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Irving-Austin District Days Aims to Bring Community Together

  The second-annual District Days event promises music, sidewalk sales, a car show and arts and crafts.
Irving-Austin District Days Aims to Bring Community Together
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PORTAGE PARK — The second annual Irving-Austin Business District Days set for Friday and Saturday will give shoppers a chance to score some good deals, see some fancy cars and connect with the businesses trying to bring new life to a stretch of Irving Park Road.

The event will also give local artists and crafters a chance to show off their wares along Irving Park Road near Austin Avenue, and give the businesses along the western edge of Portage Park a boost before the Patio Theater — one of the area's biggest attractions — is forced to close because of a busted air conditioning system.

"It will definitely lighten the mood," said Melissa Basilone, who owns Thrift & Thrive, a resale shop, with her husband, Joe. "We'll still make it through. It's all about resilience. We going to fight to make it work."

Plans call for a sidewalk and arts sale, live music, power-motored rides for children, face painting and a craft table. The classic car show will take place at 2 p.m. Saturday in the parking lot of the BMO-Harris Bank, 5960 W. Irving Park Road.

"It is going to be a lot bigger than last year," Basilone said.

Basilone and her husband formed the business association with the help of the owners of the Patio Theater and Regulus, a coffee shop that has drawn a devoted following.

"We want to have a great time and really build up this community," Basilone said. "People are desperate not to have to drive to Wicker Park or Bucktown to find something cool to do."

Although the Patio Theater expects to close as soon as the summer weather arrives because of the broken air conditioning system that the owners cannot afford to fix, it will be open during the District Days festivities, Basilone said.

District Days will coincide with the carnival at St. Pascal Church, which runs from June 12-16 at 6143 W. Irving Park Road and promises beer samplings and wine flights, a stilt walker, a mani-pedi station and petting zoo.

"It is going to be fun, and a chance to give back to the community," Basilone said.