46th Annual Sheffield Garden Walk & Music Festival was a success!

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Finally, Mother Nature provided the Sheffield Garden Walk & Music Festival with fabulous sunshine and temperatures.  Since June 1, this has been one of the wettest summers on record; however, the rains held off on our weekend.  

More than 4,000 people viewed the 77 gardens and all of the specialty garden tours and architectural tours were filled. Taking this into account with a record number of kids enjoying the relocated Kids’ Corner on Belden, the diverse assortment of food and beverages, and the great line-up of music, the SGW&MF was very successful.

The Chicago Craft Beer Festival was held for the first time in the Church lot next to the main stage. Over 6,000 craft beer enthusiasts attended this event Saturday and Sunday afternoons, with over 100 craft beers available to sample.  In addition, a second music stage was added on Sheffield north of Belden.

This year, the Sheffield Neighborhood Association partnered with Special Events Management to organize the festivities. This success simply was not possible without great planning by the SNA’s managers, the professionals at SEM, and our many volunteers.  As a result, the Sheffield Neighborhood Association can continue to maintain its beautification program and provide benefits to schools, parks, and other community organizations.

Over the years, monies from the Garden Walk always have been used to improve Sheffield, from its public spaces to the organizations and schools serving our community. For example, the playground area at Trebes Park was rebuilt and the balance of the park totally renovated, including the baseball field, the walkways, the wrought-iron fencing, and the garden beds. Similarly, the beautification planters throughout the Sheffield neighborhood would not be possible without the financial support from the Garden Walk. Finally, our community schools and other social service organizations receive much-needed support, especially important with governmental financial support dwindling.  

Thanks to Our Sponsors

Tom Lawson worked with SEM to generate generous sponsors.  Thanks to all of our major sponsors which included: Blue Moon, WTMX – the Mix, Lakeshore Sport & Fitness,  DePaul University, Treasure Island, Home Depot – Lincoln Park, Christy Webber Landscapes, Christy Webber Farm and Garden, Wintrust Financial/First Chicago Bank & Trust, Fifth Third Bank,  and  St. Vincent DePaul Parish. Our festival simply does not happen without their support.

Patrons’ Party

Hilliary Szanto, Allison Spriggs, and Patty Hayes did an outstanding job organizing this year’s successful Patrons’ Party, generously hosted by Kevin and Amy Meszaros.  A record amount of donations was raised through their efforts.

Kids’ Corner

Kids’ Corner was moved to Belden between Sheffield and Kenmore in order to provide easier access to the main festival area.  There was another terrific mixture of activities for our neighborhood kids. These included the camel rides, other rides, face painting, athletic demonstrations from Lakeshore Sport & Fitness, music from DePaul and Midwest String Rentals, and hands-on crafts from Home Depot-Lincoln Park.  Special thanks to The Friends of Mayer, who again provided the food service in Kids Corner.

Architectural Tours

We again were overwhelmed with visitors wanting to experience the architectural history of Sheffield.  A perennial thanks to Polly Kelly for organizing the architectural tours, which were totally filled.

Music

Dan Hermann and the music experts at SEM collaborated on another great mix of music on the main stage and the new second stage on Sheffield, providing a great selection of original and tribute music.   Headliners including ZZ Ward, Meiko, Workout Music, Freddy Jones Band, and the Samples drew large crowds and provided great entertainment.  

The executive committee of Tom Lawson, Patty Hayes, Dan Hermann, Richard Ashbeck, and myself, together with DePaul University, Father Jeremy Dixon and SEM worked tirelessly in bringing together all of the facets necessary to make this year’s festival one of the best ever.  And of course, shouldering the workload were our many managers, some of whom have been involved for over 15 years. They were Randy Royer, David Zoretic,  Polly Kelly, Sabrina Lee, Terry Tolwin, Rhonda Emrich, Ami Albert, Jeannie Lawson, Laurie and Tony Dombrowski, Hilliary Szanto, Ted Wrobleski, Allison Spriggs, Tom Call, and Bob Beatty, as well as the scores of volunteers that helped at the gates and with beverage sales.   

See you next year for our 47th Sheffield Garden Walk & Music Festival, July 18-19, 2015.

Laury Lewis is Co-Chairman of the Sheffield Garden Walk & Music Festival.

For more Garden Walk photos, visit http://www.sheffieldgardenwalk.com/gallery.