The 630 | February 2016

February 2016 View more

Photo by Colleen Abrahamovich

Photo by Colleen Abrahamovich

Get to Know the Pro: Cameron Brate

By Ryan Porter

There are always young men throwing the football around in the backyard, envisioning themselves catching a touchdown in the NFL. For some, that will be nothing but a simple fantasy, however, Cameron Brate’s became a reality.

“He is a special athlete, a hard worker, a very driven and focused individual on where he wants to go in life,” said Naperville Central head football coach Mike Stine, realizing early in the career of Cameron Brate, that he possessed the potential to have a successful career. Cameron Brate, the Naperville native, harnessed all of his talent and dedication to successfully finish his second year in the NFL, playing tight end for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

In 2014, the Buccaneers signed Brate in college free agency, eventually scoring a 2-year deal with them.

While growing up, Brate always enjoyed watching the Chicago Bears, who were at the time coached by Lovie Smith. Brate had the honor of playing for Smith for the past two seasons with the Bucs.

“The season is very long. Everyday you have to be doing something. Whether that is film or working out. In the NFL you’re constantly busy for four and half months straight. Your body kind of gets beat down,” said Brate.

Brate, trying to make a name for himself around the league this year, successfully did so by scoring three touchdowns, adding nearly 300 receiving yards to the stat sheet. Having the honor of catching those touchdowns by 2013 Heisman Trophy winner, Jameis Winston.

Like any professional athlete, you have to start somewhere. Brate began his football endeavors in second grade, playing in the St. Raphael Football League for five years, all of which were with the Eagles.

“Those were good times back in the day. I played pretty much every position,” said Brate. “I just really learned to play and love the game. I have some very fond memories playing in that league.”
Brate continued on to become a star tight end at Naperville Central High School, where as a 2010 graduate, he played for head coach Mike Stine. In his senior year, Brate was named to the All-Dupage Valley Conference first team along with being selected for All-Area.

Coach Stine knew from day one that Brate had talent. Even to this day, Stine says he never coached anyone who had the ability to go up and catch the ball like Brate did.

“His uniqueness of his size, the ability of him to run, and I tell people all the time, he has the best hands of any athlete that I have seen at Naperville Central. The ability to catch the ball away from his body, to catch it in tight spots, and his overall knowledge of the game, he understands it.”

Not only does Brate receive high praise from his former coach, but his teammates as well. Brate was always known for his positive and outgoing attitude on and off the field, always striving to be the best teammate he could possibly be.

College coaches soon began to take note of the talented tight end. Brate had several Universities to choose from including offers from, Northern Illinois and Western Michigan. However, once Ivy League school, Harvard University expressed interest, it was an opportunity Brate could not refuse.

In college, Brate experienced a bit of a roadblock going into camp being too light. He added about 30 pounds in his Harvard career. After the minor bump in the road, Brate excelled in his career at Harvard, being fourth in Harvard history with 18-career touchdown catches.

Brate is fortunate to have a very supportive group of people  along the way ranging from his family, friends, and teammates. Like many, Brate’s parents were extremely supportive, helping him through thick and thin. Both parents, who are teachers, were ecstatic when the Harvard opportunity came up because of the schools academic legacy. College teammate and current fullback for the Baltimore Ravens, Kyle Juszczyk, is also credited as being one of Brate’s greatest motivators, always pushing him to be the best player he could be.

Brate graduated from Harvard with a degree in Economics. He expressed interest in the finance field, completing an internship one summer. Along with plans this summer to apply to Indiana University’s business school in a program with the NFL, one of his personal goals is to work toward an MBA. He plans to pursue his finance career once he closes out his football career.


Ongoing Through February 21
Get set for a high-octane ride with thrilling choreography, rockin’ tunes and explosively colorful costumes—plus some really cool hairdos—when the Paramount Theatre, 23 E. Galena Blvd. in downtown Aurora, presents Hairspray—The Broadway Musical. Director and choreographer Amber Mak makes her Paramount directorial debut with this high-energy song and dance party. Tracy Turnblad is a plus-size teen with plus-size hair, and she has one big plus-size dream—to dance her way onto Baltimore’s smash hit TV show, “The Corny Collins Show.” Every day after school, she and best friend Penny bee-line home to watch the cool kids shake the rafters to the hottest tunes on Collins’ program. When a dance slot opens on the show, Tracy gets help from her friend Seaweed, who puts enough groove in her step to win that dream role and life is never the same again. But Tracy doesn’t rest on her stardom, instead, she uses her new celebrity to racially integrate the TV show and change the lives of Baltimore folks forever. Based on the John Waters hit movie, Hairspray is sure to entertain the audience with its high-energy entertainment. More importantly, under all the glitz, Hairspray reminds us of the importance of individuality and the acceptance of one another: a wonderful message to share with everyone. Rated PG. Parental guidance suggested. Some material may not be suitable for children. Out of respect for our patrons, children ages 2 and under are not permitted in the theater unless they attend a specific designated children’s show.

