas to create a dreamy boudoir

HEALTH & WELLNESS 42 PATH OF DISEASE RESISTANCE Finding your way to a healthy heart

TRAVEL 44 ROMANTIC MANSIONS Five stately overnight escapes in the Midwest

OUT & ABOUT 48 TAKE II Long-awaited McHenry movie theater reopens in downtown area 50 DAWNBREAKERS GET BEDAZZLED Rotary club to host 29th annual Western-themed shindig 51 BOOK NOOK Fall in love with these romantic reads 52 CASA’S LITTLE BLACK DRESS PARTY Good friends, good times and it’s for a good cause 54 CALENDAR See what’s happening in McHenry County this month!

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Editor's Note All you need is love. I’m not talking about romantic love or loving other people (or pets), even. Yes, it feels good to love and be loved. Of course! But what about the things we love? Life’s various aspects and instances; its intricate details and nuanced events. The fleeting moments that bring us joy, or – at the very least – allow a smile. If we stop to think about all of life’s necessary niceties that help to balance the chaos, frustration and injustice that we endure as human beings, it evokes an appreciation and sense of longing for the tiny, simple things we love. The smell of freshly brewed coffee in the morning; the first snowfall; getting lost in a book; listening to the rain; belting out the words to your favorite song; the sound of the ocean; a beautiful view; drinks with a close friend; meaningful conversation; to laugh; to make others laugh.

hate we cannot halt or keep from happening; we can only control how we react. But the things we love – we get to choose when and how often to experience them. It’s simply a matter of taking the time. In life, you can’t make it rain but you can choose to listen when it does. •••

In honor of Valentine’s Day, we are celebrating all matters of the heart – love and romance and weddings, too. From beautiful bridal fashions and one-of-kind reception venues to romantic Midwestern mansions and datenight hot spots, you won’t be able to help but “fall in love” with this month’s issue! Thanks for reading.

Kara Silva, Editor

The funny thing about the yin and yang of life’s simple pleasures and tiny cruelties, is that we have the power to tip the balance. What we

GENERAL MANAGER Jim Ringness 815-526-4614 DIRECTOR OF NICHE PUBLISHING Laura Shaw 630-427-6213 EDITOR Kara Silva 630-427-6209

on the


Kelly Szramek has had things figured out from a young age. The 26-year-old Sew Convenient boutique owner learned to sew from her grandmothers as a child, and quickly realized she had a knack for the craft. Find out how she took her passion for sewing and turned it into a flourishing bridal business in Johnsburg, on Page 18. Photo by RON MCKINNEY Salon Services by MARIO TRICOCI Stylist - OLIVIA Makeup - ANDI 6 | FEBRUARY 2018 | MCHENRY COUNTY MAGAZINE

Published by Shaw Media 7717 S. Route 31, Crystal Lake, IL 60014 Phone: 815-459-4040 Fax: 815-477-4960

DESIGNER Carol Manderfield 630-427-6253 CORRESPONDENTS Melissa Riske, Kelsey O’Connor, Shonda Dudlicek, Jonathan Bilyk, Allison Manley, Sherri Dauskurdas, Kevin Druley, Allison Horne, Sue Dobbe PHOTOGRAPHERS Ron McKinney, Nancy Merkling

McHenry County Magazine is available by subscription for $24 a year. If you would like each month’s edition mailed to your home, send payment information and address to McHenry County Magazine, 7717 S. Route 31, Crystal Lake, IL 60014 or via email at

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THE CUPID of Crystal Lake Unofficial matchmaker sparks string of successful relationships By KELSEY O’CONNOR Photos by NANCY MERKLING

Dody LeSueur is a small business owner by trade, and a matchmaker by talent. The Crystal Lake resident is known for her uncanny ability to set up her friends and family in successful relationships. Her current track record includes two happy marriages and one long-term relationship. “Dody [LeSueur] is a natural at matchmaking because she’s such a genuinely caring, loving person,” says Sue Dobbe, who was introduced to her husband by LeSueur in 2013. “She’s also a good judge of complementary characteristics in people.” LeSueur finds that the ability comes to her instinctively. “It’s not like I’m always looking to match people up,” she says. “It wasn’t a conscious effort; it all just came very naturally.” The first time she decided to stretch her



matchmaking muscles was when her neighbor, Tom Weiss, told her he was interested in meeting someone new. After a divorce, Weiss was ready to start dating again, but LeSueur couldn’t think of anyone for him at the moment. A few days later, she was at the Crystal Lake Lakeside Festival when she happened to run into Heather Steckel, an old friend. LeSueur and Steckel’s sons played soccer together when they were young, which is how they met. The two chatted briefly and Steckel mentioned to LeSueur that she’d gotten divorced. “As I’m walking away, it was like a light went off in my brain,” says LeSueur. “I thought, ‘Boy, I bet she and Tom would like each other.’” Right when LeSueur got home that night, she called Steckel to ask if she’d be interested in meeting somebody. Her friend was hesitant at first, but said she’d be open to going for coffee.

“It was really interesting to see the relationship develop. I just felt really happy that I brought some happiness to other people.” – Dody LeSueur of Crystal Lake

So, LeSueur gave Steckel’s phone number to Weiss, and the rest is history. Steckel has been married to Weiss for 13 years. “It was really interesting to see the relationship develop,” says LeSueur, who attended the couple’s wedding. “I just felt really happy that I brought some happiness to other people.”

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Her next match took a little more time to come together. LeSueur is very involved in the Rotary Club of Crystal Lake Dawnbreakers, where she met Sue Dobbe.

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“[Dobbe had] gotten divorced, and she was doing fine,” says LeSueur. “She was carrying on quite happily with her life.” LeSueur was crewing for a sailboat race in Waukegan when she met Tom Leahy, a widower. LeSueur instantly thought that Leahy should meet Dobbe. “I’m not quite sure what made me think they would be so good together,” LeSueur says. “It just popped into my head – the same way Heather [Steckel] and Tom [Weiss] did. They both have a lot of energy. But It was clear to me that he was still suffering the loss of his wife.” A few months later, Leahy expressed to LeSueur that he was finally ready to meet someone. LeSueur ran the idea by both of them before giving Dobbe’s number to Leahy, and the pair went on their first date in April 2013. By the end of the year, Leahy had proposed. The couple was married in Lake Geneva in August 2015. LeSueur was in attendance, and Leahy thanked her in his speech for bringing him and Dobbe together. And, on the couple’s first anniversary, they sent LeSueur flowers.

-Continued on page 10

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-Continued from page 9 “We continually let her know how special she is in our lives,” says Dobbe. “Tom and I are so grateful to Dody for taking a personal interest in both of us. We absolutely adore each other and life’s journey continues to be better and better together.” LeSueur’s most recent match was a little closer to home. She set up her son, Calvin. Linda Liddell, a fellow Rotary member and one of LeSueur’s best friends, suggested that Calvin should meet her daugher, Karissa. It seemed that the pair had similar interests, such as art, yoga and healthy living. So, LeSueur invited Karissa and her mother over for dinner so they could meet. After that, Calvin and Karissa began meeting up on their own and eventually started dating. Karissa even visited Calvin

in Paraguay during his time in the Peace Corps. Today, the two have been together for five years and live together in Portland. “They had so much in common, it was crazy,” says LeSueur. “We figured they’d get together for the summer then go off their separate ways. We really didn’t think they’d fall in love.” Last month, LeSueur retired from her job as a licensed environmental health practitioner after running her own business for 31 years. She’s still plenty busy with Rotary and other activities, but now she has a little more time on her hands to encourage new connections. “I have another couple in the back of my mind that I’m thinking of matching,” says LeSueur. “I think I might contact them and see what happens.”

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Online dating over 40? It ain’t for the faint of heart By SHERRI DAUSKURDAS

I married my high school sweetheart. We met in 1987. No, this isn’t another romantic Valentine’s Day story. I start out with this bit of information because some 25 years later, I found myself single again. Single, with zero experience dating in a modern world, or even as an adult. If you dated in your teen years, the process itself was easy and expected. You’d pass notes to your favorite guy through the vents of hallway lockers and hold hands on your way to fifth period algebra. You were surrounded by hundreds of other like-minded teens who lived in the same neighborhoods, shopped at the same mall and knew the same people.

through page after page of available men, and trying to decipher fact from fiction. It seemed like another job. And what of a date with this unknown online guy? Would he turn out to be the man he claimed? Or would I end up with a Christian Bale “American Psycho”-type, chopped into bits after Sunday brunch by an egomaniacal yuppie who happened to look good in a suit? (Bloody Mary, indeed.) So, I avoided it. I worked, and I went out with friends. I joined a gym. I hardly was a hermit. But, still, I didn’t meet anyone. After a while, I decided to dive headfirst into this new world of social profiling and give it a shot. I started with the market standard: Match. com. And at the beginning, it was kind of fun. I liked compiling a story about myself (I am a writer, after all) and it was OK, even expected, to include only the good stuff.

