'Windy City Weekend' talks Lollapalooza, Venetian Night Chicago

This weeks' co-host was Brooke Fletcher, of "The Rally" on Bally Sports

ByABC7 Chicago Digital Team WLS logo
Friday, August 4, 2023
'Windy City Weekend' host chat
Brooke Fletcher joined Ryan for host chat.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- This week on "Windy City Weekend," while Val's still out, Ryan is joined by co-host of "The Rally" on Bally Sports, Brooke Fletcher.

Lollapalooza 2023

Lollapalooza 2023 is here. Billy Eilish kicked off the first night Thursday, and Ryan and Brooke talk about the star-studded lineup for the rest of the exciting weekend

Death in plastic, it's fantastic?! People are getting Barbie-themed caskets

Mega Barbie fans can showcase their love for Mattel because they're getting hot pink caskets.

If you LOVE pizza, you could make $110,000 a year!

Do you really love pizza? Because you could be making some serious money!

ComEd EV Race

ComEd's EV Race took place last Saturday, and the champions were crowned.

ComEd's EV Race took place last Saturday, and the champions were crowned.

Nine teams put their meticulously crafted go-karts to the test on a custom racecourse. They competed for the coveted EV Rally Cup and other exciting prizes.

"Windy City Weekend" says congratulations to the team, Lilac Laser, for being the 2023 ComEd EV Rally Champions!

But everybody's a winner because each girl also received a $2,000 STEM scholarship.

Additionally, to further inspire interest in STEM, ComEd gave away 500 Museum of Science and Industry tickets, so more girls from the region and their families could experience the museum and witness the thrilling race.

By offering programs like the EV Rally, ComEd is actively preparing today's youth for the promising career opportunities that lie ahead in STEM and the clean energy sector, the company said.

Visit ComEdEVRally.com to learn more about upcoming STEM educational events.

Special Spaces

Special Spaces Illinois is the largest chapter of Special Spaces with over 300 dream bedroom makeovers over the last 10 years.

When 9-year-old Ryan Block first saw his newly renovated bedroom, equipped with a high-powered computer, pulsing LED lights, and video-game themed decorations, he was all smiles but speechless.

It was a far cry from his intense battle with Burkitt's leukemia, which put him through months of chemotherapy treatment in 2022.

"My cheeks hurt from smiling. I just can't believe it," said his mother, Christina Block. "I mean, this is the coolest thing ever."

Block, as well as his two sisters, received bedroom makeovers thanks to Specials Spaces Illinois, the largest chapter of the nonprofit organization Specials Spaces. Special Spaces is a nonprofit organization that started creating dream bedrooms for children with cancer in 2004.

"Our mission statement is 'creating dream bedrooms for kids with cancer,'" said Kelly Knox, the director of Special Spaces Illinois. "Our tagline is 'changing children's lives, one bedroom at a time.'"

Dream Bedroom Coordinator Christy Gallagher directed a team of carpenters, painters and furniture builders to transform three bedrooms at the Block home into exactly what the kids had in mind when they met with a Special Spaces designer. Along with Ryan's gaming-themed room, 7-year-old Tegan and 19-year-old Taylor received refreshed bedrooms with new furniture and fresh coats of colorful paint.

"We take that child through the journey of a dream bedroom makeover," said Knox. "They meet with a designer. They have control over that room."

Every Special Spaces Illinois makeover is accomplished in one day with the help of a sponsor. Home Depot Manager Patrick Kotus, who also serves on the Special Spaces Illinois board, brought a team of volunteers from the Bartlett and Carol Stream stores to help renovate the bedrooms with materials they donated.

"Those sponsors not only give the money; this is a day of teambuilding and bonding," said Knox, "A sponsor kind of 'adopts' that child."

The Blocks' bedroom renovations are just three of more than 300 makeovers Specials Spaces Illinois has done since the chapter's founding 10 years ago. Knox said every reimagined room is a haven for kids and their siblings who experience so much pain and loss of time in treatment.

"After experiencing 300 of these, you would think it gets old, but it doesn't," said Knox. "We're helping families and helping kiddos who really need something."

After seeing her room, Taylor Block joked to her mother that now she was "never leaving her room," a statement which Knox said she had heard before.

"We did a room makeover this past year and the child said to dad, 'Dad, can you ground me so I never have to leave my room?'" said Knox. "That encapsulates what we want the child to feel."

For more information on Special Spaces Illinois, visit specialspaces.org/our-chapters/illinois.

Join Special Spaces Illinois as they celebrate their mission of changing children's lives one bedroom at a time. Share in an enchanted evening where you will be treated to cocktails, dinner and a live musical event, while having the opportunity to give back during the live auction and paddle raise.

Take a journey with them as you hear touching stories of some of the Special Spaces families and help them make their vision of creating even more dream bedroom makeovers for deserving children a reality.

At this time, they are inviting their previous attendees and friends of Special Spaces to an exclusive pre-sale: specialspaces.org/dreamingbig2023.

They encourage attendees to purchase their table now as tickets sold out last year. They cost $1,500 for a table accommodating up to 10 guests in each party.

Spend or Save

Here's what you should spend money on this weekend.

"Winning Team: Season 2" - SPEND

Coming back for a second season, "Winning Team" on MAX showcases the rise to game for the Lakers in the 80s, and their rivalry against the Boston Celtics.

"Dreamin' Wild" - SPEND

Casey Affleck stars in "Dreamin' Wild" about two brothers who find musical success after their debut album is rediscovered three decades later.

"The Lost Flowers of Alice Hart" - SPEND

Adapted from a novel by the same name, "The Lost Flowers of Alice Hart" follows a young girl whose life is turned upside down when she goes to live with her grandmother on a flower farm.

"Mob Land" - SPEND

John Travolta stars in his latest flick "Mob Land" about a small-town sheriff who tries to keep the peace against a violent mafia group.

Venetian Night Chicago returns

The popular lighted boat parade known as Venetian Nights is returning to Chicago Saturday.

The popular lighted boat parade known as Venetian Night is returning to Chicago Saturday.

This year, the 31st Street Harbor Association of Black Boaters will join the Italian American Human Relation Foundation in bringing the Italian tradition back to the waters of Lake Michigan.

The time-honored tradition is named and modeled after the boat parades in Venice, which are typically a Christmas tradition, while the Chicago Venetian Night is a mid-summer festival.

The free event runs 8:30 to 10:30 p.m. at Monroe Harbor.

Rapper Brendan Tripodi, also known as BIG TRIP, will perform live on the lake at 10 p.m. The performance will immediately be followed by the city of Chicago fireworks show.