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Kris Kringle Fest to make its debut

BARRINGTON – Right now, you have 257 days to finish your Christmas shopping. But if you don’t mind last-minute shopping, you might be able to pick up some neat items in downtown Barrington.

The Barrington Village Association, the people who sponsor the farmers market and Uncork Barrington, are starting another venture – Kris Kringle Fest, which is scheduled Dec. 6-8.

Association President Doug Skor believes it can attract “tens of thousands” in its first year. Association members, who are teaming with the Barrington Breakfast Rotary Club to put on the event, hope to make it a 10-day event by 2014. (Full disclosure: I am a member of the Rotary club, but I am not involved with planning the event.)

Skor came up with the idea while he was on his way to an exit interview in December 2009 with his former German-based employer. While staying in a small town near the company’s headquarters, he saw an outdoor holiday market.

“I saw it and thought, ‘I know what the BVA’s next event is going to be,’” he said.

While association members have discussed putting on the market for a couple of years, they concluded that they needed at least one more organizational partner to credibly stage the event envisioned. That was when they approached the Barrington Breakfast Rotary Club. The groups have been working together since August 2012.

Barrington Breakfast Rotary Club member Malcolm Rosenfeld is committee co-chair with Skor. Other committee members include James Baird, Suzanne Gibson, David Loop, Bryan McGonigal, Charlene Moos, Anne Oakley, Jim Otis, Joyce Palmquist, Todd Rhodes, Brett Schulz, Diego Uribe and David Waring.

The site will be around the Harris Bank parking lot and will flow out to Station Street between Cook Street and Grove Avenue.

There will be three components to the event. There will be a retail market with vendors. There will be food vendors. And there will be music on two stages – one outdoor (under a tent) and one in a main pavilion.

“During the day, it will be a family event,” he said. “At night, it will be more oriented toward adults and be open until midnight. We’ll have some popular bands so we can attract people.”

While putting on a festival is a big undertaking, Skor said he is confident that the two groups can pull this off and watch it grow.

“I don’t fear startups,” he said. “It is a big project, that’s for sure. But everyone involved from both organizations has stepped up. I’m not going to sit here and tell you we are going to attract 200,000 for all three days, but why not 30-40,000? That would be a great start.”

• Mike Martinez is a 17-year member of the Barrington Breakfast Rotary Club. Now an editor with Shaw Media, publisher of Barrington Life, he previously served as editor of another Barrington weekly. His column will appear monthly in Barrington Life.

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