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Naper Settlement’s gingerbread man is a nostalgic look at yesterday


UPDATE Nov. 9, 2013 / Fun-loving families filled the sidewalks throughout downtown Naperville Friday evening to see the latest additions to the city’s landscape.

Find Mr. Chamberville, a glistening mosaic work of art by Janet Mamon, near Dean’s Fine Clothing along Main Street.

At 6PM one sculpture after the another in the shape of a traditional “cut-out” of a gingerbread man was unveiled to the accompaniment of cheers.  Each sculpture is decorated to promote a different theme, sponsored by a variety of  local enterprises.

During this month when our country sets aside time to be grateful, remembering Veterans at 11AM on Nov. 11 for their sacrifices and service, and giving thanks for the bounty that is afforded residents in this remarkable city on Thanksgiving Day, take time to appreciate the art and the creative hands that participated in the colorful and whimsical exhibit.

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“I want to see another Gingerbread Man!” said an enthusiastic Charlotte Coyne, as she toured the exhibit with her parents, Kim and Kevin Coyne.

The youngster’s eagerness to see them all brought back memories of the Gingerbread Man’s chant from the traditional story when the gingerbread man came to life and jumped off the cookie sheet to flea the enjoyment of the little old woman who had baked him. During the chase, the Gingerbread Man cried, “Run, run as fast as you can, you can’t catch me, I’m the Gingerbread Man.”

Unlike the fairy tale, visitors to downtown Naperville can catch all 25 of the Gingerbread Men!

After visiting the exhibit, take a moment to vote for your favorite design. The top three vote-getters will be recognized.

Please note that the photos don’t always show the sculptures in their best light. Visit them by day and by night before you make your choice!

Thanks for supporting the arts! Thanks also for shopping and dining locally whenever possible!

UPDATE Nov. 8, 2013 / Locations for 25 sculptures depicting Gingerbread Men are set, ready to unveil the sculptures with 25 different themes that are sure to be attractive this holiday season in downtown Naperville.


During a quick tour this morning from Main Street Promenade along Van Buren Ave. to Washington at Chicago, PN observed the sculptures are under wraps throughout the Central Business District, prepared for the holiday kickoff at 6PM Fri., Nov. 8.  As is tradition, 300,000 tiny bright white lights again will twinkle all during the holidays. And this year a Gingerbread Man exhibit will be showcased in the glow of the evening as well as the light of day.

For instance, one Gingerbread Man is located at the entrance to the parking lot at Dean’s Fine Clothing, across the street from others along Main Street. It’s plaque at the bottom of the covered design reads, “‘Mr. Chamberville.’ Sponsor: Naperville Area Chamber of Commerce.  Artist: Janet Mamon.”  Note also that all the sculptures are intended for viewing only.  A message on this mosaic sculpture urges, “Do not climb or touch. Video monitoring present.”

This evening, student-led music will accompany all that’s a happening wonder in downtown Naperville.

Come on down to help welcome in this Edward Hospital Naperville Marathon weekend when downtown shops and restaurants also will have inviting sales and special surprises.

Iconic ice cream shop’s logo is featured in the design for downtown Naperville holiday exhibit

When 25 gingerbread men sculptures are unveiled as part of the Downtown Naperville Alliance’s holiday lights celebration at 6PM Fri., Nov. 8, one of those sculptures will be a nostalgic look at a gone, but not forgotten favorite, the Cock Robin ice cream shop.

Photo of student artists from Naperville North High School courtesy of Josh Chartier at Naper Settlement. Look for the Gingerbread Man with 24 other themed decorated sculptures glistening with finishing glow-coat among 300,000 bright white lights in downtown Naperville. Cock Robin is sitting on Aurora Avenue at Webster Street.

The gingerbread man sponsored by Naper Settlement is wearing a uniform that includes a bright red visor and apron, adorned with the Cock Robin logo of a jaunty robin wearing a top hat and tuxedo.

The concept for the sculpture was developed by Naperville North High School senior Ethan Cherry, who is president of the high school’s National Art Honor Society. The sculpture was completed by members of the Honor Society under his direction.

Josh Chartier, Naper Settlement’s Director of Organizational Resources, said, “NNHS has done a terrific job for Naper Settlement. This sculpture is a continuation of other art projects that the high school has done around the Naperville area and we are very glad to be partnering with the school to showcase the students’ skills.”

Although it was a first-time effort for his students to work on a piece of public art, Tim Brodeur, art teacher and honor society advisor, has worked on public art sculptures when he was a student at North Central College.

When Cherry began researching the beloved ice cream shop that was a fixture in downtown Naperville for almost 70 years, he discovered how much people missed the Cock Robin restaurant in downtown Naperville.

“I feel like the classic simplicity of the sculpture captures the essence of both Cock Robin and the upcoming holiday season. The depiction of the gingerbread man is universal and, for a lack of a better word, just cute!” Cherry said.

“It reminds me of the kind of gingerbread man that you see in Christmas storybooks and movies. This imagery paired with the iconic red Cock Robin uniform worked out perfectly,” he added.

Tim Penick, digital editor of Positively Naperville began an initiative in 2011 to celebrate the history and culture of the independently-owned ice cream enterprise by creating slate blue t-shirts with the Cock Robin logo, with the blessing of the late Rita Harvard, whose parents, Grace and Walter Fredenhagen, founded and owned Cock Robin.

“We were thrilled when folks at Naper Settlement came up with the idea to use the ‘Cock Robin’ logo on their gingerbread man sculpture,” said Stephanie Penick, publisher of Positively Naperville. “We’re hopeful the logo will bring back fond memories of square scoops of ice cream and the signature boxes of toffee given this time of year.”

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PN Ombudsman
PN Ombudsman
An ombudsman is Scandinavian in origin dating back to Viking times; and refers to a community representative; usually acting independently on behalf of an organization, body of elected officials, or civic group. Thanks Scandinavia for inventing ombudsman.


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