Mark Kessler, of Recycled Records Wins Lifetime Achievement Award

On, January 23rd, Downtown Springfield, Inc hosted their 26th Annual Awards Dinner highlighting the people and places that make downtown the hub for culture in Springfield. One very special award went to Mark Kessler, of Recycled Records for his tireless work in our community. Here is the speech the Past DSI Director, Victoria Ringer gave while announcing her dear friend as the recipient of the Wally Henderson Lifetime Achievement Award:

I am Honored to be presenting the Wally Henderson LifeTime Achievement Award
this evening. Wally and his wife Brynn came to mean a lot to me and my husband
Doug. Our recipient and his wife have also be like Wally, this man has made his
mark on downtown by saying exactly what he thinks, working harder than the
average guy, giving back to his community and pulling no punches. 

In fact, as did Wally, our recipient would often call the DSI office and give his
opinion, often with volume and passion, on an issue affecting downtown. He would
always end the conversation with “you know I love ya, right”. Yep, I did.
When it comes to historical knowledge, business savvy, and the ability to
communicate I always knew where to send the media when they were looking for a
good interview or story. Running a family business that has been in the same
location for over 100 years takes stamina, the ability to acclimate to good and bad
economic situations, and character.

What once began as a downtown furniture store has evolved into a national
destination for collectors, famous musicians and people wanting to have a real
experience when shopping for jewelry, vintage items and, of course, music. You will
find an experienced staff, unusual displays and one constant overseeing the entire
menagerie.

Not unlike a fine vinyl record, this man has unique grooves, a crisp voice and the
ability to make a difference in the way you feel just by having a listen.
It is my great pleasure to present the Wally Henderson Lifetime Achievement Award
to Mark Kessler, of Recycled Records.

 

Other winners of the night included:

Best Retail: The Roost

Best Restaurant: VELE

Best Not for Profit Initiative:  Lincoln Library and Director Will O’Hearn

2018 Most Impactful Public-Private Partnership: Kidzeum of Health and Science and the City of Springfield

Green Leadership: Kevin Greene

Best Renovation: St. George Apartments – Josh Wagoner

Best Creative Promotion: Hashtag Adams Family developed by Mark Forinash, Cafe Moxo

Best 2018 Event: Old Capitol Blues and BBQ Festival

Best Nightlife: Buzz Bomb Brewery

Bicentennial Award: Illinois Governor Mansions Association & Illinois REALTORS

Downtown Advocate of the Year: Linda Renehan

Volunteer of the Year: Brenda Stroh

 

To read more about the Wally Henderson Lifetime Achievement Award, see the article posted in the SJ-R

Final Old Capitol Holiday Walk

 

Time to get into the Holiday spirit! Join us at 2018’s Old Capitol Holiday Walks. There will be plenty of shopping, dining, and holiday cheer to go around. As you walk through our charming downtown neighborhood, you will enjoy carolers, our giant Christmas tree on the Plaza, performers and more!

Special Events:

 

Santa at the Old State Capitol

Saturdays 2pm – 5pm & Wednesdays 5pm – 8pm

 

Horse Drawn Carriage

Saturdays 1pm – 4pm & Wednesdays 5pm – 8pm

 

Music Performances

Old State Capitol

Saturdays 1pm & 4pm & Wednesdays 6pm

 

Union Park Holiday Lights & Music

Ongoing

Old Capitol Holiday Walks

 

Time to get into the Holiday spirit! Join us at 2018’s Old Capitol Holiday Walks. There will be plenty of shopping, dining, and holiday cheer to go around. As you walk through our charming downtown neighborhood, you will enjoy carolers, our giant Christmas tree on the Plaza, performers and more!

Special Events:

Tree Lighting

Watch the magic come alive as we light our neighborhood tree!

November 24th 5:30pm

 

Santa at the Old State Capitol

Saturdays 2pm – 5pm & Wednesdays 5pm – 8pm

 

Horse Drawn Carriage

Saturdays 1pm – 4pm & Wednesdays 5pm – 8pm

 

Music Performances

Old State Capitol

Saturdays 1pm & 4pm & Wednesdays 6pm

 

Union Park Holiday Lights & Music

Ongoing

Old Capitol Holiday Walks

 

Time to get into the Holiday spirit! Join us at 2018’s Old Capitol Holiday Walks. There will be plenty of shopping, dining, and holiday cheer to go around. As you walk through our charming downtown neighborhood, you will enjoy carolers, our giant Christmas tree on the Plaza, performers and more!

