LA GRANGE – The West End Arts Festival has been an end-of-summer tradition in La Grange for 22 years, and there’s even more to look forward to this year with several new additions to the popular event.
The festival will go from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sept. 9 and from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sept. 10 near the Stone Avenue Metra station.
Wine lovers will have the opportunity to sample several wines from small-batch wineries from around the world while enjoying live jazz music from the Elmhurst College Jazz Band the evening of Sept. 9. As always, more than 50 juried artists will be selling unique, handcrafted artwork, and some renowned local chefs will be sampling their signature creations in the “Art of Food” tent.
Nancy Cummings, executive director of the La Grange Business Association, which sponsors the art festival, said wine tasting was a natural pairing with the food tent. A sommelier also will be on hand to explain the intricacies of winemaking.
“I think this will be very successful, and it’s nice to bring in wine with the ‘Art of Food’ tent and jazz on Saturday night,” she said. “This is a long-standing tradition in the community, and we like to enhance it and felt it was time to showcase all the different aspects of art.”
John Tuohy, a representative from wine distributor Louis Glunz wines, will be sampling more than 20 wines, including rose, chardonnay and pinot noir from France, and wines from California, Oregon and other U.S. locations.
“I live in this community, so I want to be able to give back, and this is a great tie-in with the art fair. There’s a lot of art in winemaking,” he said.
Also new this year, guests can register for a walking tour of the historic West End, courtesy of the La Grange Area Historical Society. In addition to the tours, films made by Lyons Township High School students will be shown inside the Metra station.
As always, the Park District of La Grange will offer plenty of activities for kids, including selfie art, a community mural project, sidewalk chalk art and several more interactive art projects and live demonstrations.
Laura Kiro has been showing her acrylic paintings at the show for five years. The Chicago resident said she always enjoys coming to this show because it’s small enough to be able to talk to the guests.
“This community really supports the festival, and I always look forward to it every year,” she said. “The residents believe in keeping their community thriving, so if they stop coming to the show, they stop getting quality artists. This was the first art show I ever did, so I’m very loyal to it.”
Photographer Josh Baker, who won second place for best art display and setup at last year’s fest, said he’s excited to be returning for his second year. The Westchester resident is happy to be able to once again bring his art to the local community.
“This is a good-quality art fair, and bringing this kind of art to the community allows residents to enjoy one-of-a-kind, handmade art,” he said.
Cummings said she thinks one reason the event is so successful is the small, intimate feeling of the show that allows people to mingle and talk to the artists and chefs.
“It’s in a historic, eclectic neighborhood setting, and still has that summer flavor. It’s the last big event of the summer here,” she said. “I think residents look forward to it every year.”
Local vendors La Buona Vita, Armand’s Victory Tap, La Cabanita, Nothing Bundt Cakes and We’re Nuts will be selling food on site, and those participating at the Art of Food tent include chefs from Armand’s Victory Tap, Barrel House Social, fourteensixteen, La Buona Vita, Solstice, Steak + Vine and Sushi Ukai.
If you go
WHAT: West End Arts Festival
WHEN: 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sept. 9 and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sept. 10
WHERE: Burlington Avenue between Brainard and Spring avenues near the Stone Avenue Metra station