Snowshoe and Cross-country Skiing at Morton Arboretum

Now through March 6, weather permitting
Explore 3.5 miles of groomed ski trails on the grounds of The Morton Arboretum via snowshoe or cross-country skis, or blaze your own path along hiking paths on days with four or more inches of snow on the ground. Equipment is available for rental in the Visitor Center or bring your own. Cross-country ski rentals and snowshoe rentals are available weekdays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., weekends from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. For more information, visit the Morton Arboretum Information Desk at the Visitor Center or call ahead to see if conditions are good for rentals 630.968.0074. Morton Arboretum, 4100 Route 53, Lisle.

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Courtesy Janet Macoska

Jim Brickman in Concert

February 6, 8 p.m.
Jim Brickman has become one of the most commercially successful instrumental pop pianists of the last three decades. He’s amassed 27 Top 40 singles on the adult contemporary charts, including 14 Top 10 smashes. Four of his albums have been certified gold by the Recording Industry Association of America for sales of more than 500,000 copies. Overall, he has sold more than 7 million albums. Music lovers will experience the sounds of award-winning hit maker, pianist and recording artist as he brings one of the most entertaining and romantic concert events of the year with “Jim Brickman Live in Concert.” Brickman’s engaging stage presence seamlessly blends mood and music to touch the heart in a special way, letting fans’ imaginations take them wherever they want to go. With dazzling solo piano and star-studded vocal collaborations, Brickman will wow audience members with his hits, including “Valentine,” “If You Believe,” “Love of My Life” and more. “Jim Brickman in Concert” strikes the perfect balance between musical intimacy, compelling storytelling and audience interaction. North Central College, Wentz Concert Hall, 171 E. Chicago Ave., Naperville. For more info,


Courtesy Chicago Auto Show

2016 Chicago Auto Show

February 13 to 21
First staged in 1901, the Chicago Auto Show is the largest auto show in North America and has been held more times than any other auto exposition on the continent. This year marks the 108th edition of the Chicago Auto Show. The Chicago Auto Show utilizes more than one million square feet in the North and South Exhibit Halls of the McCormick Place complex. McCormick Place offers a total of 2.7 million square feet of exhibit space with an additional 700,000 square feet of meeting room availability. The public portion of 2016 Chicago Auto Show will run Saturday, February 13 through Sunday, February 21. The Chicago Auto Show hours will be 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. each day except for the last day when the show opens at 9 a.m. and closes at 8 p.m. Ticket Prices remain unchanged: $12 for adults and $7 for seniors and children age 7-12. Children age 6 and under are admitted free. Special days include Family Day on Feb. 15, Women’s Day on Feb. 16 and Hispanic Day on Feb. 19.

Naperville Park District Culinary Date Night: Valentine’s Day Dinner

February 13, 6:30 p.m.
If you love to cook with your special someone or would like to surprise them with new culinary skills, spend the evening learning to prepare a gourmet meal. Bring a bottle of wine to share with your partner as you enjoy your culinary creations. Course fee is per person. Menu includes tomato jam crostini with goat cheese, marinated skirt steak over a bed of salad greens and chocolate pots de crème. Recipes provided. Program runs between 2 to 3 hours. 95th Street Culinary Arts Room 303, 2244 W. 95th Street. $46 Naperville residents, $69 nonresidents. Registration deadline is 48 hours in advance of the program. Designed for ages 18 and up. Visit or call 630.848.5000 to register.