And once I got going, the search became addictive. Swipe right, swipe left – it was easy. But entering the world of online dating in my 40s Day by day, I got a little braver, sending notes to – which had become the vehicle of choice for those who sparked my curiosity, were unmarried, singles looking to connect – I knew nothing. decent looking, lived near me, had a job, didn’t smoke. It was empowering to be able to choose, The entire thought of online dating made me until I realized it didn’t really matter what I said, uncomfortable: devising a profile, swiping 12 | FEBRUARY 2018 | MCHENRY COUNTY MAGAZINE


or whom I chose. Other opportunities were headed my way, regardless. One man sent me a message offering to pay for my gas if I came to meet him. He had a Jacuzzi he’d be willing to share if I’d take him up on his offer. The message – his first to me – went on for some 10 paragraphs. Another asked me if I’d yet found Jesus. Not that there’s anything wrong with finding Jesus, but this was the first question he asked – after “hello.” At least he knew what he wanted. Others knew what they wanted, as well. I received at least six different photos of men below the waist, sent to me as primary introductions. Men don’t mince words, I guess. Some don’t even use words. Although, one gentleman used the words “nylon stockings” at least five times. I was approached online by married men, single women and married couples, too. Despite my best efforts to identify my intentions, no one cared. We were all just trying to make some kind of connection in the vast and cold social mediabased world. But even with challenges, I became intrigued by the clever conversations, when the banter

Apartment Style Living was good. A few gentlemen I even met. But nothing of significance came to pass. A couple of friends suggested that other websites were more suited for me, my age and my locale. So, I tried a few of them, as well. On Plenty of Fish, I liked the screening system better, and my matches came back closer to home. But it’s a freebie site; the response rate was dismal, and a lot of the profiles were the same people as I saw on At OK Cupid, survey questions were bold, intrusive and sexualized. Still I answered them all, wondering if more information might result in a better match. It did not. Instead, I found my investigative instincts triggered, as photos showed up on several profiles throughout the site with different names and backgrounds. My father was a country boy, and I fish, camp and can handle a chainsaw, so I even tried the most categorically-specific of all of the dating sites: Farmers Only. But, while the site is all it claims to be, it was not for me. Many of the men had photos of their dogs, their boats or their combines as primary profile shots. (I’m not looking to have dinner with your Evinrude 150, Stan, and I don’t need to see a photo of you kissing it.) After a couple of years, I opted out of the experience. It taught me a bit about what I could expect from people, and from myself, and how to handle awkward situations, both in person and online, but mostly it made me skeptical. And I already was skeptical. I still believe in romance, just not the kind you find online. Instead, I will continue to use social media as the internet gods intended: sharing recipes and complaining about Kanye West.  Sherri Dauskurdas is editor of Neighborhood Tourist, and she heads up content development for Shaw Media’s Niche products.

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Marital melancholy Fluency in ‘love languages’ can help couples reconnect By KELSEY O’CONNOR


ven the strongest long-term relationships and marriages can have rocky times. A lack of communication, excitement and romance can erode partnerships that have lasted years, or even decades. And ignoring these problems can have serious consequences for any relationship.

“The number one issue is disconnection,” says Melanie Johnson, a licensed marriage and family therapist in Crystal Lake. “Over time, couples stop working on their marriage, and they start to feel distant. They’ve lost their way and are having a difficult time communicating.”

is that they should be ‘in love’ like they were in the beginning,” says Sharon Bremer, a licensed clinical social worker at the Center for Theapeutic Services and Psychodiagnostics in McHenry. “There’s this idea that we will fall in love and it will last forever.” The reality is that the “romantic love” phase of a relationship typically only lasts for six months to two years. While that initial head-over-heels feeling isn’t meant to span decades, there are still ways to bring back a similar spark and excitement into your longterm relationship. mainly impacts couples over the age of 50.

But there’s hope. Even couples in tumultuous situations can get through it if they’re willing These issues are often common for older couples to put in the work. If you want to rekindle your who have been together for 10 years or more. In romance, the first step is understanding the different stages of a relationship. fact, the group with the highest rate of divorce is couples who have been married for 20 years “For couples that have been together a long or more. The trend, often called gray divorce, time, one of the most common misconceptions 14 | FEBRUARY 2018 | MCHENRY COUNTY MAGAZINE


Johnson, who owns New Hope Counseling Center in Crystal Lake, suggests starting small. “It really isn’t about these big grand gestures of romance,” she says. “That stuff is nice occasionally. But I tell couples to focus on small things often.” When performing these small acts, it’s important to understand your partners “love language,”

or what they find most meaningful when it comes to expressing love. These languages – first outlined by author Gary Chapman in “The Five Love Languages” series – include words of affirmation, acts of service, receiving gifts, quality time and physical touch.

If you don’t know your partner’s “love language,” you can take a quiz together on Plus, getting to know more about your partner, even after you’ve been together for a long time, can be another effective way to strengthen your bond.

“If you don’t speak your partners ‘love language,’ then your partner’s love tank becomes empty and vice versa,” says Bremer. “The relationship can feel empty and unloving, which can be really frustrating since each partner may believe they are showing their love for the other. However, it may be like speaking a foreign language that your partner isn’t fluent in.”

“When we first start dating, we want to know everything there is to know about our partner,” says Johnson. “But after we get married we stop doing that. Keep asking questions and continuing to get to know your spouse. It helps you feel a connection and that your partner knows you and understands you.”

“If you don’t speak your partners ‘love language,’ then your partner’s love tank becomes empty and vice versa. The relationship can feel empty and unloving, which can be really frustrating since each partner may believe they are showing their love for the other.” – SHARON BREMER, social worker at the Center for Theapeutic Services and Psychodiagnostics in McHenry

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AN ‘INCREDIBLE LADY’ Superintendent Kathy Hinz helps lead school district, students to brighter future By MELISSA RUBALCABA RISKE | Photo by FROM ME 2 YOU PHOTOGRAPHY


ducation should always be evolving; that’s what the superintendent for Crystal Lake Elementary District 47 Kathy Hinz says. As the leader for the district’s nine elementary schools, three middle schools and an early childhood center, Hinz continually asks herself and her staff questions, like how can the district prepare for the future? What is the current direction of the district? And how can the district meet the needs of students while creating a map of how to attain the district’s goals? Asking these questions was essential during the fall semester, as she led a team of stakeholders through the strategic planning process. “Strategic planning gives us a great opportunity to talk about what we are doing well, what we need to focus on and what comes next,” Hinz says. “How do we help these truly phenomenal kids transition successfully to District 155 and have a great future?” In many ways, strategic planning has been a part of Hinz’ entire life, as she continually examined her own education and career. “Within my family, we constantly asked ourselves, ‘What’s next? What are you working on for yourself?’” she says. Hinz’s father, John Bevan, is a former teacher, principal and superintendent. Growing up, Hinz had a view of education most children don’t get to see. Her father worked in the classroom and – later – as an administrator, while – at times – also continuing his own education in order to reach his career goals. When it was Hinz’ turn to launch a career, Bevan was there to prod her along, asking questions and encouraging her to

consider where her studies would take her and what she’d like to accomplish. Hinz started her career as a school psychologist for the Special Education District of McHenry County. While continuing to further her education, she sought opportunities as an administrator, director and assistant superintendent. In 2013, she accepted the role of superintendent, and today she oversees 7,500 students and 1,100 staff members. While there are many women educators, the role of superintendent is a male-dominated field. Yet, while Hinz says she may be the only female at the table when she gathers with other local Region IV superintendents, she has always been well-received and respected by her peers. She knows first-hand the challenges involved in balancing work and family, and credits her husband, Mike, and daughter, Natalie, for their support and understanding. Hinz hopes that she has served as a good role model for her daughter, in the same way that her own mother, Sherry Bevan, did through her work in the community and role in the family. In addition to her work, Hinz serves as a board member for the Raue Center for the Arts in Crystal Lake and the Sage YMCA. Robyn Ostrem, executive director for the Sage YMCA in Crystal Lake, is essential in helping make connections between the organization, community and schools. She says that Hinz prefers working behind the scenes, making a difference without seeking the accolades. “I think she likes to do things because it makes her heart feel good,” Ostrem says. “She’s really an incredible lady.”

While Hinz and her district administrative team continue the strategic planning and implementation process, she is about to embark on a new chapter on the home front. Her daughter will soon graduate high school and plans to head off to college in the fall. And, after years of balancing work, her education, her daughter’s education and a love of riding horses competitively, Hinz will soon find her after-work calendar with a few openings. And, it will, once again, be a time to ask herself, “What’s next?”

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ew Convenient boutique owner Kelly Szramek has had things figured out from a young age.

