Plenty ahead to look forward to

Opinion: Columns

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Laurie Kokenes

January never has the pizzazz that the months of November and December have. The holidays are over, the gray days of winter set in and there's not much to celebrate. Of course, there was Fruitcake Toss Day on Jan. 3, which could be a lot of fun. There's more than one way to toss a fruitcake and personally, I think a competition much like the Casket Races could be born from this national holiday. There was also Learn Your Name in Morse Code Day, which sounds pretty exciting.

If you missed the January fun you can take solace in the fact that it's finally February, and Punxsutawney Phil promises an early spring. I'm holding him to that because we have lots to celebrate, beginning with the 25th anniversary of the Forest Park Chamber's annual St. Patrick's Day Parade on March 7. If you have a business — big or small — you'll get tons of visibility (7,000+ attendees) by being in the parade. If you've always wanted to march in a parade, feel free to join us! Get in on the fun and get your entry form at You'll also find the sponsor form on our site. Sponsorship is also great for exposure and helps support the parade. We'll have a cake cutting, anniversary merchandise for sale, and more. Stay tuned!

Since January ended less than a week ago, we're still in "new year" mode — and we're excited about 2020. We recently rolled out our new membership tiers with added benefits. Our 2020 focus will be on supporting and promoting local businesses, bringing more people to town, and marketing Forest Park as a great place to live, work, shop, dine and play. The Chamber will continue to host the spring and fall Wine Walk (April 18 and Nov. 7) along with the fabulous Casket Races and the Holiday Walk. Give us a call if you like to volunteer!

There's always something to celebrate in Forest Park: our much loved, newly renovated library reopens in all its glory this Saturday; District 91's Project Kindness Week is this month (Feb. 10-16); the Park District of Forest Park was awarded the IPRA Outstanding Special Event Award for the No-Gloves Tournament; POP Pediatric Therapy is expanding to a space three times its current size less than a year after opening on Madison Street.

Accents by Fred is entering its 20th year in business in Forest Park. Team Blonde added kid's haircuts and styling to their salon offerings. Augie from Centuries & Sleuths received a grant and was recognized by James Patterson through the Holiday Bookstore Bonus Program. Creativita and Core Strength are both celebrating five-year anniversaries.

Let's keep celebrating Forest Park in all we say and do and remember to shop local and shop small.

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