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District Days Set Up for Spruced-Up Irving Austin Business District

 The fourth-annual District Days event promises music, sidewalk sales, a car show and arts and crafts.
The fourth-annual District Days event promises music, sidewalk sales, a car show and arts and crafts.
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DNAInfo/Heather Cherone

PORTAGE PARK — The fourth annual Irving-Austin Business District Days will give shoppers a chance to score some good deals, see some fancy cars and get a glimpse of a spruced-up stretch of Irving Park Road.

The event is designed to give local artists and crafters a chance to show off their wares from 10 a.m.-8:30 p.m. June 19-20 along Irving Park Road near Austin Avenue, and give the businesses along the western edge of Portage Park a boost, said Joe Basilone, one of the founders of the Irving-Austin Business District.

Plans call for a sidewalk and arts sale, music and crafts, organizers said. The classic car show will take place at 3:30 p.m. Saturday in the parking lot of the BMO-Harris Bank, 5960 W. Irving Park Road.

The band Dizzy Liver will headline both days of the fest in the bank parking lot, with several other bands set to rock 'n' roll under the marquee of the Patio Theater, 6008 W. Irving Park Road.

An art show will take place in the former movie palace's lobby, organizers said.

The festival will give many shoppers glimpse of the first results of a $600,000 streetscape project designed to make the shopping district on Portage Park's western edge more walkable, officials said.

The work includes space for the Far Northwest Side's first "People Spot "at Irving Park and McVicker Avenue — but the interlocking aluminum wood furniture is not ready yet, Joe Basilone said.

"We're hoping the city will give us permission to put some tables and chairs out there in the meantime," Basilone said.

Other improvements include ramps at each corner to ease the path for wheelchairs, strollers and bicycles, along with benches, bike racks, new trash cans, new trees and pots full of native plants.

In addition, the area will get pedestrian-friendly crosswalks, bigger sidewalks and new metal light pole banners featuring the logo of the Irving Austin Business District from Austin to Meade avenues.

Three intersections will be "stamped" with a decorative circular design on the pavement in an effort to encourage drivers to slow down — and give the business district a distinctive identity, according to the plans.

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