Taught to sew by her grandmothers when she was a child, Szramek quickly realized she had a knack for the craft. As she got older, the now 26-year-old seamstress was constantly sketching designs and trying to bring her creations to life. “I’ve always told my mom I’m going to be a fashion designer since I was quite young,” says Szramek, who opened her alterations shop in Johnsburg in June. “Ever since I was a kid, I would draw little dress designs – that was always my goal, to be a fashion designer.”

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“Being a seamstress, I look at how things are made. I want things with beautiful fabrics or a slightly unique style. I like to pick out fun, different options you won’t always see at a department store.” – KELLY SZRAMEK, owner of Sew Convenient in Johnsburg

In high school, Szramek started actively pursuing fashion as a career by honing her skills in sewing classes at McHenry High School, and she even began making and selling dresses. She went on to study business entrepreneurship and retail merchandising at Bradley University, where she took more advanced classes and made her first bridal gown. When she graduated in 2013, Szramek began running her own alterations business

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-Continued on page 20



-Continued from page 19

this area,” says Szramek. “I knew there was a lack of seamstresses in Johnsburg. The second I opened, I had people who would stop in and say, ‘I’m so happy to have a seamstress back in this town!’’’

out of her parents’ basement in McHenry. She had a steady stream of clients that came to her with everyday clothing and some special occasion pieces, but Szramek had bigger plans for her business.

Szramek’s vision for the boutique is a place that brides, bridesmaids and wedding guests can find dresses for wedding-related events. That includes an array of white dresses for brides to wear for their bridal showers, rehearsal dinners and bachelorette parties.

“When I first started, I didn’t do too much bridal but I knew that was the goal,” she says. “It’s my favorite thing in the world. I was doing prom dresses and bridesmaids leading up to doing bridal. I grew into it.”

“Being a seamstress, I look at how things are made,” says Szramek. “I want things with beautiful fabrics or a slightly unique style. I like to pick out fun, different options you won’t always see at a department store.”

She officially achieved that goal last year, when she opened Sew Convenient, a bridal alterations shop that also offers custom dresses and veils, and has a retail side to the business, as well.

A lack of white dresses was something Szramek noticed during her own engagement.

“I saw this niche that wasn’t being fulfilled in 20 | FEBRUARY 2018 | MCHENRY COUNTY MAGAZINE

“I knew exactly what I wanted when it came to my own wedding dress,” she says. “I always wanted a ball gown, something heavily beaded WEDDING

with a drop waist. I did all of my alterations myself, and I made my own veil.” Szramek and her husband have known eachother since childhood. The pair reconnected as teenagers and married in June 2016. Szramek says that one of the best parts of her job is building relationships with clients and being a part of customers’ milestones and rites of passage. “It just snowballs,” she says. “They come to me for prom; then, the next thing you know, they’re standing up in a wedding; then, the next thing you know, it’s their wedding. Even in five years, I’ve gotten to see multiple girls at different times in their lives – it’s really cool.”


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LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION Venues that set the tone for a one-of-a-kind wedding By KEVIN DRULEY


edding reservation and preparation transpires at nearly every turn throughout the year. There’s a peak season, but hardly a hiatus when it comes to getting hitched. Couples undoubtedly bring different preferences and wish lists to the process, but the wedding venue often sets the tone for the rest of the event. From a historic theater to an apple orchard, here are a few unique locations to consider for a McHenry County wedding:


Avante Banquets and Conference Center satisfied part of a time-honored wedding ritual when it opened at 1050 Northwest Highway in Fox River Grove late last year. Given the beauty of the facility and its accompaniments, brides need only assemble something old, borrowed and blue. “The advantage for us is that we’re a newer facility; we’re updated with all the modern amenities,” says general manager Tommy Mourafetis. “Everything in our building is brand new, from the forks and knives all the WEDDING

way to the furniture. I mean, everything. Every screw and every nail in the place is brand new.” With such freshness comes the availability of numerous dates during peak wedding season, Mourafetis says. The 16,000-square-foot banquet hall, owned by developer George Kalkounos of the Chicago Prime Steakhouse

-Continued on page 26 MCHENRY COUNTY MAGAZINE | FEBRUARY 2018 | 25


-Continued from page 25 in Schaumburg, can accommodate around 500 guests between its two ballrooms. The 11-acre property includes a lake, which also can serve as a backdrop for a ceremony or an outdoor reception. The veteran chef can “customize a menu for anybody,” Mourafetis says.

All Seasons Orchard, located at 14510 Illinois Route 176 in Woodstock, operates daily in September and October. Before then, however, it’s open for wedding season. “Because we’re closed to the public, essentially, it’s almost like a private rental of the entire venue,” says All Seasons Orchard director of marketing Esther Hong. More than 15,000 apple trees adorn the grounds, which also feature a pumpkin patch and corn maze. A cluster of large oak trees highlights an outdoor ceremony area, which is flanked by a paved patio.

Wedding packages include a fourcourse meal, five hours of bar service with top shelf liquor, a champagne toast, table centerpieces, an elevated head table, free valet service, warm towel service and a private bridal suite equipped with a makeup table and private restroom.

The rustic feel continues into the reception barn, which is designed to accommodate various kinds of indoor parties.

A custom wedding cake and complimentary cake cutting and wrapping also are included.

Woodstock Opera House occupies a stately perch over its historic Town Square, and its location at 121 Van Buren St. is well-known to those living inside and outside McHenry County.

However, parties may accrue additional charges for cakes with upgraded decorations, flavors or icings. “We’ve been really blessed,” Mourafetis says. “We’ve got a really good team all the way around and a lot of expertise in the room.”  For more information on booking and wedding menu options, visit or call 847-287-1006.

Again, the outdoor and indoor areas are for the couple to cater to their specifications.

“We provide basically a blank canvas,” Hong says. “And then a couple comes in and transforms the venue to match whatever their vision is for that event. … We’ve seen all sorts of really creative ideas and it’s really amazing to see just how creative people are.” Although Hong says that All Seasons can accommodate winter weddings, she recommends booking a date in months with better weather in order to accentuate the benefits of the outdoor setting. “It’s a specific type of bride that is looking for a venue like ours versus someone that’s interested in having a hotel banquet wedding,” Hong says. “So, it’s definitely like a niche type of audience.”  For more information, visit www. or call 815- 338-5637.


To be sure, history abounds in a structure that dates to the 19th century. But this venue offers something more. It boasts love in its pedigree. The Opera House doubled as The Pennsylvanian Hotel during the filming of the 1993 romantic comedy “Groundhog Day,” starring Bill Murray and Andie MacDowell. Restored in the mid-1970s, the opera house offers an elegant, ornate setting in the comfy center of a small town. The Stage Left Café reception area offers a romantic backdrop in a historic theater. An art gallery also is on site. Rental of Stage Left Café includes a cash bar, tables, chairs, lighting and basic cleanup. Items such as coffee and tea service, chafing dishes and table linens are available for rent.  For more information, visit or call 815-338-5300.



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Elegant Enchanting


Restored to its former grandeur, Barrington’s White House serves as a picture perfect place to capture life’s most precious moments By KELSEY O’CONNOR Barrington’s White House has hosted countless weddings, each one different from the last. The historic mansion blends vintage charm and modern amenities, with a subtle sophistication that is easily customizable to a couple’s unique style. Featured brides chose Barrington’s White House as their wedding venue, and it ended up being a decision that made their big days unforgettable.

 A VINTAGE VENUE UNLIKE ANY OTHER The White House appeals to couples searching for a standout location that’s more than a generic event space.

Becca Brown Wedding Photo by Brittania Drew 28 | FEBRUARY 2018 | MCHENRY COUNTY MAGAZINE

“We wanted something different than your average banquet hall,” says Becca Brown, who held her wedding reception at Barrington’s


White House in October last year. “There was no comparison to any other venue that we saw. The details set it apart; it felt very classic and elegant.” It’s the small details that make a huge difference when creating a romantic sensibility. The house’s space is full of elegant touches, such as crown molding, restored woodwork and sparkling chandeliers that bring vintage character to every corner of the house. The house is a photographer’s dream. Each room makes a stunning background for portraits, and the built-in ambiance means that brides have the option to save both time and money by scaling back on decorations and letting the features of the house shine. “Brides don’t have to bring in a lot in terms of adornment to create

an intimate feel,” says Jennifer Salvatore, Hospitality Manager at Barrington’s White House. “The existing décor is very subtle and sophisticated, so it doesn’t compete with the bride’s aesthetic.”

Kristin Kochajkiewicz Wedding Photos by Edward Fox Photography

Kristin Kochajkiewicz, who had her wedding at the White House last October, added personal details to complement the existing character of the house. She opted for simple touches of greenery throughout the space. “We like the way the White House looked and that not a lot of decoration was needed,” she says. “All the greenery just accented what’s already there. Our guests loved the way it looked and the way we were able to decorate and make it ours.”