Special Events:

 

Santa at the Old State Capitol

Saturdays 2pm – 5pm & Wednesdays 5pm – 8pm

 

Horse Drawn Carriage

Saturdays 1pm – 4pm & Wednesdays 5pm – 8pm

 

Music Performances

Old State Capitol

Saturdays 1pm & 4pm & Wednesdays 6pm

 

Union Park Holiday Lights & Music

Ongoing

Old Capitol Holiday Walks

 

Time to get into the Holiday spirit! Join us at 2018’s Old Capitol Holiday Walks. There will be plenty of shopping, dining, and holiday cheer to go around. As you walk through our charming downtown neighborhood, you will enjoy carolers, our giant Christmas tree on the Plaza, performers and more!

Special Events:

 

Santa at the Old State Capitol

Saturdays 2pm – 5pm & Wednesdays 5pm – 8pm

 

Horse Drawn Carriage

Saturdays 1pm – 4pm & Wednesdays 5pm – 8pm

 

Music Performances

Old State Capitol

Saturdays 1pm & 4pm & Wednesdays 6pm

 

Union Park Holiday Lights & Music

Ongoing

2018 Record Breaking Season for Old Capitol Farmer’s Market

The Old Capitol Farmer’s Market celebrated its 19th season as a DSI program in 2018, with record breaking attendance and sales. From mid-May through October, each Wednesday & Saturday morning, the market is held on Adams Street and 4th. It boasts a total of 70 different vendors throughout the season, selling a wide variety of locally-grown and hand-crafted products, contributing to the economic, environmental and social well-being of downtown as well as the entire Springfield community.

This past summer season was the third year that DSI has partnered with Illinois Stewardship Alliance to manage the day-to-day market operations, and Springfield Area Arts Council to program the music. We are also indebted to our premier sponsor, HSHS St. John’s Hospital, plus supporting partners which include Central Baptist Church, The Dinges Family, Chef Michael Higgins, Springfield Youth Performance Group, Midwest Family, the Kidzeum, SpringfieldMoms.org and many more entities and individuals.

“The Market is a celebration of everything that is Springfield, and the partners are really proud of it,” says Market Manager Deborah Cavanaugh-Grant. “Shoppers can find everything from green zebra-striped heirloom tomatoes specially bred to thrive in this region, to homemade blueberry donuts made by local bakers using blueberries grown in the Springfield area. But the market is so much more than a great place to shop; it’s also a great investment in the community.”

2018 Season by the numbers:

  • NEW record: 65,856 total adult and child visitors (10% increase!)
  • NEW record: $23,377 spent by Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) customers to increase their healthy food intake (43% increase!)
  • NEW record: $11,839 Credit/Debit transactions at the Market Booth (13% increase!)
  • 60 Local & Family-Owned Businesses
  • your Farmers Market food traveled 38.9 miles to get to you
  • 30% Women-Owned Businesses
  • 1733 lbs of fresh produce donated

The economic impact on Springfield is easy to see. According to the National Farmers Market Coalition, sales at locally owned businesses infuse three times more back into the local economy than chain retailers.

Download the visual 2018 OCFM Impact Report.

All Incomes Being Able to Buy

This year, the Market was able to match $10,932 of the SNAP sales thanks to Link-Up Illinois Grant offered by Experimental Station, for a total of $23,377 dollars that went directly back into the pockets of local farms and businesses. The SNAP Match program ensures that families of all income levels across Springfield have access to fresh, wholesome food and that SNAP dollars stay local. This year a new partnership with the

Junior League of Springfield helped increase the capacity for staffing, program planning, and data collection for the SNAP program.

Thanks to a new program in partnership with GenHKids, during 10 Market dates from July 25th – Oct. 3rd, farmers were able to provide 1,733 pounds of fresh produce for low-income families throughout Springfield, furthering the Market as a driver of social good.

Downtown restaurants shop weekly at the Farmers Market.

Economic Spillover for Downtown Revitalization

The #AdamsFamily continues to grow, thanks to the foot traffic created by the Farmers Market and the ability for entrepreneurs to test out their products and grow a fan base. Two 2017 vendors made the move to new brick-and-mortar homes on Adams Street in 2018: Buzz Bomb Brewing Co. and the Itty Bitty Fashion Truck.  Custom Cup Coffee also celebrated its final season selling at the Market, having started as a vendor several years ago and now running a thriving brick-and-mortar location on Monroe.

