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Criterium block party has new art auction to aid beach

Deb Dintruff Lake Bluff attaches an informatitag chair painted donated by Grace United Methodist Church youth group benefit Sunrise Park

Deb Dintruff of Lake Bluff attaches an information tag to the chair painted and donated by the Grace United Methodist Church youth group to benefit Sunrise Park and Beach. | Linda Blaser ~ Sun-Times Media

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Updated: August 20, 2013 6:40AM

Lake Bluff is one busy town.

Just as the cleanup ended from the Fourth of July parade, setup for the Northwestern Medicine Lake Bluff Criterium and Friends of Lake Bluff Parks Block Party — set for Saturday, July 20 — began.

A big clue revealed that something was afoot: The sudden appearance of 26 hand-painted Adirondack chairs in strategic locations in downtown Lake Bluff.

“We wanted to do something to add a little punch to the block party, so we came up with this idea,” resident Joy Markee said.

Taking a cue from Chicago’s popular Cows on Parade exhibit from 1999, Markee had a flash of inspiration that the fourth-happiest seaside town, as judged by Coastal Living Magazine in 2012, should host an Adirondack chair exhibit and silent auction.

The idea meshed well with the new organizers of the block party, Friends of Lake Bluff Parks, and their desire to continue the event as a benefit to Sunrise Park and Beach.

Each one-of-a-kind, hand-painted chair will be sold through a silent auction from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., Saturday.

Bidders have a wide choice of styles, as each wooden resort chair is unique to the artist — or group — that painted it. There’s a solid purple chair with wineglass holder, a Chicago Cubs chair, green camouflage, hand prints, circles, flowers and more.

“There’s something for everyone,” Markee said.

Lissy Blume, 7, of Lake Bluff sat shyly in her donated chair after dropping it off with her family in front of Village Hall on Friday afternoon, July 12, checking it out one last time before the chairs were positioned around town.

Lissy, the youngest artist to try her hand at project, wanted to help with the restoration of Sunrise Park and Beach, her mother Hollis Blume said, in the best way she knew how.

“She just loves art. If it involves painting or drawing or any kind of art-related thing, she is all over it,” Hollis said.

Purchasing the chair kit and donating her finished work back seemed like the right thing to do.

“I think we might just have to bid on a chair,” Blume said. “Maybe one in particular.”

Christine Hides, director of Christian education at Grace United Methodist Church in Lake Bluff, dropped off a chair adorned with a circles in varying sizes and colors.

“Circles represent community and collaboration,” Hides said. “Our youth did this together as part of a service day. We thought it would be a nice way to give back to the community for the beach improvements.”

Deb Dintruff, who’s organizing the 2013 block party in its transition to the Friends of Lake Bluff Parks, thinks the chair project is a good one that brings together members of the community.

“People paid for them, painted them and donated them back. Everybody’s trying to do their part,” she said.

In addition to the chair auction, block party activities include a sidewalk chalk contest, park district games on the green, an antique bike demonstration, as well as seven live bands performances beginning at 1:20 p.m. and ending at 11 p.m.

Vendors will have food for sale throughout the party, with a portion of all proceeds benefiting the Friends organization.

The Northwestern Medicine Criterium amateur men and women bike races start at 10:50 a.m., with the professional women’s race set for 4:40 p.m. The Lake Forest Bank Kids’ races start at 5:50 p.m. The final race, the professional men’s, starts at 6:30 p.m.

This year’s race has attracted professional bike racers from the United States and abroad.

“It will be a very competitive group of American riders on national level, plus a smattering of other racers from around the world,” said race organizer Marco Colbert.

The start and finish line is at east Scranton Avenue at Oak Avenue. The nearly three-quarter-mile closed-off course winds through the downtown district and back east to Prospect and Glen avenues.

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