Sunday, July 24, 2011

A Community That Leads By Example--The 43rd Annual Sheffield Garden Walk

By R. A. Monaco
July 24, 2011

Despite the Sunday morning rain that brought with it even more rain to "The Summer's Best Festival," the 43rd Annual Sheffield Garden Walk and Festival continued its traditions and commitment to the Sheffield community.

Following Friday night's storm that dumped between 5 and 7 inches of rain on the Chicago area and forced the closure of several flooded expressways, and blacked out nearly 90,000 Com Ed customers, the Sheffield Neighborhood Association and their dedicated volunteers saved the day and kept the day long activities on schedule.

On Saturday afternoon, the Revivalists band kicked off the Festival's music to the survivalists who ventured into the unpredictable Chicago weather to support the annual community effort and enjoy the traditions which have continued since 1969.

The rain surpassed the previous record high single-day rainfall total of 6.64 as recorded by the Chicago Weather Service while flooding countless basements including that at Kelly's Pub directly across the street from the event, whose owners Polly and John Kelly are long time patrons of the Garden Walk.

After discovering that the flooding had short circuited the buildings air conditioning at Kelly's Pub, long time relationships prevailed. An early Saturday A.M. call to their trusted heating and air conditioning vendor, Bob McCann Heating and Cooling came to the rescue, so that festival patrons seeking air conditioned relief nearby would be available if needed. It seems the perfect example of the type of community spirit which says more about what has made this festival an enduring part of Chicago's heritage.

For the third day in a row, showers and thunderstorms were unable to discourage the Sheffield Neighborhood Association and their patrons commitment to the event. The non-profit community volunteer-managed festival provides support for neighborhood schools, local institutions, and community projects. Event proceeds are critically important to SNA's Award-Winning Beautification Program, a plan that has continued to give recognition to the Sheffield neighborhood as the Garden District of Chicago.

Garden and Architecture tours went on as scheduled, as did the food, music and good times. Little more needs to be said about a community that leads by example.

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