More Fresh Than Anywhere

Environmentally, farmers and food vendors at the Market travel 38.9 miles one way to bring their products to market, a carbon footprint that is significantly less than that of food on grocery shelves, which travels an average of 1200 miles. Market staff inspect new farm vendors to verify that all products are grown by the farmers and not purchased from wholesale auctions or out-of-state, ensuring that all dollars stay local and truly support area family farms. We work hard so that you can trust that our market is truly “local” and “fresh.”

Award-Winning

The Market remains one of the most popular attractions in downtown. This year, the Market received three accolades: Best Fresh Produce and Best Weekend Activity by the State Journal-Register, and Best Free Entertainment by Illinois Times. According to visitor counts recorded in 2018, 65,856 total adult and children visited the market (an average of 2,634 each Saturday) with a record-shattering 7,299 patrons on opening day, Saturday, May 19.

Chef demonstrations, educational displays by partners, and family fitness programs make the Market more than just a place to shop. St. John’s Hospital offered free health screenings, and a number of community groups offered services, such as free books from the Land of Lincoln Book Share, meditation with the Student Yoga and Mindfulness Project, and a weekly Local Business tent we added as another form of community collaboration.

We also would like to thank the City of Springfield Office of Public Works for helping ensure the safety of the streets where the Market comes alive every single week and the Convention & Visitors Bureau for promoting it to our city’s visitors.

What’s Next for the Market?

Fortunately for Springfield, the final Holiday Market takes place at the State House Inn at 2nd and Adams on December 22, and a Winter Market will take place there once a month from January – April. For a full schedule, see our calendar of events.

Next year we’ll celebrate our 20th year! Contact us if you want to be involved as a sponsor or a community group.

 

Halloween at the Market

DSI and friends are hosting the annual Halloween at the Market, which includes costume contests for kids, families and dogs! This festive event wraps up the 2018 market season. The Market is located in downtown Springfield at 4th and Adams Street.

Representatives from bankwithBOS, HSHS St. John’s Hospital, Mid-West Family Broadcasting – Springfield, IL , Springfieldmoms.org, Springfield Area Arts Council, Illinois Humane, Illinois Stewardship Alliance, Kidzeum of Health and Science and Downtown Springfield, Inc. have combined efforts to create FREE, fun-filled activities for the whole family, including hands-on activities and trick-or-treating with the market vendors.

9:30 – Noon
FREE Children’s Activities (more details to come)
10:00 am
SAAC magician. Canine contestants can register at the Illinois Humane booth
10:35 am
Springfield Youth Performance Group performance.
11:00 am
Children’s Costume Contest for Ages 0-2, 3-6, 7-12 and Family Costume Contest by Springfieldmoms.org. Radio personalities Chris and Deb from 98.7 WNNS will emcee. 1st, 2nd and 3rd Place Winners
Noon
Pet Costume Contest by Illinois Humane. Dog winners will also receive prizes

Boondocks Hosting Benefit Concert for Downtown Revitalization

Boondocks Pub, Central Illinois’ largest live concert venue which was voted Best Nightclub of the Year by the CMAs, is hosting a benefit concert for downtown revitalization on Friday, October 19. The concert features several of the bands who were slated to play Downtown Springfield Inc.’s Amaranth Apple Festival in July. Most of the Saturday line-up of DSI’s downtown festival was unable to perform due to rain and lightning that afternoon and evening.

Doors open at 6:30 pm. Tickets are $20 at the door and all ticket proceeds benefit Downtown Springfield Inc.’s mission. DSI is a 501c6 non-profit working to revitalize downtown Springfield through the Main Street Four Point Approach, which ranges from filling vacancies, to adding public art, to advocating for policy solutions to parking and wayfinding issues.

“We are extremely excited to be able to bring some of our Amaranth Apple line-up back to town under a roof!” said Lisa Clemmons Stott, DSI Executive Director. “The Amaranth Apple Festival is the only festival DSI still produces and it is supposed to be one of our largest fundraisers of the year. Even though the rain stopped our Festival, partnering with Boondocks for this concert shows that Springfield won’t let a little rain stop the progress of revitalization.”

Local architect Tim Smith donated his time over nine months to create the Amaranth Apple Festival main stage line-up for DSI as volunteer Music Coordinator, and it was he who brought DSI together with Pat and Carole Keating at Boondocks to talk about recouping some of the losses.

“With an outdoor festival, the bands get paid no matter what happens with the weather,” said Smith, “but we were mostly just disappointed that these great bands weren’t able to play for a Springfield audience. When Andy and JD expressed an interest in coming back to help out DSI, we jumped at the chance, and we were thrilled that Tom and his band could open.”

