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Water works: Elgin’s Green Expo ready for 4th year

Michael Smart | Staff Photographer The Kimball Street Dam areFox River downtown Elgin. | Sun-Times MediFile photo

Michael Smart | Staff Photographer The Kimball Street Dam area on the Fox River in downtown Elgin. | Sun-Times Media File photo

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Updated: June 3, 2012 8:06AM

ELGIN — Up close and personal interaction with the Fox River, in the heart of downtown, will be one of the highlights of the Elgin Green Expo, set for Friday and Saturday at the Centre of Elgin, 100 Symphony Way.

A 5,500-gallon aquarium, filled with fish collected the day before on the Fox, will allow residents to get to know the fish that share the river. Those who want to get a little closer to the water can go on hourlong pontoon boat or canoeing trips on the Fox.

Both the aquarium and the river expeditions are new to the Green Expo, now in its fourth year, and are exciting for its organizers. “How often do you get a chance to see fish from the Fox River?” said Sigi Psimenos, one of the event organizers. On Thursday, representatives from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources will harvest fish for the tank. Those fish will then be transferred to the aquarium — on the back of a semi-truck and the size of a 20-foot semi-trailer — with opportunities to learn about the species and their environments. And, yes, they’ll be released back into the river after the expo.

Set for 1 to 7 p.m. Friday and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, the Elgin Green Expo this year is also expanding opportunities for attendees to learn more about how to live a sustainable lifestyle, Psimenos said. More than 100 exhibitors have reserved space for the Expo, which began in 2009 with 1,500 visitors to the one-day event. Last year, more than 4,000 people attended, and 5,000 are expected this year. All the events can be found on their webpage

Watershed Wanderings

This year, in conjunction with Green Expo, the Friends of the Fox River will host Watershed Wanderings on Friday.

At this symposium, people can learn what our municipalities and subwatershed groups are doing to protect local water quality. Public admission is $20. Following the symposium will be an organic river-oriented dinner, with special guest Chad Pegracke. Gov. Pat Quinn also has been invited.

Topping off the evening will be a FOFR benefit concert featuring supporters Redhorse. Admission is $10, with beer and wine available. All proceeds benefit Friends of the Fox River Education programming.

On Saturday, Expo-goers will get an opportunity to canoe on the Fox from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. The canoes will be about quarter-mile upstream of the Kimball Street Bridge/Gail Borden Library. Volunteers are needed to assist on the water, getting folks ready to paddle, and at the FOFR Expo table. Call Gary Swick 815-370-0026 or email for details or visit the website @

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