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Yorkville Chamber issues open invitation to annual holiday event

Rachel Conover executive chef general manager for Cobblestone Bakery   Bistro offering appetizers attendees last year’s Jingle Mingle. |

Rachel Conover, executive chef and general manager for Cobblestone Bakery & Bistro, offering appetizers to attendees at last year’s Jingle Mingle. | Courtesy Yorkville Chamber of Commerce

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Updated: December 28, 2012 6:09AM

YORKVILLE — Last year, you had to be a member of the Yorkville Area Chamber of Commerce to attend Jingle Mingle.

But this year, the public is invited — for free — to the festivities at Heritage Home Décor & Design Center, 129 Commercial Drive.

“I think, the more the merrier,” said Rachel Conover, executive chef and general manager for the Cobblestone Bakery & Bistro, 101 W. Van Emmon St.

Conover, who last year manned a booth at the event, serving wine samples, will be on hand for this year’s Jingle Mingle, from 5 to 8 p.m. Thursday to acquaint other business owners — and now, also local residents — with what is available at Cobblestone. This year, in addition to free wine and appetizers, she’ll be hosting a “Sweet and Savory Wine Tasting and Pairing” workshop, and also have cookie trays and holiday baskets for sale.

“I think it’s a great way for chamber members to showcase what they do, especially if we want people to take notice of the changes we are trying to make in Yorkville,” she said.

“And it’s fun. It’s a casual forum, and everyone is in a good mood, in the holiday spirit. Everyone’s talking and getting to know each other. It’s a great time of year to interact and exchange ideas.”

In addition to inviting the public to attend what is being promoted as a “one-stop shop local for the holidays” cash-and-carry event, the Yorkville Chamber this year also is encouraging area businesses that aren’t chamber members, and people who do crafts, to take a booth. Sherri Farley, executive director for the chamber, says that they have 40 vendors, including several food vendors, signed up already and will be adding more until the last minute.

“Last year, this started as a Chamber Network Night, but it was so popular and we thought the businesses would benefit from more exposure — plus it’s fun!” Farley said. “It’s warm inside, and there’s a fireplace and Santa available for photos. And Jimmy John’s this year is bringing free small sandwiches. This year, we’ve invited crafters and we’ll have some free workshops.”

In addition to the wine tasting workshop, Barry Kolanowski from The Compass Group will offer a workshop on “PAUSE: Hitting the pause button to find the time to do what you want to do.” There also will be “Foximus Prime,” a demonstration by the Yorkville High School’s Robotics Club of its competition robot from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., and Health & Wellness demonstrations.

Greg Millen, general manager of the Design Center, who is once again hosting Jingle Mingle with his wife, Rosie, said they are expecting 300 to 400 people to attend Jingle Mingle, as compared to 100 last year.

“The Design Center doesn’t take any money from this event,” Millen said. “All proceeds raised from booth rentals go to the chamber to help fund programming and scholarships. The chamber is charging $35 for chamber members; $45 for non-members; and $70 for a buddy booth. My goal is to raise $1,000 for the chamber.”

Millen said the tough economy requires businesses to try new ways to reach the public. This event is a collaboration of all types of businesses, big and small.

“As a business, you’ve got to put yourself out there,” Millen said. “By offering this event, we have a win-win situation – for businesses, the Chamber, and our residents.”

For more information on vendors who will be available at Jingle Mingle, or to sign up for a booth, visit the Chamber website at or call 630-553-6853.

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