“The vibrancy of downtown is good for everyone and it isn’t just DSI’s responsibility. We are happy to open our doors to help raise funds for downtown revitalization,” said Carole Keating.

Tom Irwin’s Hayburners
Irwin, who has been described as “a cross between Buddy Holly and Frank Zappa” works around 200 dates a year and is one of Central Illinois’ beloved singer-songwriters. His recent album All That Love was released last year and was produced by John Stirratt, founding member of Wilco. Irwin hosts a weekly Friday night show at George Rank’s and an “open pic” open mic without a mic at Abe’s Old Hat Antiques every Wednesday. The Hayburners are Brad Floreth-Guitar, Peter Romano-Drums, Bruce Williams-Bass and Chris Camp-Harmonica.

 

Andy Logan and the O.C. 75’s
Headquartered in Nashville, Logan’s current work is described as a “relentless Blues-filled, fuzz laden, energy-driven, vibe-laced, acid tripping train ride.” It expresses his love for Blues in the style of Hendrix, Cream, Free, and Peter Green’s Fleetwood Mac, and also for Bay Area sixties garage bands like The Count V and The Chocolate Watch Band. Transistors of Mercy is Logan’s 4th solo effort, backed by the O.C. 75s* (John Hussey-Guitar, Paul Slivka-Bass, and Brian Glass-Drums).

 

 

JD SIMO
By the time he was five, JD was begging his parents for a guitar. They obliged, and by age 10, he was regularly playing bars backed by older musicians. By 15, he’d dropped out of school, put his own band together and was touring full time. Rolling Stone says the adventurous rock & roll trinity led by JD’s combustible guitar playing and soulful vocals “spins soulful psychedelic blues rock with an improvisational bent reminiscent of the Grateful Dead and Stevie Ray Vaughan.”

Downtown Guide to Date Night

One of downtown’s cutest couples, Emily and Chef Corey from Long Nine Junction 

Did you know that the average American couple spends 132 hours a year deciding where to eat?! Well, the weekend is fast approaching and no one has time for indecision. Our downtown neighborhood is full of activities for all of you lovebirds out there. We’ve outlined a few itineraries to get you out and about enjoying the cooler temps, delicious meals, drinks… and each other!

“Chills and Thrills” Date Night

The 6th street block between Monroe & Adams is full of charming boutiques; however, one particular shop stands out during the Halloween season, as it hosts more than just living customers. The Roost was investigated by the Capital Area Paranormal Society in 2016 and they found the presence of “others.” A child was heard moaning from the basement. Lights go on & off for no reason. Shop inventory is playfully moved about. Watch the video of their investigation and then make this your first chilling stop of the evening.

Afterwards, make reservations for Lincoln’s Ghost Walk: Legends & Lore, where you will learn about the bizarre stories surrounding Lincoln’s life in Springfield. This is an approx 90 min lantern-lit walk that will surely having you snuggling up to your loved one for comfort.

All of that walking will give you a good reason to indulge your appetites, so head to Arlington’s on Broadway. Although not haunted, this restaurant & bar celebrates the silliness of the season all year long by greeting you with their mannequin “Natalie.” You never know what costume Natalie will be wearing or where she will be sitting! Enjoy a fully stocked bar and we suggest choosing one of the many burger options on the menu.

“Lincoln Lovers” Date Night

Lincoln’s Home in Springfield offers tours until 5pm, so start a little early for this date and share a learning experience about our sixteenth president, the guy you just “might” take for granted if you’ve lived here long enough. The home has been preserved in a stunning matter, as well as the neighboring houses around it. Enjoy a leisurely walk along the gravel street while holding hands and taking in the way of life so long ago.

Cross 7th Street and bask in all of fall’s charm in Obed & Isaac’s beer garden. Sit by the fire, enjoy a local brew, share a brick oven pizza, and maybe even a game of bocce ball.

Fun fact: Lincoln loved Shakespeare. He carried copies of Shakespeare plays with him wherever he went. Coming up on November 2nd and 3rd, you can catch Fritz Klein’s one man show featuring Lincoln’s speeches, letters and historical research about him synthesized with elements of the Shakespeare plays he loved. The play will be held at The Old State Capitol.

