Elmhurst Man Eager to ‘Light Up the Neighborhood’ on the Fourth of July

by Dave Noble, City News Editor

ELMHURST – Phantom Reloadable Mortars, Crackling Octopus Rockets and a grand finale featuring an assortment of experimental and homemade pyrotechnics will “light up the neighborhood” for more than three hours this Fourth of July when an Elmhurst man celebrates Independence Day with his own annual fireworks display, scheduled to begin at 11:00 p.m. Tuesday night in front of his home on the northeast side of town. 

Complimented by huge explosions, blinding smoke bombs and a Spotify playlist blaring heavy metal music, the man’s fireworks show is expected to be seen and heard throughout north Elmhurst and in parts of Bensenville, Schiller Park, Franklin Park and Northlake.

“I know that fireworks are illegal in Illinois,” said the man, speaking on the condition of anonymity. “But it’s the anniversary of when our founding fathers declared their independence from the Native Americans. So I’m going to celebrate it the way I want to celebrate it.”

Because his home is tucked deep into the subdivision east of York St. on the city’s north side, the man is not worried about the police showing up when he begins his show with a flurry of commercial-use pyrotechnics and military-grade explosives that are to be ignited on the flattest section of his gravel driveway.

“I haven’t been bothered by the cops in the past,” boasted the man, who sees his fireworks show as a community service. “But then again, I’ve never launched a dozen Silver Sonic Warheads from my garage roof in the past, either.”

Insisting that he always keeps spectators at least ten feet away from the discharge site of aerial spinners and canister smoke bombs and that he forbids children under the age of six from using his Roman candles to play tag, the man stressed that safety is one of his four or five greatest concerns when setting off fireworks, particularly those that the man has modified by adding a powder mixture of potassium nitrate, charcoal and sulfur that he learned how to make by watching a You Tube video.

“To be honest, there aren’t too many people around anymore when I put on my show,” said the man, who has noticed an increase over the years of neighbors on his block who either go out of town on the Fourth of July or elect to stay at a local hotel overnight. “We haven’t had a major incident in a couple years now, so why don’t they want to check out my kick-ass fireworks?”

The man has scheduled an event preview on July 3rd, when he will light a few 1600-count strips of Wolfpack Firecrackers around midnight and attempt to reignite some “duds” he saved from last year’s fireworks show.

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4 Fun Things To Do in Elmhurst This Weekend:  June 23rd – 25th

by Dave Noble, City News Editor

ELMHURST – Summer is here and it’s time to enjoy everything Elmhurst has to offer! Here are 4 fun things for you to do around town this weekend.

Play the Role of a “Royal Family” at Smalley Swimming Pool


Enter your new kingdom with bravado and entitlement, commandeer prime seating under a giant umbrella, and empower your children to wreak havoc throughout the land. You and your family are the rulers of Norman P. Smalley Pool in York Commons Park. Your queen will enjoy uninterrupted iPhone usage from her makeshift castle of a half-dozen saved lawn chairs, while your king performs a variety of awkward and inappropriate behaviors throughout the afternoon.

  • Dates/Times:  Friday 12-7 p.m., Saturday, 12-7 p.m., Sunday, 11 a.m. – 7 p.m.
  • Location: 665 S. York St.
  • Cost/Fee:  Tot (2 and under) = Free, Youth (3-15 yrs.) = $7.00 resident/$9.00 non-resident, Adult (16-64 yrs.) = $8.00 resident/$11.00 non-resident, Senior (65 yrs.+) = $6.00 resident/$9.00 non-resident.

Enjoy After-Hours Skin Flicks on the “Explore Elmhurst Trolley”


Couples and lonely individuals who take pleasure in watching erotic films with strangers are encouraged to jump on the Explore Elmhurst Trolley this weekend to view a full feature presentation from the “After Dark” adult series on Cinemax.  The movies begin at 10:30 p.m. on Friday and Saturday night.  

  • Dates/Times:  Friday and Saturday from 10:30 p.m. – 12 a.m.
  • Location:  See trolley stops here.
  • Cost: Free!
  • Trolley riders after 10:30 p.m. must be at least 21 years of age.

Find a Lost Dog


An average of 46 dogs are reported lost in Elmhurst each day. While most of them are later found in a separate wing of the owner’s home, the rest of these canines are roaming throughout town, waiting for you to become a hero by finding them and returning them to their owners. Through the use of social media and a vast network of Elmhurst animal lovers, the average lost dog is reunited with their owner in less than 60 minutes.

  • Time/Location:  Friday-Sunday during daylight hours
  • Location:  Residential streets and parks
  • Cost:  Free!