 ENDLESS OPTIONS Whether couples are looking for an intimate gathering or a blow-out bash, the venue can accommodate a variety of event styles and layouts.. The third floor ballroom can comfortably fit up to 130 people for a seated dinner. Couples can choose a setup that works best for them, with plenty of space for a dance floor, band or deejay. The room features dramatic 16-foot arched ceilings, glittering chandeliers and gold Chiavari chairs. The generous sized Bridal Suite offers brides a

private place to get ready for their special day.

both their ceremony and reception.

The first floor has been preserved in the same layout as the original house, with various formal rooms trimmed with gorgeous oak woodwork for guests to roam and enjoy. The cozy fireplace room can fit up to 20 people for a small ceremony.

Kochajkiewicz opted for the latter, with a cocktail hour on the first floor and porch between the ceremony and reception. “I wanted everything in one space,” she says “I didn’t want anybody to have to go from one place to another. It was nice that we got the entire house to ourselves and the guests able to enjoy different spaces.”

Couples can host their entire wedding day at the venue, or just one aspect. Many couples hold their reception at the White House after having the ceremony elsewhere. Others use it to host WEDDING

The venue also is popular for wedding-related events. -Continued on page 30 MCHENRY COUNTY MAGAZINE | FEBRUARY 2018 | 29

Alyssa Kalboth (Sobotka) Bridesmaids in Bridal Suite Photo by Carrie Leah Photography

-Continued from page 29 “We can host rehearsal dinners, bridal showers and even engagement photos because the house is so lovely,” says Salvatore. One thing that’s becoming more popular at the White House is a welcome reception the night before the wedding. Couples will host a rehearsal dinner for family, then open it up later in the night for more guests from out of town to join. “Brides are going beyond traditions to make their day truly their own, says Salvatore. “I see couples do a lot of unique things.”

 A RICH HISTORY The house was originally built for a prominent local couple in 1898. The stately residence, located in the heart of Barrington, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places for its architectural significance. Renovations were completed in fall of 2015, maintaining the historical accuracy of the home and returning it to its former grandeur. The expert restoration, done with meticulous attention to detail, has won several awards for its transformation. These restorations not only preserved the rich history of the home, but created an authentic, vintage atmosphere that can’t be replicated elsewhere. “We wanted somewhere with character,” says Kochajkiewicz of her wedding venue. “When we 30 | FEBRUARY 2018 | MCHENRY COUNTY MAGAZINE

Foshager Wedding Photos by Chris Photography

Alexus and Julius Edmond Photo by Jennifer Jinkens Photography

were looking at the White House, I loved the idea one to two house managers who help oversee of getting married at an old house with lots of the details. They greet the couple, communicate history.” with and direct vendors, and generally ensure everything is running smoothly.


The Barrington White House has a group of experienced staff who are trained and ready to help couples every step of the way. From the first meeting to the big day, they offer personalized support and guidance to create a stress-free experience.

“We had such a good experience,” says Kochajkiewicz. “I didn’t have a wedding planner, I did everything myself. Everyone was extremely helpful, and they were able to guide me in the direction I needed, and it turned out perfect.”

“The staff was great,” says Brown. “They really went above and beyond. Anything we asked, they tried to accommodate.” Before the event, Salvatore will take brides on tours of the venue, discuss and plan layouts, schedule a convenient drop-off time for décor and flowers, go over contracts and more. “There’s a single point of contact to answer your questions,” says Kochajkiewicz. “And they were really quick to reach out if they had a question. It was nice to not have to worry about anything.” On the day of the event, couples are assigned WEDDING

BARRINGTON’S WHITE HOUSE 145 W. Main St., Barrington 224-512-4115

bonanza McHenry’s Twisted Burger flips the American fast-food staple on its buns By SHONDA DUDLICEK Photos by NANCY MERKLING


which consists of two grilled cheese sandwiches stuffed with a burger patty, bacon, lettuce, tomato and cheese sauce; the There are so many burgers listed Sunday Skillet, a half-pound burger topped with potatoes on the McHenry restaurant’s O’Brien, chorizo, a fried egg, menu that categories are Cholula sauce, avocado, divided into two groups: “The chipotle Mayo, lettuce and Classics,” featuring items like tomato; and the restaurant’s double cheeseburgers; and namesake sandwich – the “The Not So Classic,” featuring Twisted Burger – which consists around 30 kinds of intriguing burgers, like the Psycho, which of 2 half-pound burger patties topped with fresh jalapeños, is topped with mango papaya bacon zombie barbecue sauce, salsa, fried banana, voodoo pepper jack cheese, a fried egg, barbecue sauce, lettuce, onion and avocado; the Heart Attack, lettuce and tomato. With a restaurant name like Twisted Burger, you might expect to find some unique combinations.


“People always relate to the Heart Attack Cheeseburger,” Sandra Ruiz says of the burger that is wedged between two grilled cheese sandwiches. Ruiz is the daughter of restaurant owner Alfonso Ruiz. Alfonso Ruiz’s cousin, Jose Saucedo, is the founder of the Twisted Burger chain and Grayslake location. The unusual half-pound burgers started off and were inspired by Saucedo. Both Saucedo and Ruiz worked in restaurants for years before owning their own eateries. Saucedo opened

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-Continued from page 33 “He said, ‘Let’s put both our heads into this,’” she recalls. A nod to DC Comics, the burger chain also incorporates a burger called the Superman – a double cheeseburger topped with grilled onions, bacon and American cheese – as well as one of its specials, which is featured on the restaurant’s Facebook page, called the Wonder Woman – an 8-ounce hand-packed patty topped with cream cheese, mushrooms, grilled onions, jalapeños, pineapple, zombie barbecue sauce, lettuce and tomato. Twisted Burger will rotate in other superhero-themed burgers occasionally, Ruiz says, like Captain America, Wolverine or Thor (has three burger patties). “Everything comes in big proportions. Shakes are all made from real ice cream and hand-spun the old-fashioned way,” says Sandra Ruiz.

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For those looking for something lighter, the restaurant also serves an assortment of salads and wraps. Other menu items include Italian beef, chicken sandwiches, hot dogs, wings and fun French fries, like garlic Parmesan and buffalo. There are six kinds of hot dogs, including the Pitbull – with shredded cheese, grilled onion and habanero sauce – and the

Scooby Doo – wrapped in bacon, fried and topped with chili and shredded cheese. Because Ruiz works the register, she also oversees the suggestion box, which is for customer requests. “Sometimes they have been really kooky ideas,” says Sandra Ruiz. “But we always [keep] customers’ ideas on our mind. We run some of them as customer specials, and, if you picked it and you come in, you get a free burger. It’s a way to give thanks to all our customers.” Sandra Ruiz came up with the idea to solicit customers’ suggestions. “Customers are the ones who provide everything; they’re the ones we have to please,” she says. “So, we want to know what they would like.” Sandra Ruiz also works as a hair stylist, so she’s used to asking customers what they want. “We’re always thinking of changing the menu to see what works and what doesn’t,” Ruiz says. “We play around with our burgers. Garlic bread, French toast, pancakes, anything that can really be made.”


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Sauté onion, leek and fennel in oil for 5 minutes, until soft. Stir in the flour. Add the vegetable stock and potatoes. Season with salt and pepper and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and cover for about 20 minutes, until the potatoes are tender. Add the salmon and simmer for 3-5 minutes, until cooked through. Stir in the milk, cream and dill. Cook until warmed through, do not boil. Come on in for a dairy and gluten free option!

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From extravagant to economical, wine shops offer their picks for this Valentine’s Day By JONATHAN BILYK

During Valentine’s Day, the attention of most turns to romance – and, in particular, how to give the one you love more than just a nice time. Few things go better with a Valentine’s celebration than a bottle of wine. But how do you choose the best vintage to make the evening special? While for some, expense may be no object, but, for many, the constraints of a budget are real. So, wine experts, like Tom Jiaras – owner of International House of Wine and Cheese in Richmond, a family-owned business for four decades – and Brad Nehl – wine consultant at Binny’s Beverage Depot in Algonquin – stand ready to help would-be Cupids find just the right bottle to add magic to any Valentine’s dinner, dessert or nightcap. And, on Valentine’s Day, Jiaras and Nehl say, for many, that list can begin with something bubbly, like champagne, or pink, like a rosè. “Rosè is really hot right now, and especially around Valentine’s Day, because it’s pink,” says Jiaras. “It kind of just fits the day.” And for those looking to celebrate, a sparkling wine or champagne certainly fits the bill, Nehl and Jiaras agree.