“Friday Night Lights” Date Night

For this experience, we’re suggesting a few classics, mixed in with a couple new trends. Start your evening perusing Recycled Records, the buyers and sellers of new and used vinyl, cassettes, movies and other knick knacks for more than 26 years. Chat with brothers Mark & Gary during your visit, as their stories & knowledge of music is plentiful.

Next, stop by the Plaza just south of The Old State Capitol for a friendly game of “bags.” Recently, DSI (thanks to many generous sponsors) installed cafe lights along the entire brick pathway, which makes for a picturesque and romantic game for two. Plus a great background for a couples’ selfie.

Directly off the Plaza is Robbie’s Restaurant, where they have live jazz music every Friday evening. This has been a steady offering for the last 18 years, as the Springfield Area Arts Council organizes these performances with proceeds from the evening’s 50/50 raffle going to the arts non-profit. We suggest a pre-dinner drink here while enjoying this free show.

For dinner, head to a fairly new addition to downtown, VELE, on the corner of 6th & Monroe. Chef Justin Richardson has created a menu of modern Italian options including seafood, pastas & steaks, all with deep flavors. The atmosphere is open & social where you are bound to run into an acquaintance or two, but if you are looking for a private place to play footsie, there are corner tables for two that are perfect for date night.

“Adams Street” Day Date

If a day date is what you prefer, you won’t have to go much further than Adams Street. Begin with coffee & breakfast at Cafe Moxo, where you can sit outside and enjoy the falling leaves of this tree-lined area.

Walk the Old Capitol Farmer’s Market until 12:30pm, where you’ll find local vendors of meat, veggies, flowers and even arts & crafts. Halloween at the Market, the final Saturday in October, is always a favorite as it is filled with special activities. The parade of costumes, from adult, to child to 4-legged friends, will make you and your date smile all morning.

After the market, enjoy an afternoon beer at Buzz Bomb Brewery, where you can feel the air on your face as they have a large upward sliding door that opens to the sidewalk. Take a tour of their tap room on the first floor, or head up to the 2nd floor bar and engage your date in a friendly competition with the board game of your choice (the owners have provided you with endless options). As for brew options, we suggest the Maple Vanilla Porter, which is only available seasonally.

Artists Paint the Alley

A tease of the unfinished mural by Jeff C. Williams

This Thursday, September 20, the alley just south of the Myer’s building will be filled with creatives and their fans from 5:30 – 9pm. Adding to last year’s successful art, 3 new professional artist murals will be debuted and an interactive mural will be painted the night of with public participation. A pop-up art show will also be on display just for the evening. Chicago based DJ and funk re-mixer, Acid Dad Crash Pad will be providing music.  Complimentary appetizers by Augie’s Front Burner and a cash bar will be available. Admission is $10 online and $15 at the door. All proceeds benefit future public art projects, part of DSI’s program for downtown revitalization.

Although the celebration of this public art lasts just the evening, the muralists have been working for weeks to finish their pieces. This is the largest scale art most of them have ever created. Locals have enjoyed watching them progress each day and many stop to offer water, conversation and even help!

Muralist Bios:

Newcomer to the scene, Jen Santarelli is an abstract painter who is interested in breaking down common objects like maps and comic book pages into their most basic design elements. Using acrylic paint on canvas, her work has been included in shows at the Pharmacy Gallery, SAA’s BackDoor Gallery, Radon Lounge, and various pop-up art shows around central Illinois.

 

 

Jeff C Williams may be the most well-known in the bunch, as his local popularity stems from singing in the band NIL8. Jeff’s artwork is reminiscent of graffiti and tattoo art, which makes his talent an incredible fit for this event. He volunteers on many local boards, including The Pharmacy Gallery and Art Space. Williams is a lover of bicycling, and has a true niche of combining his love of cycling and painting, landing his canvases in numerous galleries as well as on the cover of a national magazine.

 

 

Brytton Bjorngaard, Shane Harris, Allison Lacher, and Jeff Robinson are Springfield-based artists and frequent collaborators. They are colleagues in the University of Illinois Springfield (UIS) Department of Art, Music, and Theater. They were among a tight-knit group of artists that ran DEMO Project, a space for contemporary art in Springfield that gained national acclaim, and served as Co-Directors of the space until its demolition in 2018. They are committed to art education through teaching, exhibitions, and community programs.

 

This event is only possible because of our sponsors: Solomon Colors, Crawford Murphy and Tilly, and PPG Paints. This year’s building facades were generously provided by the Nickell and Stern Families. Special thanks go to Springfield Art Association staff Erin Svendsen and Corrin McWhirter, members of the Design Council and champions for community art.

 

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