Go Snorkeling in Salt Creek


The Elmhurst Park District wants you to grab your fins, your face mask, and your Go Pro for an exciting dive into the murky depths of Salt Creek! You’ll encounter many of the common creatures found in and around the creek, like tadpoles, scuds and mosquito larvae. Participants are required to bring their own snorkeling equipment, including harpoons and spears.

  • Date/Time:  Saturday, June 24th at 10:00 a.m.
  • Location:  Canoe launch at Eldridge Park
  • Cost/Fee:  $12 residents/$17 non-residents

Local Property Gurus Bestow Invaluable Advice to Elmhurst Homebuyers


by Dave Noble, City News Editor

ELMHURST – Calling themselves humanitarians who only want what is best for Elmhurst, self-appointed representatives of citizens who are “worried sick” about the number of teardowns occurring throughout town told reporters on Monday that they are generously donating their time and astute wisdom to homebuyers who intend to knock down an existing house and build a new one in its place.

Blessed with the ability to tell others what to do with their purchased property and intent on preserving “historic” homes despite their need for updated wiring, plumbing, roofing, drainage and insulation, these do-gooders are stepping forward to advise property owners on the virtues of restoring the existing home.   

“Our history is being erased with all these teardowns,” said emissary and lifelong Elmhurst resident Dick Potter, who follows every local real estate transaction and contacts the buyers of older homes to find out what they intend to do with the property. “Everyone thinks they need multiple bathrooms and central air conditioning. Wouldn’t they rather forfeit some of those luxuries in favor of pleasing strangers who like to see the older homes?”

For resident and chief busybody Meredith Polly, intervening is a natural reaction when homebuyers pass up the opportunity to pour more money into an older house than what it is actually worth.   

“I know firsthand what it’s like to invest a lot of money into an existing home,” said Polly, who last year spent $400,000 to have a moat built around her south Elmhurst home and then reclaimed an old drawbridge from northern Spain to maintain the symmetry to other properties in her neighborhood. “I think the problem begins with the seller. They should only sell their home to a buyer who plans on fixing it up.”

Elmhurst Police Issue Final Warning to ‘The Knife Sharpener Man’


by Dave Noble, City News Editor

ELMHURST – Stating that neighborhood sidewalks are not the place for using machetes, daggers and mortuary swords, Elmhurst Police Chief Michael Ruth told reporters gathered in the 600 block of S. Parkside Ave. on Wednesday that his department has ordered “The Knife Sharpener Man” to cease and desist from performing tricks and exhibitions for residents that involve any type of sharp instrument. The man Ruth was referring to is blade-edger Tony Del Ciello, who appears regularly around Elmhurst neighborhoods each summer and charges a small fee to sharpen things like kitchen knives, garden shears, and lawnmower blades.

“We received eight phone calls this week from people who said ‘The Knife Sharpener Man’ sliced off their mailbox with a Samurai sword,” said Ruth, “And this morning we caught him over at The Farmer’s Market throwing switchblades at apples atop people’s heads. We’re just trying to keep the city safe.”

While the residents of Elmhurst embrace the 73-year-old Italian from Oak Park and his ability to flatten the tire of a moving vehicle with a ninja throwing star, Ruth wants Del Ciello to limit his services to knife sharpening and refrain from performing stunts like “The William Tell” and “The Devil’s Door” while conducting his business in town. Elmhurst residents think Chief Ruth is getting a little too worked-up over nothing.

“My five-year-old son got his first butterfly knife from Mr. Del Ciello the other day,” boasted S. Washington St. homeowner Mary Hilliard. “And I learned how to shape a toothbrush into a shank. I want to marry ‘The Knife Sharpener Man’, not have him arrested!”

Using the shoulder of the Eisenhower Expressway, Del Ciello pushes his large green and red cart from Oak Park to Elmhurst each day and enters neighborhoods ringing a gong to announce his arrival and using a crossbow to fire arrows at doorbells. Some residents have formed a personal relationship with Del Ciello over the years.

“He’s like an Italian version of ‘The Most Interesting Man’,” said Kirk St. resident Tammy Braxton, who has been sleeping on her front lawn for the past three nights in anticipation of Del Ciello’s unknown arrival. “We hired ‘The Knife Sharpener Man’ for my daughter’s birthday party a couple years ago, and now Tony and I follow each other on Instagram. So I know he’s going to come down my block sooner or later.”

The Elmhurst Police Department urges residents to call 9-1-1 if they see Del Ciello performing any knife stunts outside of “The Five Finger Filet”, which Ruth said “is fine”.