Nehl. “Champagne and sparkling wine add to the celebration.” Though sparkling is a great option for a date or celebration, a wine with less fizz and a more fullbodied flavor may be what couples prefer. No matter the varietal, you need not break the bank to acquire a quality pour. Though, a bit of a splurge can make the evening feel a little bit more special. “The ultimate goal for choosing any wine, really, is to find the right combination to be consumed with food, where one enhances the experience of consuming the other,” says Jiaras. Wine buyers should be careful not to “get lost in the labels” or to worry too much about the potential tastes of others – even their Valentine, Nehl says. “If you don’t know for sure what the other person prefers, I always recommend sticking with what you like – what you know is good,” Nehl says. “Don’t try to impress.” To aid in the search for that perfect Valentine’s Day vino, Jiaras and Nehl offer a few recommendations at different price points, ranging from budget-friendly to extravagant:

 AFFORDABLE FINDS: $10-$15 SILK CHOCOLATE – $10 (Binny’s Algonquin): “A really popular dessert wine,” Nehl says. DONA PAULA ROSÈ OF MALBEC, 2017 VINTAGE – $10 (International House of Wine) RUFFINO PROSECCO – $12 (International House of Wine): Jiaras recommends this for those with lunch dates or those who prefer wine with a bit less alcohol content. “It’s more pleasant, just a great afternoon wine,” he says. CHANDON ROSÈ – $15 (on sale at Binny’s)

 WON’T BREAK THE BANK: $15-$20 MEIOMI PINOT NOIR – $17 (Binny’s), $20 (International House of Wine): A popular wine recommended by both Jiaras and Nehl. GASSIER ESPRIT ROSÈ, 2016 VINTAGE – $17 (International House of Wine) ROEDERER ESTATE BRUT ROSÈ – $20 (Binny’s): “A great wine for the budget-minded consumer,” says Nehl. CONUNDRUM, 2015 VINTAGE – $20 (International House of Wine): “A very pleasant white wine blend,” Jiaras says.

“It’s a romantic holiday, a celebratory day,” says 36 | FEBRUARY 2018 | MCHENRY COUNTY MAGAZINE



 CELEBRATORY SELECTION: $20-$30 SEXUAL CHOCOLATE – $24 (Binny’s): “It’s a nice, dry red blend, with a fun label,â€? says Nehl. “And the name fits Valentine’s Day, right?â€? ARGYLE BRUT ROSĂˆ, 2014 VINTAGE – $25 (International House of Wine) THE PARING, RED BLEND – $25 (International House of Wine): “Very versatile,â€? Nehl says.

 SOPHISTICATED PALATE: $30-$50 CHATEAU HAUT-BATAILLEY PAULLIAC BORDEAUX – $33 (Binny’s) TAITTINGER BRUT LA FRANCAISE – $39.97 (Binny’s): “People see it as a good buy, particularly since it comes with two champagne flutes,â€? Nehl says. THE PRISONER, RED BLEND, 2016 VINTAGE – $40 (International House of Wine) DOMAINE LEFLAIVE CHARDONNAY – $40 (Binny’s)





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VEUVE CLICQUOT BRUT YELLOW LABEL – $42 (at both shops): Recommended by both Jiaras and Nehl. BELLE GLOS, CLARK & TELEPHONE PINOT NOIR, 2016 VINTAGE – $50 (International House of Wine): “This one is covered with red wax halfway down the bottle, which can make it fun for Valentine’s Day,� Jiaras says. GOLDENEYE ANDERSON VALLEY PINOT NOIR – $50 (Binny’s)

 EXTRAVAGANT EXPERIENCE: $50+ JORDAN CABERNET – $55 (Binny’s) LAURENT-PERRIER CUVEE ROSĂˆ CHAMPAGNE – $70 (International House of Wine) PAUL HOBBS, 2014 VINTAGE – $100 (International House of Wine): “Buy this one if you really want to do something special for somebody,â€? says Jiaras.




Valentine’s Day date night ideas you’ll love By ALLISON HORNE

No relationship is the same, and a Valentine’s Day date shouldn’t be either. From adventurous outdoor duos to crafty couples, make this Valentine’s Day celebration one to remember with these date night ideas.

❤ ‘Love Letters’

The lost art of letter writing didn’t get lost on Andrew Makepeace Ladd III and Melissa Gardner. Audiences can watch the duo’s tragi-comic unfold at the Raue Center for the Arts’ production of “Love Letters.” Experience the losses, shared nostalgia, missed opportunities, failed marriages and extravagant adventures of two friends. WHERE: Raue Center for the Arts, 26 N. Williams St., Crystal Lake WHEN: 8 p.m. Friday, Feb. 9, Saturday, Feb. 10, and Feb. 17; 3 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 11, and Feb. 18; and 7 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 14, and Friday, Feb. 16 COST: $20-$25 INFO:; 815-356-9212

❤ Valentine’s Day Comedy Show

Some people want romance and some people want laughs. Get a combo of both at the Raue Center’s Valentine’s Day Comedy Show, which will feature the best of the best from comedians Rachel Bradley and Kevin Bozeman. Bradley has appeared on Comedy Central and in the comedy issue of “Vanity Fair,” while Bozeman was a semi-finalist on NBC’s “Last Comic Standing” in 2010 and 2013. WHERE: Raue Center for the Arts, 26 N. Williams St., Crystal Lake WHEN: 8 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 17 COST: $20-$25 INFO:; 815-356-9212

❤ Paint and Sip

No need to paint the same image on a canvas with your sweetie, because these special Valentine’s Day classes at Fabric, Fiber and Finds allow couples to whip up paintings that can be hung as a pair. Choose from “Wine Time” (a wine bottle and glass), “Love Birds” (two birds on different canvases) or “Walking in the Rain” (a couple walking in the rain). All

classes are BYOB, but glasses are provided. WHERE: Fabric, Fiber and Finds, 39 N. Williams St., Lower Level, Crystal Lake WHEN: 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 9 COST: $75 per couple INFO: fabricfiberandfinds; 815-245-7228

❤ Candlelight Night Ski

For adventurous couples, the McHenry County Conservation District’s Candlelight Night Ski provides the perfect romantic escape. Each skier must bring his or her own gear, but all ages are welcome to enjoy the candle-lit trails. There also will be a campfire with refreshments following the ski. If there is not enough snow, couples can partake in a romantic hike instead.

the Colonel Palmer House during its special Sweetheart Tea event. The event is casual and tables can seat up to four people, so double dates and children over the age of 4 years old are welcome. Registration is available online. WHERE: Colonel Palmer House, 660 E. Terra Cotta Ave., Crystal Lake WHEN: 12:30 to 2 p.m. and 3 to 4:30 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 11 COST: $18 a person and $12 per child INFO:; 815-477-5873

❤ Valentine’s Salsa Night

Dance the night away with your loved one (or new date) at the Hispanic Connections’ Valentine’s Salsa Night. Brian Noon will teach a salsa dance lesson from 8:30 to 9:15 p.m., and Culture, Arts and Music will provide a deejay WHERE: Harrison Benwell for an evening of dancing. All Conservation Area, 7055 McCullom Lake Road, Wonder Lake funds raised will go toward a local Hispanic contestant for the Miss WHEN: 5 to 9 p.m. Friday, Feb. 9, Woodstock Pageant. and Saturday, Feb. 10 COST: Free INFO:; 815-338-6223

❤ Rosé and Chocolate Pairing

There’s nothing more droolinducing than chocolate and rosé, and Ethereal Confections is offering both during its special Valentine’s Day rosé and chocolate pairing. Space is limited to 25 attendees and each guest must be at least 21 years old to attend. Don’t leave without sampling the shop’s homemade teas, coffees and desserts. WHERE: Ethereal Confections, 113 S. Benton St., Woodstock WHEN: 7 p.m. Friday, Feb. 9 COST: $35 INFO:; 815-687-0320

❤ Sweetheart Tea

Sip tea in a one of the beautiful traditional Victorian parlors at


WHERE: Flores Banquets, 240 N. Throop St., Woodstock WHEN: 8 to 11 p.m. Friday, Feb. 9 COST: $5 INFO:

❤ Scorched Earth Brewmaker’s Dinner

Algonquin’s own Scorched Earth Brewing Company has teamed up with Lodi Tap House in Maple Park for a special Brewmaker’s Dinner. Sample five brews and dishes throughout the evening, including Barrel 31 and a spinach salad; Hickster with mini fried chicken; and Giant Killer with pork mojo tacos. An additional 12-ounce beer of choice for after dinner is included with the price. WHERE: Lodi Tap House, 309 Main St., Maple Park WHEN: 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 13 COST: $50 a person INFO:; 815-827-0827

❤ Couples Massage

Escape to a private retreat with your sweetheart for an exclusive couple’s massage at Hand and Stone Massage and Facial Spa in Algonquin. A private room allows couples to experience a side-byside massage. The room is available for Valentine’s Day massages, as well as anniversaries and birthdays. WHERE: Hand and Stone Massage and Facial Spa, 710 S. Randall Road, Algonquin COST: Contact for appointment INFO:; 847-230-9277

❤ Joe Diamond at Crystal Lake Brewing

Impress any date or loved one with Crystal Lake Brewing’s unique handcrafted brews and a special appearance by Joe Diamond. Diamond, a mind reader and world-record holder, can guess your first kiss, unlock your iPhone and even win at psychic poker. The event is free, but all guests are asked to purchase a beer. WHERE: 150 N. Main St., Crystal Lake WHEN: 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 7 COST: Free INFO:; 779-220-9288

❤ Snow tubing

Enjoy the thrill of flying down a hill on a snow tube with your date (or during a double date) at Raging Buffalo’s tubing hill. Groupons also are available for $32 per couple or $60 per group of four. Reservations are recommended for weekend days. WHERE: Raging Buffalo, 19-265 Western Ave., Algonquin COST: $25 Monday through Thursday; $30 weekends and holidays INFO:; 847-836-7243


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❤ Outdoor Ice Skating

Grab your date and your skates and head to one of Crystal Lake’s outdoor ice rinks for Valentine’s Day. No need to travel all the way to the city for the charm of skating outdoors, because these ice rinks have all of that and more. A minimum of five inches of ice is required to allow public skating. WHERE: Main Beach, 300 Lake Shore Dr., Crystal Lake; and West Beach 2330 Lake Ave., Crystal Lake COST: Free INFO:; 815-459-0680








hen asked about budgetfriendly strategies for revamping a bedroom, interior designer Angie Gardeck pinpoints an idea that one might not expect.

