DuPage County News Briefs

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The Elmhurst History Museum presents “Hometown Holiday: It’s a Wonderful Life in Elmhurst,” a new exhibit that explores the making of the film, the lives of the people who made it, and its journey from obscurity to classic.


COD students sweep HVACR competition

Winners have been announced in the fifth annual Vocational/Junior College HVACR competition hosted by the Chicago Pipe Fitters Local Union 597. The top three finishes were by students from the College of DuPage in Glen Ellyn.

Open to vocational, private and junior/community college HVACR students, the contest included a general HVACR industry knowledge test, a wiring project and a basic practical piping/soldering test. The top three competitors were awarded cash prizes, received plaques and will have their names added to the Local Union 597 perpetual plaque.

The HVACR program at College of DuPage provides students with the theory of refrigeration, air conditioning and heating, electrical circuitry, control equipment, and system design, as well as hands-on experience a state-of-the-art lab on cutting-edge equipment. Students can choose from a variety of certificates, including Energy and Analysis, Service Technician and Stationary Operator, as well as associate degrees such as Contractor, Service Technician and Facility Maintenance Mechanic.


New exhibit explores the making of a classic holiday film

In the summer of 1946, Oscar-winning director Frank Capra and his Oscar-nominated leading man Jimmy Stewart had both returned to Hollywood filmmaking after serving during World War II. Remembering the pair’s pre-war hit, “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington,” the public eagerly awaited the film, titled “It’s a Wonderful Life.”  

The film received solid—if not exactly glowing—reviews when it opened in December of 1946. It did not any of the five Oscars it was nominated for, including Best Picture, Best Director and Best Actor. Although both Capra and Stewart considered it among their finest work, the movie barely made enough at the box office to pay for itself and the financial stress eventually sank director Capra’s Liberty Studios.  

Today, it is considered by many to be among the best American films ever made, and it has become a cherished holiday tradition to watch it year after year.

The Elmhurst History Museum presents “Hometown Holiday: It’s a Wonderful Life in Elmhurst,” a new exhibit that explores the making of the film, the lives of the people who made it, and its journey from obscurity to classic. The key focal point of the exhibit is a private collection on loan from Chicago-area collector Richard Goodson that includes a diverse array of rare photos, advertisements, lobby cards, memorabilia and more to tell the story of “It’s a Wonderful Life.” 

Challenges of filming a holiday movie in California during summertime will be detailed, as well as the careers of the memorable character actors who played a part in the movie.

“Hometown Holiday: It’s a Wonderful Life in Elmhurst” will be on display from Nov. 16-Jan. 6. The Elmhurst History Museum’s hours are Sunday and Tuesday through Friday from 1 to 5 p.m., and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is free. 

Chicago’s Christmas tree was grown in Elmhurst

The star of Chicago’s 105th annual Christmas tree lighting is from Elmhurst. The 60-foot Norway spruce was donated by the Orth family. The tree has stood on the scenic street since the family’s home was built in 1949.

The tree was chosen by the city’s Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events from a field of 79 candidates. To be chosen, the tree had to be at least 55 feet tall and located within 100 mile-radius of the Chicago city center. 

The tree will be lit at 6 p.m. Nov. 16 in Millennium Park, Michigan Avenue and Randolph Street.

Throughout the years the city’s official tree frequently has consisted of many smaller trees. Since 2009, however, a single tree has been chosen by either a contest or nominations. The tree’s location has been changed several times since then — including a move in 2015 to Millennium Park.

Chicago’s first official Christmas tree was lit on Christmas Eve 1913 by Mayor Carter H. Harrison Jr., with heralding trumpets playing atop the balcony of the Chicago Athletic Association building. The 35-foot Douglas spruce placed on 40-foot poles was studded with smaller trees to give the appearance of a much larger tree and decorated with 600 multi-colored lights.


Gingerbread house contest looking for sweet submissions

Gingerbread house enthusiasts have until Nov. 29 to enter the Glen Ellyn Historical Society’s third annual Gingerbread House Contest. Categories are available for youth, teens, adults and groups. Categories for awards include Best Group Entry, Best individual Entry by Age Group, Best Depiction of Glen Ellyn Building or Event, Best Depiction of Historical Building or Event, Best House for Dogs (or other companion animals) and Best House for Birds (or wild animals).

Last year’s grand champion was the Glen Ellyn Police Department.

Admission is free, and entries must be registered by 5 p.m. Nov. 29. Rules and entry forms are available at the historical society’s History Center, 800 N Main St., or via email to Executive Director Karen Hall at director@gehs.org. Return the completed entry form either by mail, in person or email. Gingerbread houses should be brought to the History Center between10 a.m.-5 p.m. Nov. 30 and 10 a.m.-2 pm. Dec. 1. Contest entries will be open to the public for viewing from 4-7 p.m. Dec. 1 at Gingerbread and Candlelight: A Holiday Celebration event at the History Center. Entries are not limited to the structure of a house. For more information, visit gehs.org or call 630-469-1867.



–DuPage County News Briefs–