Decorate your own Sugar Skull for Day of the Dead

Post date: Thursday, September 11, 2014 - 10:37de la mañana

For the third year in a row, the Waukegan Public Library will host free Sugar Skull Decorating workshops to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month and Dia de los Muertos. Presented by the Academia Cultural Xilotl, three workshops will take place in September and October for all ages.

The Academia Cultural Xilotl is a non-profit and family oriented organization that works to preserve the Mexican and Latin-American culture through history, art, music, and dance appreciation. The organization recognizes that culture and tradition is central to life and society and an understanding of the Mexican & Latin-American culture assists in awareness, discipline, and future values.

Dia de los Muertos or Day of the Dead is a Mexican holiday that honors ancestors who have passed by decorating gravesites with sugar skulls, marigolds, and food. In the United States, the tradition is also tied to Halloween where sugar skulls are incorporated into Halloween decorations.

The free workshops take place at 6:00 pm on September 22, 29 and October 6 for all ages. Children 12 and under must be accompanied by an adult. The skulls are 6”x5” in size. Registration is required, please go to or call (847) 623-2041.

America’s Got Talent BMX biker to perform on Sept. 7

Post date: Tuesday, September 2, 2014 - 6:14de la tarde

Known as the fastest spinner in the world on a BMX bike, “America’s Got Talent” semi-finalist Matt Wilhelm will perform at this year’s Monarch Festival on Sunday, September 7 from 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm at the corner of Clayton and County Streets in downtown Waukegan. The Monarch Festival is a free family event dedicated to raising awareness in the community about the environment, healthy living, and the importance of physical activity and exercise.

Wilhelm’s amazing BMX bike tricks have earned him 3 X-Games Medals, 2 National Championships, and a host of other awards. His presentation and performance includes his own personal childhood story about bullying and he speaks to children about perseverance and motivation. Last year he performed at over 300 different schools around the country.

Other performances during the day include the Waukegan Police Department K-9 unit, the Mexican cultural dance group Erande, and local DJ Alejandro. Waukegan Public Library Summer Reading Club finishers will be recognized on stage for their accomplishment in reading over the summer.

This is the fifth year for the Monarch Festival, which draws around 1,000 community members for free games, activities, and science-based learning. During the free event, children can scale a climbing wall, see how fast they can kick a soccer ball, fly a quad copter drone, get their face painted, make a butterfly mask, hula hoop, jump rope, and much more.

Local restaurants, including Rosita La Michoacana, Dockside Dogs, and Las Marias Tortilleria, will sell food and drinks and the Chicago Botanic Gardens Green Youth Farm will offer fresh fruits and vegetables from their local farmer’s market.

Sponsors of the Monarch Festival include Bright Start College Savings, Prairie Crossing Charter School, Great Lakes Credit Union, Words on Wheels, Lewis Fresh Market, Vista Health, Consumers Credit Union, Erie Family Health, H&R Block, Rosita La Michoacana, Classic Toyota, Puro Futbol, Mundo Fox, Waukegan Park District, and Most Blessed Trinity Parish.

For questions about the festival, the performers or exhibitors, call Rena Morrow, Marketing and Exhibits Manager at the Waukegan Public Library, at (847) 623-2041, ext. 231.

Halloween at the Genesee Theatre: Stories to Make You Jump

Post date: Friday, August 22, 2014 - 3:54de la tarde

Waukegan Public Library presents the award-winningRay Bradbury Storytelling Festival on All Hallows Eve

Experience Halloween beyond trick-or-treating, costumes, and pumpkin carving this year. Instead, celebrate Ray Bradbury’s favorite holiday with some of the most recognized ghost stories, macabre fables, and creepy tales told on the historic Genesee Theatre stage. The Ninth Annual Ray Bradbury Storytelling Festival, hosted by the Waukegan Public Library, takes place on Friday, October 31 at 6:30 p.m. in downtown Waukegan.

Named after, and honoring Waukegan’s famous writer-offspring, the Ray Bradbury Storytelling Festival has entertained fans of literature, storytelling, and Bradbury for the past eight years. Each year, the festival celebrates a different literary theme such as “Literary Monsters”, “Literary Ghosts” or “Literary Witches.” This year’s theme “Literary Halloween” delights in Bradbury’s favorite time of year.

Megan Wells serves as the artistic director of the festival and appears each year in the persona of various nefarious characters, from Dracula to Mr. Dark. She holds an MFA in theater arts and numerous theater awards including the Joseph Jefferson Award for directing. Wells is excited to tell one of Bradbury’s famous Halloween stories on the evening he loved most.

“Nine years ago, we asked Ray Bradbury if we could use his name to create an annual Storytelling Festival, and his only stipulation was that it be at the end of October, around Halloween,” said Richard Lee, executive director of the Waukegan Public Library. “His love of fall comes out in his writing. You can actually smell the autumn air, taste the pumpkin pie, hear the crush of leaves, and often feel an impending shiver. It will be incredible to hear his words that evening.”

Presented by the Waukegan Public Library, the award-winning festival presents a frightful family friendly first act for all ages at 6:30 p.m. and a spooky second act recommended for listeners age 12 and older starting at 8:00 p.m. Tickets are $25 for both acts, or guests can purchase reduced tickets for one act only. Present any library card at the box office and receive $1 off the ticket price. Tickets go on sale Friday, August 29 at the Genesee box office or

A one-hour matinee show for students is presented at 10:30 a.m. Tickets for the school show are $5 if purchased before October 1 or $6 after October 1. School groups receive one free chaperone ticket for every ten tickets purchased. Teachers and caregivers can contact the box office at 847-623-6300 for more information.

The Ray Bradbury Storytelling Festival is a great way for both children and adults to enjoy the fun, and occasionally dark, aspects of this venerable holiday. All attendees are welcome to dress in costume. For more information, call or visit the library at or (847) 623-2041.