Budgetfriendly ideas to create a dreamy boudoir By KEVIN DRULEY

“If you had to summarize it in one goal, it’s breaking up the match,” she says. Gardeck, of Algonquin-based New Perspective Design, Inc., expounded on this idea, of course, by relating that it’s far more nuanced than channeling your inner child. And, really, it should be, considering the modern practice of using bedrooms as parttime sanctuaries. “People are setting up their rooms with a comfy chair and comfy furniture, making an actual corner living space where you can sit and read a book,” says Debbie Collins of Interiors With A View in Cary. “Stuff that you used to do in a different room, people are now really using their bedrooms for all sorts of extra hours.” Looking for a change in your bedroom while operating on a dime? Consider these thoughts from McHenry County interior design experts: MORE ON (NOT) MATCHING One idea Gardeck proposed involved removing the nightstand from a matching set of bedroom furniture and replacing it with an interesting piece that pairs well with the décor but doesn’t necessarily match it. Adding an upholstered headboard also can change the look of the room while commanding attention. “We’re having a lot of luck with upholstered headboards,” Gardeck says. “Not only do they add a softness layer, but they also are real comfortable if you want to read in bed or have a cup of coffee or something. You can kind of sit up and lean into them.” Some people emerge with inspiration for home headboard projects after consulting Pinterest. HOME & LIFESTYLE

“You can make a statement headboard piece rather inexpensively and probably do it yourself,” Collins says. ADDING LAYERS “Layering is huge right now,” Gardeck says, which might be bad news for formal, multipillow arrangements everywhere. Be creative with coverlets by making them decorative and welcoming, then roll a duvet or comforter at the foot of the bed. Placing a bench or hope chest below the foot of the bed is another option. “You’ve got multiple layers for functional use as well [as] for sleeping, but also it looks neat to have … that hotel, layered look,” Gardeck says. WALLY WORLD “One of the trends that I’m seeing, and one of the things I think really make an impact, especially in the bedroom, is that wallpaper has become so prevalent as [an] accent,” Collins says. “So, behind the bed, making that kind of a focal point. … It’s, like, one of the most popular things that people are doing today.” LIGHT UP YOUR LIFE In Collins’ experience, people are not so afraid to use color anymore, which is one way to boost a neutral room. Still, you might want to be strategic about where to focus the energy. “I try to avoid a big splash of color at the end of the bed,” Gardeck says. “It just diverts the eye.” Refocusing the lighting may also provide a fresh look. Gardeck advises using a three-way bulb to accommodate multiple wattage options while staying mindful of LED versus incandescent light for various tasks. “With all the new LED bulbs now, a lot of times the light is kind of harsh,” she says. “And in the bedroom is one place that you definitely want to keep more toward that warm light.” MCHENRY COUNTY MAGAZINE | FEBRUARY 2018 | 41


Finding your way to a healthy heart By JONATHAN BILYK Many people today know the keys to maintaining a healthy heart and cardiovascular system – whether or not they put some or all of them into practice is another story entirely. Proper diet, exercise, perhaps some medication, keeping in touch with a doctor – these are all things that have appeared in reports, bulletins and presentations from news media, public health officials and, of course, their doctors. But Sunil Kadakia, a cardiologist practicing in Crystal Lake and Fox River Grove, who serves as medical director for cardiovascular services at Advocate Good Shepherd Hospital in Barrington, says that the biggest disconnect for many comes in not understanding just how significantly simple changes can improve their situations – things as easy as getting a bit more sleep, eating more fruits and vegetables or even just brushing and flossing their teeth. “Some common mistakes I have seen are that patients underestimate the importance of lifestyle,” Kadakia says. February has been designated American Heart Month in the U.S., as Americans turn their attention to affairs of the heart with attention centered on that most romantic of holidays – Valentine’s Day. While Valentine’s Day may deal with the heart in abstract, for many doctors and the American Heart Association, among others, the month represents a chance to talk with people about the condition of the actual, physical organ.

says are some simple steps to improve their heart health, at any age.

Mediterranean diet, a regimen rich in olive oil, whole grains, vegetables, fruits and nuts, as well as fish and poultry, and low in red meat, sweets The “Simple 7” center on managing blood pressure, controlling cholesterol, reducing blood and butter. He urged those concerned with their sugar, getting active, eating better, losing weight heart health to also avoid sugar-sweetened beverages, such as soda. and quitting smoking. While some suggestions in the campaign may be simpler than others for many people, Kadakia notes most people can never go wrong with improving their physical fitness. “Patients don’t realize how much of an impact physical activity can make on cardiovascular health,” Kadakia says. “Statistics show that physical activity can reduce cardiovascular risk by about one-third, and cardiovascular fitness can reduce [cardiovascular] risk by about twothirds.” He notes just exercising for about 20 minutes a day can reduce the risk of “cardiovascular events” by 22 percent. But while physical activity is important, equally so are diet and proper rest. Not smoking can reduce cardiovascular risk by three-fourths; eating five fruits and vegetable servings per day can reduce such risk by a quarter; and reducing body mass index to less than 25 further reduces CV risk by 40 percent, Kadakia says, particularly when conducted together with 150 minutes or more of weekly exercise.

“What surprises most patients is that if you make all four of these lifestyle changes, then Heart disease remains the leading cause of death you can reduce a CV event rate by 87 percent, for both men and women in the U.S., according according to a prospective study conducted on to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, 15,792 middle-age men and women,” Kadakia with related conditions claiming around 630,000 says. American lives each year – nearly a quarter of all To improve heart health, Kadakia deaths in the U.S. says research continues to To combat the sustained prevalence of point to the benefits of the cardiovascular disease in the country, the American Heart Association has launched its “Life’s Simple 7” campaign, designed to help encourage Americans to learn what the AHA 42 | FEBRUARY 2018 | MCHENRY COUNTY MAGAZINE


Kadakia notes that research indicates such a diet “lowers the risk of death from CV disease and stroke,” as well as reducing the risk of cancer, diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and male and female sexual dysfunction. Medication, such as statins, has also proven effective at reducing heart disease risk, Kadakia says, but there are other simple steps people can take to improve their heart health, as well as their overall well-being. For starters, he says, get a good night’s sleep. “Being constantly sleep deprived has negative consequences on your health,” he says. “If you’re not getting sufficient shut-eye, you’re at risk for various health problems, including heart failure, high blood pressure, stroke and diabetes.” And don’t neglect your oral hygiene, Kadakia adds. “It is important to keep your teeth well cared for,” he says. “There is an increased risk of heart disease linked to poor oral hygiene. It is vital to follow through with your dentist and make that appointment twice a year to get your teeth cleaned. Regular flossing, as well as fluoride mouth wash, and brushing your teeth twice a day can really make an impact.”





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Romantic MANSIONS Five stately escapes in the Midwest By KELSEY O’CONNOR

Photos provided


here’s something special about historic mansions that can’t be duplicated by a modern hotel. These sprawling Midwestern estates have been converted into bed and breakfasts with modern amenities, luxurious accommodations and plenty of oldworld charm.


Whether you want to cuddle up by the fire, stroll through exquisite gardens or enjoy a massage in your suite, staying overnight in a mansion just might have everything you need for a romantic weekend escape. Check out these swoon-worthy Midwestern retreats that are perfect for couples:


 Vrooman Mansion

BLOOMINGTON • 877-346-6488 Situated in the heart of town, the Vrooman Mansion is an historic estate in a quiet neighborhood. The spacious rooms, each named for a prominent local family that has stayed at the mansion, have been carefully decorated with antique period furniture. Suites include down pillows, microfiber robes, fluffy towels and quality bed linens. Built in 1869, the picturesque Victorian home was stripped of its character during previous expansions. Since then, the mansion has been lovingly and meticulously restored to its former glory with authentic, Romanesque details. For a night on the town, catch a classic film at the Normal Theater – a breathtakingly restored art deco theater from the 1930s.

