The new library, as of Jan. 23, 2013. (KL Construction)
The new downtown library is coming along, expected to be completed by this summer.
At 42,000 square feet, it will be about the same size as the new Spanish River Library that opened in January 2008.
Interior rendering of the new library. (PGAL)
The city’s library services manager, Tom Sloan, said it will open with about the same number of books (125,000), DVDs and other materials as the old library, but will have many new features, including:
The library is being built at Northwest Second Avenue and Fourth Street (just north of the old one) with funds from a $19.8 million bond issue approved by
voters in March 2003 for the construction of both libraries. The Friends of the Boca Raton Library have donated $250,000 for the downtown project, and The Rotary Club of Boca Raton has donated $50,000 for enhancements to the new Youth Services Center, Sloan said.
Exterior rendering of new library. (PGAL)
The current downtown library is more than 50 years old.
Follow construction progress and get more info at bocalibary.org.
– CHARLENE PACENTI
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Last year's crowds at Meet Me on the Promenade festival.
UPDATED Oct. 25, 2012
The Meet Me on the Promenade street festival in Downtown Boca is back Oct. 27, with food, live entertainment, kids’ activities and more. The festivities planned for Friday night, Oct. 26, have been canceled due to the effects of Hurricane Sandy. Saturday’s events will go on as scheduled.
New this year: Costume contests for kids and pets, shop-to-shop trick-or-treating and a bike zone. Bicyclists can park Comerica Bank, Federal Highway and Palmetto Park Road, and also get bike safety checkups, giveaways and more.
The festival starts at 10 a.m., right behind the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk, which starts at 9 a.m. at the Mizner Park Amphitheater. (You can register for the walk here).
Meet Me on the Promenade continues until 10 p.m. with entertainment, a green market, car exhibits, artists and crafters expo, community resource booths and more. Halloween events for kids start after 3 p.m. Participating shops will be offering special deals, sidewalk sales and more.
Live performances include 11-year-old singer Mason Pace, the BeetleJuice Rock ‘N Roll Monster Revue and the band Shin Dig.
Admission is free. The festival takes over much of the downtown area around Sanborn Square and along Palmetto Park Road east of Federal Highway, as well as Mizner Park and Royal Palm Place. A trolley will be running throughout the area.
Get all the details at DowntownBoca.org.
Find more family fun in Things to Do.
A recent Soundsation rehearsal.
Among the many great arts programs around Boca Raton, there is only one Glee-style show choir: Soundsation at Olympic Heights Community High School.
The 27-member ensemble is the only nationally competitive show choir in all of South Florida. Soundsation will open for Amber Leigh to kick off the Meet Me on the Promenade event Oct. 26 in Downtown Boca.
It will be one of the group’s many shows this year, featuring singing, dancing, glitzy costumes and a high-tech set.
Students audition to get into the show choir – or one of the school’s three other choruses. An 11-piece band joins them for some performances. (Olympic Heights also has a marching band, a jazz band, concert band, color guard and a theater program).
Brad Lister, in his eighth year at Olympic Heights, is the school’s director of vocal music and chair of the Performing and Fine Arts Department. (He is also an opera singer).
His choirs frequently perform throughout Florida, including at EPCOT. They have twice sung back-up for Kenny Rogers.
Show choir is not as popular in Florida, as in some other places, like the Midwest. The popularity of the Glee TV show has not brought more kids to it, Lister said, but “It makes it more socially acceptable for kids to be a part of it.”
It’s a big accomplishment to be able to sing well and dance to complicated choreography at the same time, Lister said, noting that many of the students also earn “superior” ratings in concert choir.
But it’s not all about singing and dancing when it comes to the academic benefits of performing arts.
Students gain confidence and self-esteem, performing in front of thousands of people. They learn time-management skills. Besides spending hours a week on choir rehearsals, many students also play a sport or participate in academic competitions. (Lister also coaches swimming.)
And to participate, they have to keep their grades up.
The parents are involved, too, building sets, altering costumes, bringing over meals during rehearsals – and raising money.
Lister said he figures Soundsation costs about $1,200 a student.
Parents organize candy sales, car washes and more to raise the money for costumes, travel to competitions and to pay the professional choreographer: Rob DiComandrea of New York, who has had an extensive stage career, and has done choreograhpy for musicals, commercials and theme parks.
Roseann Vineberg, whose daughter, Samantha, is student president of the choral department, said Soundsation is a great experience in team work.
“They’re always there for one another,” she said. “They push one another to do better.”
FIND OUT MORE
Soundsation will be the first act for the Meet Me on the Promenade event in Downtown Boca at 6 p.m. Oct. 26, opening for Amber Leigh. (Meet Me on the Promenade continues Oct. 27 with a full day of family-friendly activities. Get details at DowntownBoca.org.)
Olympic Heights Community High School is at 20101 Lyons Rd. It offers “choice” programs in early childhood teacher education; engineering and technology; finance; and tourism, hospitality and resort management.
- CHARLENE PACENTI
Fall is finally here! While the thermometer may not agree for awhile, we do have lots of other signs – including the appearance of roadside pumpkin stands, the reopening of farmers markets and the preparations for Halloween.