Theatreworks USA “Aesop”

February 13, 10 a.m. and 1 p.m.
Join a young boy in “Aesop” who finds himself in a world where Aesop’s famous fables come to life. Animals of all kinds help Elliot on his quest of discovery and his desire to get back before the school day ends. He learns that obstacles can be overcome if you believe in yourself and look at all the possibilities that life holds. North Central College, Wentz Concert Hall, 171 E. Chicago Ave., Naperville. For more information visit

Chocolate Walk

February 13, Noon to 5 p.m.
Sure to satisfy any sweet tooth, take part in downtown Naperville’s inaugural 360 Youth Services Chocolate Walk Valentine’s Weekend to benefit 360 Youth Services. Attendees will receive a commemorative souvenir Chocolate Tin along with a map touring many downtown Naperville shops and restaurants where you’ll experience chocolate tasty treats and chocolate surprises. A perfectly delectable way to spend Valentine’s Day with the ones you love in support of a good cause. Limited tickets for sale are available for purchase $25 per person/tin (cash or check only) at 360 Youth Services, 1305 Oswego Road, the Naperville Area Chamber of Commerce offices, Main Street Promenade, 55 S. Main Street, suite 351. For more info, visit

Naperville Park District Engineering FUNdamentals: Mine, Craft, Build Using LEGO®

February 15, 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.
Bring Minecraft to life using LEGO. Build a motorized walking Creeper, a terrifying Ghast, and a motorized Minecart. This project-based camp, designed by Play-Well instructors, combines the basic format of core engineering-themed programs based on the world of Minecraft. Explore real world concepts in physics, engineering and architecture while building your favorite Minecraft objects. Have a blast, even without any prior experience with Minecraft or LEGO. Designed for those in grades 2-5. 95th Street Center, classroom 210, 2244 W. 95th Street. $36 for Naperville residents, $54 for nonresidents. Visit or call 630.848.5000 to register.

School’s Out Day Camp – Messy, Mad Science

February 15, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Making a mess is generally frowned upon, but during this School’s Out Day Camp—Messy, Mad Science at Naper Settlement, 523 S. Webster St., Naperville, kids in grades 1–5 can experiment with everything from slime to silly putty to gaseous compounds of foaming, fizzing and bubbling explosions. Fee is $45 per camper per day. Enjoy discounted admission when you register for all three School’s Out Day Camps: Feb. 15, March 4, and March 30. Registration is required. Call 630.420.6010.

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Courtesy of the McAninch Arts Center

Fiesta Mexico-Americana! Los Lobos with Ballet Folklorico Mexicano

February 21, 7:30 p.m.
Don’t miss this one-night only exclusive collaboration between two legendary groups—Grammy Award-winning band Los Lobos and critically acclaimed dance group Ballet Folklorico Mexicano. This is a celebration of Mexican-American culture through a spectacular display of song, dance, music and film. McAnnich Arts Center, College of DuPage, 425 Fawell Boulevard, Glen Ellyn. For more information, visit

2016 Naperville Winter Ale Fest

February 27, Noon to 4 p.m.
The third annual Naperville Winter Ale Fest will take place on Saturday, February 27. Situated on the frozen tundra of Naperville’s Frontier Park, the fest will feature over 130 unique beers from craft breweries around the country. Pull out your long-johns and parkas, it’s time to experience winter’s best craft beers. The fest will also feature live music and food from some of Chicagoland’s favorite food trucks. The goal of the Naperville Winter Ale Fest is to showcase American Craft Beer while supporting the Naperville Community. A portion of the proceeds from the fest will benefit the Naperville Parks Foundation. The Naperville Parks Foundation is an advocate for our parks and open spaces established to receive and allocate charitable gifts, grants, and donations and to provide support and funding for the enjoyment of present and future generations. General admission tickets will be available at the gate for $50, designated driver tickets are $15. Naperville Winter Ale Fest ticket holders will receive 18 drink tickets. Each drink ticket can be exchanged for a 3oz sample. This is a strictly 21 and over event.


Courtesy Paramount Theatre


February 26, 8 p.m.
February 27, 2 p.m. and 7 p.m.
There’s a reason Planet Hollywood in Las Vegas built a theatre for the sole purpose of housing STOMP and there’s a reason they sold out every single show they played at the Paramount last time they were in town. Now is your chance to experience the most successful off-Broadway creation of all time, back in Aurora. STOMP is an inventive, energizing and downright electrifying spectacle that blends dance, music, percussion and theatricals into one gigantic rhythm that will have your heart pounding. After these guys come through town, you’ll never look at paint cans, plumbing fixtures or even the kitchen sink the same. Get ready to get STOMP’d. Out of respect for our patrons, children ages 2 and under are not permitted in the theater unless they attend a specific designated children’s show.