 Alexander Mansion

This historic bed and breakfast is nestled WINONA, MINNESOTA along the scenic bluffs along the Mississippi River. Built in 1886, the mansion has been 507-474-4224 completely renovated with careful detail and Victorian-era antiques. Chat with other guests at wine and cheese socials and gourmet breakfasts, or retreat to your spacious suite. The five guest rooms are each uniquely decorated and feature a luxurious bed and deep-soaking tubs. If


you’re looking for even more relaxation, massage services also are available. Outside the mansion, sample local wine at two nearby vineyards or head out on the Great River Road Wine Trail to explore wineries throughout the region. The area also has cycling, skiing, kayaking, golfing, fishing and more.

-Continued on page 45 MCHENRY COUNTY MAGAZINE | FEBRUARY 2018 | 45

Photos provided

-Continued from pge 45

 Beiger Mansion

MISHAWAKA, INDIANA • 574-256-0365 The palatial mansion was originally built in 1908 as a private home for a wealthy entrepreneur who had served in the Civil War. In 1973, the neoclassical structure was added to the National Register of Historic Places. Today, everyone can experience its elegance and opulence. The mansion has been converted into a luxurious bed and breakfast that features six guest rooms, a pool, workout facility and gardens. In town, guests can stroll along the banks of the St. Joseph River or visit the Snite Museum of Art on the nearby Notre Dame campus. 46 | FEBRUARY 2018 | MCHENRY COUNTY MAGAZINE

Photos provided

 The Belvedere Inn & Restaurant SAUGATUCK, MICHIGAN • 269-857-5777

Often referred to as Mini-Versailles, this boutique bed and breakfast blends European elegance and small-town charm. The inn boasts the style and sophistication of a big-city hotel in a quaint and calm area, just two miles from downtown Saugatuck. There are 10 guest rooms, including three suites, each with their own fireplace and private bath. And there’s no shortage of romance. Guests can opt for extra amenities, such as the popular “Lover’s Package,” which includes a cheese plate, flower arrangement, bottle of wine, and a one-hour massage for two. Visitors can enjoy an afternoon tea or a cocktail in the library, sunroom or on the wrap-around veranda. The on-site restaurant features a seasonal, prix fixe menu. The surrounding area offers a variety of activities, with beautiful beaches, sweeping dunes and a bustling downtown. TRAVEL

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Photos provided

ď ° The Inn at Irwin Gardens

COLUMBUS, INDIANA • 812-376-3663 This small-town gem is so picturesque that it was featured in scenes from the film “Columbus,â€? a recent Sundance hit starring John Cho. The Victorian home is certainly worthy of the silver screen. It’s changed little in the past century, and has even retained its original fixtures, furniture and decorations.

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The gardens surrounding the inn are just as historic. First planted in 1910, they were inspired by a garden excavated at Pompeii. Today, the Italianate garden is open to the public and features ornate terraces, wisteria-covered pergolas, and bubbling water features. The gardener’s cottage has been converted into a health spa, with yoga, skincare, massage and more. Outside the garden walls, Columbus is home to many noteworthy architectural feats. Visitors can rent a bike and explore the 20 miles of trails that wind through the heart of town.

        

   





Long-awaited McHenry movie theater reopens downtown By ALLISON HORNE Photos by NANCY MERKLING Those anticipating the long-awaited opening of the McHenry Downtown Theater don’t have to wait anymore – it’s finally here after being closed since 2014. The theater, located at 1208 N. Green St., held a grand opening Jan. 18 and featured showings of “Paddington 2” and “Star Wars: The Last Jedi.” The reopening of the theater has been in the works since February 2017, when McHenry City Council members approved plans for the building. The $1.5 million project included a roof replacement, wall and floor work and other building improvements. There is an arcade and three movie screening rooms: The first has 113 seats; the second has 133 seats; and the third has 60 seats, which is expected to debut several weeks after the grand opening with a showing of “Black Panther.” The small theater will be used for smaller film screenings and private parties. In addition to films, there is a full concession stand (with bottomless popcorn and Pepsi) that also features gourmet popcorn made in-house. Cheddar cheese and caramel corn are a few of the flavors offered. (January featured cheddar bacon popcorn as the flavor of the month.) McHenry Mayor Wayne Jett was the primary investor in the project before he decided to open it up to a community-owned model. There are 28 local residents



invested in the project. The theater also is doing an engraved brick wall, and for $75, community members’ names can be permanently cemented into a wall of the building. “A few of these investors are people that have never had the opportunity to live the American dream and now they have a chance to do just that,” Jett wrote on the theater’s Facebook page. “This just shows how many people in our community [want] to see this downtown become vibrant again. I am so proud to be a part of this great city and look forward to continuing the revitalization efforts of our downtown.”

March 10, 2018 • 10am – 4pm McHenry High School - West



Jedi Knight Training, Special appearance by Disney Princess, Scavenger Hunt, Giveaways Live Exotic Animal Show | Magician Face Painting | Food Court 815-385-4300

As a part of the revitalization of the theater and downtown area, Woodstock City Council member Dan Hart will be opening a second D.C. Cobbs location at 1204 N. Green Street in conjunction with the theater. The restaurant will feature outdoor and rooftop dining, and the food will be similar to the Woodstock restaurant, which serves burgers, craft beer and other pub fare.  For more information on the theater or for details on how to purchase tickets, visit

CONGRATULATIONS on your Grand Opening, McHenry Indoor Theater!




Dawnbreakers get bedazzled

Rotary club to host 29th annual Western-themed shindig By SUE DOBBE

The Rotary Club of Crystal Lake Dawnbreakers will host its annual “rhinestone cowboy,” westernthemed event at a new location this year. The 29th annual Western Auction will take place March 3 at Avante Banquets, located on Route 14 in Fox River Grove. The new venue will feature a new menu, dueling pianos, dancing and a whiskey shot bar by Harvard’s own Rush Creek Distilling. Event attendees are encouraged to dress in western wear; rhinestones and bedazzling also are appreciated. Everyone will enjoy food, drinks, music and a chance to bid on more than 300 silent and live auction items, including a four-day, four-night stay for two at a dude ranch in Tucson, Arizona. The event raises money each year through the contributions of local businesses, volunteers and members. “Last year $75,000 was raised in one fun-filled evening,” says auction chair Matt Horist. “One hundred percent of the funds are distributed to a number of deserving local and international charities. In the last 28 years, the Dawnbreakers Auction has distributed $1.5 million to charity.” Recipients of the funds have included eight to 10 student scholarships (per year), the Crystal Lake Food Pantry, TLS Veterans, Bravehearts Therapeutic Riding, Alexander Leigh Center for Autism, Family Health Partnership, Senior Care Volunteer Network, Turning Point, Home of the Sparrow, Diaper Bank, Big Brothers Big Sisters and many other nonprofits.


“Our new location and auction team are ready to shine,” says Rotary president Dave Blum. “Local businesses and residents contribute to the success through donations and involvement. We appreciate the ability to serve charities through our Western Auction.” Those who cannot attend can still show support by participating in the “Show Me the Money” raffle for a chance to win the $10,000 prize. There will be 250 raffle tickets sold at $100 each. The winner of the raffle need not be present. The Rotary Club of Crystal Lake Dawnbreakers is celebrating its 30th year. The club meets from 6:30 to 7:30 a.m. every Wednesday at the Crystal Lake Holiday Inn on Three Oaks Road. OUT & ABOUT

For tickets or more information, visit www.

Book Nook


February may be one of the coldest months of the year, but it also is a great time to fall in love with a good book. There are plenty of straightforward stories in novels and movies about two people falling in love, but both cynics and die-hard romantics can appreciate books that explore the complexity that stems from romance. If you’d like to take a more cerebral approach to love this Valentine’s season, consider these investigations into what romance is all about.

 ‘THE ANSWERS’ By Catherine Lacey In Catherine Lacey’s novel “The Answers,” the premise is simple: Mary Parsons, sick with a painful, unnamed disease, takes on a well-paying second job in a research study called “The Girlfriend Experiment.” Her role is to play the “emotional girlfriend” to a celebrity actor/writer, Kurt Sky, whose failure in romance affects his creative output. It’s difficult to talk about the story without spoiling some of the strange surprises, but as you can imagine, the scenario isn’t as simple as the researchers and subjects involved in the study would hope. Both the main characters, as well as their close acquaintances, are jolted around as the experiment continues. Lacey mirrors the twists in her winding storytelling, which frequently shifts perspective and jumps around in time, effectively showing how small choices affect our long-term romantic prospects. As the characters ask questions about love – Why does it happen? How does it begin? – I found myself asking the same. While the book itself isn’t romantic, it’ll leave you thinking about what romance really is and re-affirm why love is something that we all need.

Allison Manley was born in Georgia and raised in Island Lake. She graduated from Northwestern University with a degree in creative writing. She loves opera, craft beer, and (of course!) reading.

