Fun Stuff

It’s Spring, and Time for Lilac Festivals
How do you procrastinate?
What’s your favorite thing to do on a rainy day?
Readers celebrate The Games with their Olympic memories
Movies! Movies! Movies!
Top 10 favorite/fantasy vacation destinations
Ideas for Saving

“It’s Spring, and Time for Lilac Festivals”

The Lilac Festival in Lombard, Illinois, my home town, is the inspiration for the Lilac Festival in Drago, Illinois, that provides a convenient excuse to bring Anton “Zeke the Geek” Zeekowsky back to his Drago, Illinois hometown and the women who want him there.
Lombard has hosted its annual Lilac Festival and parade in May since 1930. Lilac Time in Lombard is a 16-day festival, complete with a Lilac Queen coronation, ending in mid-May. (In 2017, the dates are May 6-21.)  In the grand small-town tradition, many lilac-themed events take place, including concerts, a Mothers’ Day Brunch, an arts and crafts fair, and tours of Lilacia Park, which now features more than 200 varieties of lilac.
Lilacia Park’s garden was established by Col. William Plum and his wife, Helen Maria Williams Plum, who visited the lilac gardens of famous breeder Victor Lemoine in France. They returned with two cuttings (Mme. Casimir Perier, a double white, and Michel Buchner, a double light purple), the forebears today’s collection. After Plum’s death in 1927 the grounds were willed to the city as a park.
 The Lilac Festival in Lombard, Illinois
Corey Seeman, a library services director at University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business, took this photo of the blossoms in Lombard’s Lilacia Park in 2011. As he wrote then, “This was one week after Lombard’s Lilac festivals, but many were still in bloom. What you can’t capture here is the wonderful smells from the blooms.”
Several other North American cities hold annual lilac festivals, including:
The Lilac Festival in Rochester, N.Y., held since 1898, is the longest-running and largest event of its kind in North America, drawing more than 500,000 people annually to the 10-day free event. It’s held in Highland Park, the gift of George Ellwanger and Patrick Barry, owners of the world-famous Mount Hope Nursery. They endowed the community with 20 acres of their nursery’s land and enlisted the help of noted landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted to develop the park. Today, Highland Park has the most varieties of lilacs at any single place, many of which were developed in Rochester.
lilac festival in rochester ny

2013 Lilac Festival at Highland Park in Rochester, N.Y. LtPowers photo

— The Arnold Arboretum in Boston, another Olmstead park, celebrates Lilac Sunday every May. The Arboretum shows off its collection of more than 400 lilac plants, of 194 different varieties. Lilac Sunday is the only day of the year when picnicking is allowed on the Arboretum’s grounds.
— Mackinac Island, on Lake Huron in Michigan, presents a 10-day lilac festival and parade in early June. It’s the first and largest summer event on the Island, attracting thousands of visitors. 
— Lilacs flourish in Taos, New Mexico, and peak the last two weeks of May  The city’s Lilac Festival stages a Grand Festival Weekend that includes a pet parade and costume contest, live entertainment, food and crafts vendors and other family-friendly activities.  
— Spokane, Washington, known as The Lilac City, in mid-May holds its lilac festival and parade, now known as the Armed Forces Torchlight Parade, one of the nation’s largest military appreciation parades.
—  The annual 4th Street Lilac Festival in Calgary, British Columbia, in early June marks the start of the city’s vibrant festival season.

“How do you procrastinate?”

Play a Game 22.10%
Read 16.57%
Do Something on the Internet 12.71%
Miscellaneous 12.15%
Enter a Contest 12.15%
Nothing or Sleep 8.84%
Watch TV or a Movie 8.84%
Visit Someone 3.31%
Clean Something 2.76%

“What’s your favorite thing to do on a rainy day?”

And the winner is … Reading!

Read 58.08%
Other 16.17%
Sleep 9.58%
Watch a Movie or TV 6.59%
Cook 2.99%
Dance and/or Listen to Music 2.99%
Surf the Internet 1.80%
Scrapbook 1.80%

Olympic Memories

Readers celebrate The Games with their Olympic memories.

The most votes went to the 1980 Miracle on Ice, USA winning the gold medal in hockey.

