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Wrigleyville's Gallagher Way continues to be a growing destination for families in Chicago, and this holiday season, the festive activities are bigger and more plentiful than ever.

Winterland programs at Wrigleyville hot spot begin on Nov. 22, and run through Feb. 16, 2020.

This year, Christkindlmarket Wrigleyville returns alongside an 8,000-square-foot ice rink, curling and skating lessons, Santa’s Workshop, wreath making classes, oversized decorative winter characters, holiday movies and more. The holiday transformation will also include a 30-foot holiday tree underneath the Wrigley Field Marquee, a tree lot at Big Star Wrigleyville, holiday programming at Hotel Zachary, Hush Money, Lucky Dorr, Smoke Daddy Wrigleyville and other restaurants around Gallagher Way, plus a dazzling display of decorative lights around Gallagher Way.

There's a big update coming to Six Flags Great America's Hurricane Harbor in Gurnee, Illinois next year.

Tsunami Surge will be the tallest water coaster in the world, towering over the park's Riptide Bay area at over 86-feet tall. Water-blasting jet propulsion technology will power riders through more than 950 feet of enclosed tunnels and open air slides at speeds above 28 mph. The 25th attraction within Hurricane Harbor, Tsunami Surge will be the first ride at any Six Flags park to use AquaLucent visual events to create "mind-blowing bursts of colors and dreamlike patterns, intensifying the ride experience."

“Six Flags is the undisputed leader in delivering record-breaking rides and world-class thrills,” says Six Flags Great America Park President Hank Salemi. “The new Tsunami Surge water coaster is in a class all by itself, defying gravity to blast riders uphill through 950 feet of exhilarating drops, twists and turns. This exciting, new addition is the perfect complement to an already incredible lineup of the biggest and most innovative attractions in the Midwest.”

Tsunami Surge is scheduled to open during the park's 2020 operating season.

Published in Chicagoland

If you've ever dreamed of flying high in a craft made famous during the daring missions of World War II, you now have a chance to do it.

The B-17 Aluminum Overcast Tour kicks off on Aug. 16 in Waukegan, Illinois. The Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) will bring a fully-functional B-17G to Waukegan National Airport for ground-based walk-around tours, and hourly mission flights through Aug. 18. 

The Aluminum Overcast is a beautifully restored B-17 Flying Fortress that's been a staple of air shows for many years. Based in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, the plane will tour the eastern half of the U.S. through November, with ticket sales supporting the ongoing maintenance and operations cost for one of the last 10 remaining B-17's in the world that are still airworthy.

Flight tickets can be ordered online via the EAA website.

Published in Rock Father Rides

This story is brought to you in collaboration with Mitsubishi Motors USA...

This summer, some Nashville flavor came to Illinois in a pretty unique way. No, I'm not talking about that "Nashville Hot" chicken (though that's picking up steam in the north as well), but my sister's country wedding. Though she grew up in Illinois as I did, Nashville has always been in her sights, and that's where she ended up. But for her wedding, she was back up north for a barn wedding in Hebron, Illinois. What was unusually cool is where some of the decor came from... not just from City of Nashville, but from the television series. After a six season run across ABC and CMT, Nashville came to an end this summer, which meant that the time had come for the production to wrap things up with a three-day "Set Decoration Public Sale." Actor Charles Esten even shared a video preview of the event some months back, and as luck would have it, decorations that may have dressed the set when Rayna Jaymes (Connie Brtitton) and Deacon Claybourne (Esten) tied the not wound up as part of the atmosphere for a real-life wedding.

Published in Rock Father Rides

You may have already seen the headlines - an unusually large boom in ticks throughout the Midwest this year, all due in large part thanks to a relatively mild winter. The lack of a solid deep-freeze kept the tick population from dying off during their dormant state, and warm, wet conditions this spring are bringing them back en masse. We've lived in this house for seven years, and while I'd found the occasional tick while doing yard work (never bitten), we've never had an issue until now - and we've got kids and dogs. Two weeks, two daughters, two different species of tick - and last night we had an ER visit.

Published in Gardening
Saturday, December 26 2015 12:21

Guest Column: A Requiem to Balmoral Park

Ed. Note: As the famed Balmoral Park in Crete, Illinois prepares to host its final scheduled harness races tonight, I'm turning things over to the person who introduced me to "the track" - my Dad... just as his Father did before him. -- JZ

As a baby boomer in the 50’s dear old dad would wake me up in the wee hours of the morning to go fishing on the Kankakee River and we’d travel Dixie Highway, Route 1 in Crete, Illinois in route to our favorite spots….I always was intrigued by a big brick building we’d pass surrounded by overgrown weeds, and a look of neglect. I was told it was a racetrack once, known as Lincoln Fields and that famous horses raced there. Years later, in the late 1960’s, the place would be reborn under the ownership of William S. Miller, a millionaire breeder and former chairman of the Illinois Racing Board. The lights went on at the new Balmoral in the late 60’s and my father, Harold, and I were there to welcome it back to life! The scene was repeated countless times in the years to follow….we’d feel the excitement build as we could see the lights from quite a distance illuminating the nighttime sky from its rural Crete location. As a broadcaster in the 70’s, Balmoral was a sponsor of one of harness racing’s first regularly scheduled radio programs, Harness Happenings, that I hosted. During that time I met and interviewed many people in the industry, from horsemen to the driver of the starting gate to the manager of the finance department! Also had the privilege of knowing one of racing’s greatest race announcers, the legendary Phil Georgeff who would on occasion permit me to announce some races ‘live’ at the track. Little did I know or even ponder the thought that 30 years later I’d be a late bloomer in the colorful sport of harness racing and actually own and drive in races on a limited basis and yes, suiting up at Balmoral was part of the package and racing there was indeed a thrill that few will ever understand let alone experience firsthand.

Published in Sports Entertainment
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