 ‘HER BODY AND OTHER PARTIES’ By Carmen Maria Machado “Her Body and Other Parties” is Carmen Maria Machado’s debut short story collection, but it’s written with the maturity and nuance of a writer at the height of her career. The stories in this National Book Award nominee feature women in various types of romances – some healthy, some troubled – and how those relationships reflect and relate to overall happiness. Some stories are more romantic than others, but a common thread is that the stories have a fantasy or science fiction element in them. In the short story “Inventory,” the main character outlines the lovers she’s had in her life, both before and after a highly contagious virus has wiped out most of mankind. “Especially Heinous” imagines “Law & Order: SVU” with creatures, like demons and doppelgangers. In this version of the show, however, the complex romantic tension between Stabler and Benson takes up much more of the story than the TV show it’s based on. The short story “Real Women Have Bodies” is about a young adult woman in her first serious relationship, but it’s set in a world where many women’s bodies are gradually fading away like ghosts. Machado’s writing is smooth and sleek, and you’ll fall in love with her silken prose and knack for writing about love.



CASA’S Little Black Dress PARTY


That little black dress you’re planning to wear on Valentine’s Day might get a little more use this month.


CASA’S LITTLE BLACK DRESS PARTY WHEN: 6 to 10 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 22 WHERE: Bull Valley Golf Club 1311 Club Road, Woodstock TICKETS: $55 a person INFO:


McHenry’s Court Appointed Special Advocate for Children (CASA) will be hosting its annual Little Black Dress Party for CASA, otherwise known as the perfect excuse to have a ladies’ night out while supporting a good cause. “It was created with the idea in mind that ladies buy a little black dress to go out with their significant others for Valentine’s Day, and this is their chance to use that dress again and go out with their lady friends,” says CASA event manager Emily Greene. “It’s evolved into a really fun night out for ladies.”


This year’s event will take place from 6 to 10 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 22, at the Bull Valley Golf Club, 1311 Club Road, Woodstock. In the past, the event took place in the downstairs area, but, this year, it will be upstairs in order to have more room for a dance floor and table seating. When the event was first started six years ago, there were around 50 guests in attendance, Greene notes. She’s expecting to see closer to 160 this year. “It’s a great time of year for this event,” Greene says. “There’s not usually a lot of things going on, and this is a great event geared towards the ladies that also benefits a great organization and such a great cause. It’s a double win for everybody.”

White Oaks at McHenry is

Now Open

The evening will include a raffle, silent auction, dancing, hors d’oeuvres and drinks. In addition to wine, beer and cocktails, a specialty drink will be available for purchase, and anyone who purchases the specialty drink will receive a raffle entry. This year’s raffle includes jewelry donations from Studio 2015 and Steffan’s Jewelers, gift cards to Olive Black Lounge, and lingerie from La Bellissima.

White Oaks offers: • Specialized programming to support the needs of those with Alzheimer’s and dementia-related diseases

Studio 2015 also is sponsoring a game where guests can purchase a key (there will be five winners) for an attempt at unlocking a box with jewelry inside.

• Professionally trained and certified staff providing medication services and 24-hour care and personal assistance

Not only are there some great games, but also the Little Black Dress Party raises funds for the children of CASA so they can have a voice. CASA aims to ensure that every child in McHenry County’s Juvenile Abuse Court has someone to speak on his or her behalf. “They’re their voice in the court system,” Greene says. “They’re often one of the only consistent adults in the child’s life.” CASA currently has 100 total advocates in the system, which includes those on active cases, on leave or waiting for a case.

• Services, such as restaurant-style dining, housekeeping and linen/laundry service to promote dignity • We have both Private and Semi-Private Suites

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All money raised from the event will go toward overall programs at CASA. General admission tickets cost $55 and can be purchased by visiting blackdress. Other sponsorships also are available, and anyone unable to attend can either donate or participate in an auction online. OUT & ABOUT



BOURBON AND CHOCOLATE PAIRING FT. ANDERSON’S CANDY SHOP WHEN: 3 to 4 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 11 WHERE: Richmond BratHaus, 10310 Main St., Richmond Join BratHaus bar manager John Coia, spirits connoisseur Tony Bodanyi and Katie AndersonTedder of Anderson’s Candy Shop as they pair five bourbons and Scotch with the finest chocolates and fudge around. The cost is $40 a person. It is recommended to purchase tickets in advance, as seating is limited. Attendees must be ages 21 and older to participate. For more information, visit ‘MISS EXPANDING UNIVERSE’ STAGED READING SERIES WHEN: 7 to 10 p.m. Monday, Feb. 12 WHERE: Raue Center for the Arts, 26 N. Williams St., Crystal Lake “Miss Expanding Universe,” by Conor McShane, will be presented by the William Street Rep staged reading series. The comedic family drama is about 17-year-old Amber, who runs away to Chicago with no job, money or plans for what she’s going to do next. She shows up at the apartment of her uncle David, a struggling writer and recovering alcoholic. Over the next few days, Amber and David engage in a battle of wills. Along the way, these two self-defined misfits forge a deeper, unexpected connection. For more information, visit

CREATIVE LIVING SERIES: THE ART INSTITUTE OF CHICAGO’S ‘THORNE ROOMS - TINY GRANDEUR’ WHEN: 10 a.m. Thursday, Feb. 15 (9 a.m. for coffee and conversation) WHERE: Woodstock Opera House, 121 E. Van Buren, Woodstock Art Institute of Chicago’s caretaker, Lindsay Mican Morgan, will take the audience on a “tour” to see 68 houses, none bigger than a shoebox. Scaled replicas of historic, grand homes from the Middle Ages to Art Deco will be revealed on the tour. The exhibit remains one of the Art Institute’s most popular features. Following Morgan’s presentation, she will answer questions from the audience. For more information, visit www. COFFEE TALK ABOUT WOMEN’S HEALTH WHEN: 6:30 to 8 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 15 WHERE: Daily Projects Coffee Bar and Eatery, 124 S. Randall Road, Algonquin Dr. Jennifer Pishotta is a pediatric and family chiropractor with TLC Chiropractic in Lake in the Hills. The public is welcome to meet Pishotta at Daily Projects in Algonquin for a meet-and-greet with the doctor. Pishotta specializes in women’s health and children, and enjoys sharing her knowledge to empower women to take charge of their health. Women who want to conceive in

Reminds you...It’s IRA Season! Don’t wait until the last minute; make your contributions early!

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2018, or have been unable to conceive or maintain a pregnancy might find a discussion with Pishotta helpful. For more information, call 224-678-7334. TROPIXPLOSION WHEN: 7:30 to 10:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 17 WHERE: The Listening Room at the Dole, 401 Country Club Road, Crystal Lake Attendees to the Dole will enjoy Jimmy Buffett favorites, Caribbean beats, trop-rock and reggae tunes. Those who wear a tropical shirt or lei will receive one beverage voucher to be used at the bar. For more information, visit LIGHTWIRE THEATER’S DINO-LIGHT WHEN: 7 to 9:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 23 WHERE: Raue Center For The Arts, 26 N. Williams St., Crystal Lake The glow-in-the-dark show “Dino-Light,” formerly known as “Darwin the Dinosaur,” was the recipient of the prestigious Jim Henson Foundation Grant and first feature-length theatrical production created and performed by creators Ian Carney and Corbin Popp. In the original storyline, a famous scientist with magic powers brings a friendly dinosaur to life. When the dinosaur wanders away from home, he discovers a wonderful world full of creatures that light up the darkness and help him find the true meaning of love. Tickets start at $20. For more information, visit ‘4TH FRIDAYS’ ART SHOW WHEN: 6 to 9 p.m. Friday, Feb. 23 WHERE: Starline Factory, Inc., W. Front St., Harvard The “4th Fridays” art show is a regional art event that takes place nine months a year in the historic Starline Factory. The event features a juried mixed art exhibit, juried photo contest, featured artist solo exhibit, vendor artists on the lower level, open Starline artist studios, people’s choice voting, live music on all three levels and a cash bar for beer, wine and mixed drinks. The event attracts between 600 and 1,000 art enthusiasts each month, who travel from as far away as Chicago, Milwaukee and Madison. There is a $10 cover at the door. Children ages 17 and younger will be admitted for free. For more information, visit GOLDEN DRAGON ACROBATS WHEN: 8 to 10 p.m. Friday, Feb. 23 WHERE: Woodstock Opera House, W. Van Buren St., Woodstock The Golden Dragon Acrobats hail from Cangzhou, Hebei province, in the People’s Republic of China, and have toured the U.S. continuously since 1978. The group’s founder, producer and artistic director, Danny Chang, is one of the world’s leading promoters of Chinese acrobatics. The group will present award-winning acrobatics, traditional dance, costumes, ancient and contemporary music, and theatrical techniques. Tickets cost $25. For tickets or more information, visit www.

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MC Mag february2018  
MC Mag february2018