Second place was ice skating/figure skating.

Other multiple vote getters:

  • Apollo Ohno skating/winning
  • Canada Bobsled win 1964
  • Canada men’s/women’s hockey team win
  • Closing Ceremonies
  • Dan Jansen winning speed skating
  • Eddie the eagle
  • Emily Hughes skating
  • Eric Heiden winning 5 medals
  • Female Australian skier winning gold
  • Jamaican Bobsled team
  • Kristi Yamaguchi’s gold medal
  • Mark Spitz winning all the medals
  • Mary Lou Retton winning/smiling
  • Nadia Cominece’s perfect 10
  • Olga Korbut winning her first gold medal
  • The opening ceremonies/parade of nations
  • Sarah Hughes winning the gold/skating her long program
  • Tara Lipinski becoming the youngest figure skater to win a gold medal
  • When the USA wins a medal
  • USA women’s bobsled win

Movies! Movies! Movies!

Wow! I asked for you favorite movies, and did you ever come through. I know it was difficult to choose a single movie as your favorite, and I appreciated the comments about “anything with Cary Grant” or “how can you go wrong with Fred and Ginger?”

I hope you all will enjoy the list and get as many ideas as I did.

Bring on the popcorn!

Your top three favorite movies:

  • Gone with the Wind
  • Pretty Woman
  • The Wizard of Oz

Other multi-vote getters:

  • A Beautiful Mind
  • An Affair to Remember
  • Arsenic and Old Lace
  • Arthur
  • Ben Hur
  • Blade Runner
  • Braveheart
  • Brian’s Song
  • The Bridges of Madison County
  • Caddyshack
  • Casablanca
  • Dirty Dancing
  • Dr Zhivago
  • E.T.
  • Ever After
  • Forrest Gump
  • Fried Green Tomatoes
  • Ghost
  • It’s a Wonderful Life
  • Kate and Leopold
  • Little Women
  • McLintock
  • My Fair Lady
  • Out of Africa
  • Overboard
  • Rebecca
  • Runaway Bride
  • Sabrina
  • Singin’ in the Rain
  • Sixteen Candles
  • Sleepless in Seattle
  • Somewhere in Time
  • Star Wars (any or all)
  • Steel Magnolias
  • The Color Purple
  • The Matrix
  • The Notebook
  • The Quiet Man
  • The Shawshank Redemption
  • The Sound of Music
  • The Way We Were
  • Titanic
  • To Kill a Mockingbird
  • Top Gun
  • While You were Sleeping

Top 10 favorite/fantasy vacation destinations

Patricia McLinn’s readers wrote in with favorite and/or fantasy vacation destinations for a contest. Imagine each one and enjoy a mini getaway!

  1. Sun and Sand
    Hawaii, Jamaica, “beach” and tropical island
  2. Australia
    The Olympics, Brisbane, exploring the outback.
  3. Europe
    Portugal, Ireland, walking tour of the British Isles, Italy, Greece, Crete, Paris.
  4. Disney World
  5. Cruise
    To Alaska, Europe, the Caribbean.
  6. The Mountains
    Canadian Rockies, North Georgia Mountains (Smokies)
  7. Pack the Books
    A week or a month. The Alaska woods, Bahamas, Jersey Shore or tropical island with “all the time in the world to lie on the beach with a good book and a cool drink. Wouldn’t that be heaven? … Yes!”
  8. See the USA
    Maine. Mackinac Island, Michigan, Alaska (“in the summer”) California, Florida, Palm Springs, Calif., walking the boardwalk at the Jersey shore, camping through New Mexico, Vegas.
  9. Family visits
    Go together or get together, location doesn’t matter.
  10. Exotic and fantasy
    South Pacific, Bora Bora, Hong Kong, Peru, Fiji islands, a tropical paradise with no kids, deserted island with significant other, first class grand tour of Europe – including a crossing on the QE II and a ride on the Orient Express, Patagonia, live as honored guest at historical park, Mardi Gras in New Orleans, back-country horseback or motorcycle nature tour of New Zealand, Ghost and Vampire tour, castles and more castles, cottage on the California coast, honeymoon in Mexico, exotic island.

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