Here’s a rundown of some of the highlights of the season:
Sugar Sand Park, 300 S. Military Tr., is the place for kids to celebrate Halloween in Boca. Oct. 24-27, you can tour a haunted house, play in a glow-in-the-dark game room, trick or treat and more.
Get more information at SugarSandPark.org.
Meet Me on the Promenade
In its second year, this Downtown Boca festival takes on a Halloween flavor with costume contests for the kids and pets, as well as shop-to-shop trick-or-treating and a live Beetlejuice Rock ‘n Roll Monster Revue. The event also includes food trucks, a family zone, other live entertainment and more. The event starts at 10 a.m. Oct. 27; kids Halloween activities at 3 p.m. The event is in the area of Sanborn Square and surrounding streets, Palmetto Park Road and Federal Highway. Free parking for bikes at Comerica Bank, on the southwest corner of Palmetto Park Road and Federal Highway. Get the details at DowntownBoca.org.
Bedner’s Farm Fresh Market
The pumpkins have arrived at Bedner’s Farm Fresh Market, 10066 Lee Road (U.S. 441), Boynton Beach. The market also offers a corn maze and hayrides every day except Tuesday. It’s open 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. Hay rides are $3; free for kids under 2. On weekends, you can also get caramel apples, barbecue and more. More information at Bedners.com.
Boca Raton Green Market
The annual market resumes Oct. 6 and runs Saturdays 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. through April 27 at Royal Palm Place, Federal Highway and South Mizner Boulevard. Buy fresh fruits and veggies from local growers, baked goods, plants, fresh seafood and more.
Green Market at FAU
There’s a new green market in town this fall – at Florida Atlantic University’s stadium plaza. Vendors will sell fresh produce, artisan jewelry and organic food, 4 to 8 p.m. Thursdays, with yoga at 6 p.m. Free parking north of Lot 11.
Delray Beach’s annual green market opens for the season Oct. 13 – in a new location, Old School Square Park at Northeast Second Avenue, just north of Atlantic Avenue. It will be open 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays through May 11. Get more info at the Delray GreenMarket blog.
Family Hay Ride & Campfire
Quiet Waters Park in Deerfield Beach hosts a hayride and campfire a few times in the fall and winter. The outing is offered 7 to 9:30 p.m. Oct. 5, Nov. 16, Dec. 14 and Jan. 11 at the park, 401 S. Powerline Rd. Admission is $3.50 for ages 3 and up, including fixin’s for smores, plus park gate admission of $1.50 for visitors over age 5. Tickets must be purchased in advance. Call 954-357-5100.
Halloween Nights at the Museum
Come to the South Florida Science Museum in costume for a contest and trick-or-treat your way through the exhibits. 6 to 10 p.m. Oct. 26 at the museum, 4801 Dreher Trail North, West Palm Beach. Admission is $11 for adults; $7 for kids; free for kids under 3.
Boo at the Zoo
The Palm Beach Zoo gets decked out for Halloween on Oct. 19-28. Festivities include trick-or-treating, games, crafts, a hay stack hunt, decorate-your-own pumpkin patch, bounce house, face painting, Monster Mash dance parties, a costume contest for the animals and more. Hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Oct. 19-21 and 26-28; 5:30 to 9 p.m. Oct. 19 and 26. Admission is $18.95 for adults; $12.95 for kids 3-12; free for kinds under 3. Friday nights are “Safari Nights”, with discount admission of $14.95 for adults and $8.95 for kids.
What’s your favorite fall event? Post in the comments.
Find even more events in the Things to Do calendar.
The King lives in Downtown Boca this weekend, with South Florida’s favorite Elvis tribute artist headlining this month’s Friday Night Live in a free concert.
Chris MacDonald, who takes his Elvis show all over the country, will play at Sanborn Square on May 4, with a band and dancers. His show highlights several stages from “the King’s” career.
The event starts at 6:30 p.m. with a food truck roundup: 4Alarm Pizza, Divan Bakery, Gene’s Joint, Guiseppe’s Italian Sausage, Kona Ice, Latin Burger, Meatballs Etc., Tango Grill and The Philly Grill.
At 7 p.m., a group Boca Bop line dance will take the stage, followed by MacDonald at 7:30.
MacDonald has performed all over the country, including Graceland and Las Vegas, in addition to frequent local shows. Broward County’s Florida Country Music Association once named him Male Vocalist of the Year. (He is playing at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts in August; those tickets start at $42.50).
He has appeared with Elvis’ own original backup group, the Jordanaires. And in February, he presided over a marriage vow renewal ceremony for 50 couples at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino.
The Boca show is part of the city’s new entertainment series on the first Friday of every month. Downtown shops, restaurants and clubs extend their hours and offer samplings, discounts and specials from Mizner Park to Royal Palm Place, along Palmetto Park Road and Plaza Real South.
Here is the schedule for the rest of the year:
Most events are free. Festivities begin at 6:30 p.m., with live entertainment starting at 7:30.
Visit Chris MacDonald’s website or find him on Facebook
Keep up with Downtown Boca events at www.downtownboca.org and on Facebook
The new iPic cinema opens May 4 at Mizner Park. Find a ticket deal at downtownboca.org.
The new iPic cinema opens May 4 at Mizner Park. Find a ticket deal at downtownboca.org.
- CHARLENE PACENTI