It's all fun and games in La Grange this summer when 30 vibrant, hand-painted game tables are placed in front of local businesses as part of an outdoor art exhibit designed to draw customers to storefronts.
The game tables will be displayed near shops and restaurants from Memorial Day through Labor Day as a way to showcase the local arts scene and encourage people to digitally disconnect. Some businesses will have checkers available to loan, and invite visitors to take time to play with friends and family.
Neighborhood businesses are sponsoring the 32 x 32 wooden game tables and securing local artists to paint them. Designs range from whimsical to sophisticated and contemporary to traditional. The tables were custom-crafted by Wade's World of Woodworking in Batavia, and each features a 16-inch checkerboard pattern in the center.
The engaging art exhibit is sponsored by the Park District of La Grange as a way to encourage people to interact face-to-face.
Trends show that old-fashioned board games have become a new way for Millennials to socialize and make connections. They are the last generation to be raised on board games instead of screen games, and board games allow them to enjoy two of their favorite things: nostalgia and new experiences.
"We wanted to be a part of this initiative because it helps families put down their screens and come together to play, to laugh and to bond," said Dean Bissias, executive director of the Park District of La Grange. "And that's exactly what happens in our parks. Summer board games are a nice complement to our summer programming."
The artfully-designed game tables will be sold at a live auction on Saturday, Sept. 7 from the West End Arts Festival near the Stone Avenue METRA Station. Auction proceeds will benefit local nonprofits including the La Grange Pet Parade.
This is the 14th year that the La Grange Business Association has organized the popular public art exhibit with eclectic themes that have included: elephants, rain barrels, rocking chairs, giant clocks, little free libraries, bird houses, beverage coolers and love seats.
Explore La Grange
To guide visitors through the "Fun & Games" art exhibit and explore La Grange businesses, a walking map is available at local businesses or online here. It's also available on the free La Grange mobile app, available in the Google and Apple stores.
Joe Kroc, the president of the La Grange Business Association, said the sidewalk art exhibit draws attention to the amenities of La Grange and encourages residents and visitors to patronize the small businesses in the community. "This art exhibit is all about bringing people together, making connections and inspiring conversations," he said. "It's a reminder to share time with those around you by taking time to explore your neighborhood."
Think You've Got Game?
The La Grange Business Association will introduce a customized, limited-edition board game, called La Grange-Opoly, in honor of the 140th anniversary of the Village of La Grange this summer. It will feature popular local businesses and iconic La Grange locations as properties in a familiar real-estate game and will be available for purchase at selected retailers and online at www.LagrangeEvents.com.