Getting ready to haunt the downtown with merchant Meghan Mariani.
It’s the season for all things creepy and spooky. Last night the Long Grove Historical Society joined forces with approx. 50 other merchants, community groups, and resident volunteers to create the 3rd Annual Ghost Walk, and it was a supernatural success! Our historic downtown was overtaken by dancing zombies, living scarecrows, ghosts, ghouls, and several former members of our community who materialized for one night to tell the living their haunted stories of times past. Over 250 members of Long Grove and the surrounding area were scared silly and speaking as one of the ones doing the terrorizing, it was great fun. One cute little three-year-old declared his bravery at the beginning of my first tour of the night, only to grab hold of my hand as soon as we encountered spooky storyteller Tobin Fraley, who told us of the gruesome demise of “Gus” the mechanic. We heard about the flagpole on Towner Green used by real-life gangster Terry Drugan, and “crazy Jake Eisler” appeared once again this year from beyond the grave to menace us with his stick of dynamite. As we made our way to the Long Grove Church’s 1800’s cemetery, the Gravedigger and his “client” warned us of the perils ahead. Across the covered bridge to safety, we made a detour through the haunted trail along the creek, featuring over 50 carved pumpkins and a few demons, zombies, and hockey masked characters brandishing chainsaws. A trip past the spooks at the haunted Historical Society farmhouse, and it was back to the comfort of toasting marshmallows over the fire pit. We even had a “Stay Puft Marshmallow Man” join us–don’t worry, he did keep a safe distance from the flames! My three-year-old victim had a great time (as did so many families who participated) and he did admit that he was “a little bit scared” but could he do it again? Happy Halloween!
Starting another tour with willing “victims”
The Gayton family had fun creating one of the scarecrows currently standing guard in our downtown.
Several weeks ago the Long Grove Business and Community Partners Organization sponsored a fun family event on Towner Green. With the help of handy volunteers such as John Kopecky and Ryan Messner, adults and kids alike created several dozen unique and creative scarecrows who now stand at watch in our historic downtown. Some have heads made out of gourds, some of plastic pumpkins, others are completely original like the frankenstein face painted on a recycled milk jug. When my husband and I happened on to the stuffing and decorating festivities, one clever young resident suggested that we need a “Village President” scarecrow. Next year I really want to participate in this–ideas are already swirling in my head on what my alter ego should wear and how scary her face will be! These watchful guardians are also going to add some spooky ambiance to the Historical Society’s Ghost Walk this coming Friday night. In the meantime, these temporary harvest-time sentinels bring a smile to my face every time I pass by Towner Green, and are a reminder of Long Grove’s farming past. Will any of these scarecrows come alive during the Ghost Walk? Stay tuned to find out!
Members of the Long Grove Fire Protection District teach a young recruit how to handle the fire hose.
We are smack dab in the middle of National Fire Prevention Week, so in honor of that I would like to give a shout out today to our local firefighters here in Long Grove. Our community is actually served by two separate districts that respond to emergencies in the area: Long Grove Fire Protection District and Countryside Fire Protection District. A community Open House was held this past Saturday at the fire station in downtown Long Grove, and it was a delight to be on hand to see the local kids having fun while learning about fire safety. In my mind, there is no truck more colorful or fascinating than a firetruck. Many years ago, I was even lucky enough to get to ride atop one once in a homecoming parade–what a thrill! This weekend a large number of families took the opportunity to enjoy hot dogs, station tours, demonstrations, and kids activities while meeting staff and checking out the awesome trucks. I was very, very tempted to take a turn with the kids sliding down the fire pole, and only the threat of being caught in a picture and subsequently mocked on social media kept me at bay. One thing that I did thoroughly enjoy was watching the little ones tackle the firefighter’s obstacle course, complete with hosing down a pretend house of flames. I even got to handle a real fire axe–could this be what I really need to keep my Trustees in line? My gavel seems rather wimpy by comparison!
Visiting with Long Grove Fire Chief Robert Turpel during the Open House.
Our lost cat, answering to the name of Bones, has not been seen since the 2014 Ghost Walk. Will he materialize again this year?
This week I attended a planning meeting for the Historical Society’s 3rd Annual Ghost Walk, and the spooks are psyched for another fantastic event this year. When you gather together a group of creative locals who have a love of all things scary and creepy, the Halloween spirit truly comes alive! What started out several years ago as a “Long Grove Lurid Legends” storytelling performance, has evolved into a hauntingly fun family fundraiser involving many diverse community groups. The Ghost Walk features short tales of history and mystery presented by costumed docents and community volunteers. Various historic buildings and locations in our crossroads business district serve as backdrops for the scenes.
As an actor in the skits for the past two years, I can attest to the fun to be had for volunteers and participants alike. The families love the frightful but safe encounters, and we get a kick out of scaring the kids silly. But what I think is truly special about the Ghost Walk is the way the Long Grove community has come together to support and build an event that is a win-win for all. We have more merchants than ever participating this year, and “Crazy Jake Eisler” is materializing again to blow things up in his own special way. In Motion dance studio has a thrilling performance in the works. And rumor has it that the youth group of the Long Grove Community Church has got something spooky planned in front of their atmospheric 1800’s era cemetery. I can’t wait for the haunting to begin!
The Ghost Walk is set for Friday night, October 30th beginning at 7:00 pm in historic downtown Long Grove. To make reservations and for more information (and a hilarious FAQ page) please visit the Long Grove Historical Society website at http://www.longgrovehistory.org/Ghostwalk.html
The beloved apple cider donuts made a return appearance to Long Grove this past weekend.
For the past three years, I have made a determined effort to eat healthier, and I have tried to avoid the types of bakery items that you see pictured above. However, the Long Grove Confectionery’s locally famous apple cider donuts are only available one time a year, so I allowed myself to have one. Well, maybe more than one (lets just say several) of these cinnamon-sugary balls of deliciousness were consumed, and I was not the only one indulging!
Apple Fest once again graced the historic cross roads of Long Grove this weekend, and it was a perfect excuse to get out and enjoy the beautiful autumn weather. Many others felt the same, based on the large number of festival attendees I saw on Saturday. The Kids Zone on Towner Green was packed with squealing, happy youngsters tossing beanbags, climbing hay bales, and chasing ethereal pieces of whimsy conjured up by the “Bubble Man.” I received a complimentary apple-scented soy candle with the purchase of my pretty new necklace, and who doesn’t just love getting something for free? Every merchant that I talked with was upbeat and had a smile on their face: Craig, Tobin, Rachel, Maggie, Pam, Ryan, John, Matt & Meghan–just to name a few. We stayed into the evening to take in some of the great music and an added plus was running into some neighbors and getting the chance to catch up. It was altogether an enjoyable experience.
But let’s get back to the important thing–the food! Besides the aforementioned donuts, apples were consumed in the form of caramel apples, apple martinis, and apple sangria. And I must say it was worth the splurge. Today I’m back on the healthy eating bandwagon, with gratifying apple-tinged memories to carry me through until next year.
The covered bridge stage featured the band “Infinity” along with the debut of our new festival welcome sign.