Chicago Ridge hydrant painting contest part of village’s centennial
By STeve Metsch email@example.com July 30, 2014 8:26PM
Chicago Ridge is holding a fire hydrant painting contest as one way of marking its centennial. The contest runs through Aug. 3. Its awards are $150 for first place, $100 for second and $75 for third. | Supplied photo
Updated: September 1, 2014 6:46AM
It was an easy decision for Abe and Mary Rihani when it came to how they should decorate the fire hydrant in front of their Chicago Ridge home.
They went with an all-American theme for the village’s fire hydrant painting contest, one of the events that’s part of the village’s centennial.
After all, Abe, 68, has lived in his adopted country for 50 years after moving from his native Jordan as a young man. And Mary, 68, is an Italian-American from Chicago’s Bridgeport community and proud to be an American.
Put that all together, and you’ve got an eye-catching stars-and-stripes theme for the hydrant in front of their house in the 10900 block of Oak Avenue.
They’re among about a dozen residents who have entered the contest, which runs through Sunday. Its awards are $150 for first place, $100 for second and $75 for third.
While the money would be nice, that’s not why Abe and Mary decided to enter the contest. They just wanted to do something special in honor of their adopted hometown. They have lived in Chicago Ridge since 1981.
“It’s homey. The neighbors? Unbelievable. So kind, so helpful,” Mary said.
Abe added with a big smile, “we have an agreement with one neighbor that they cannot move unless they find two houses next to each other.”
As for the hydrant, Mary painted the top half blue, Abe carefully used a stencil to spray paint white stars across the field of blue, and they painted the lower half with red and white stripes so the hydrant resembles an American flag.
“We went to a meeting at the village about the centennial, and I said, ‘Come on, let’s do it,’ ” Mary said.
A recently retired engineer, Abe couldn’t say no. He said it took about eight hours of work, including sanding the hydrant with a steel brush to get the metal ready for painting.
Cori Farrey, a Chicago Ridge resident who’s in charge of the project, said she hoped that more people would have entered the contest but is happy with the diverse themes.
Greg Parzygnat in the 6600 block of Ridge Drive painted a Dalmatian on the hydrant by his home. In the 10600 block of Moody Avenue, Breann Tjaarda has a summer theme with a blue sky and fluffy white clouds.
Snoopy is featured on the hydrant near the home of Deborah Alba in the 10300 block of Leslie Lane. And over in the 10800 block of Mayfield Avenue, Chrissi Petropules was inspired by the yellow minions in the animated movie, “Despicable Me.”
Residents can vote online from Sunday through Sept. 3 at www.chicagoridge.org, where they’ll find a link to www.polleverywhere.com.
If you don’t have access to a computer, paper ballots are available at the village hall, 10455 Ridgeland Ave.
“It’s been a fun contest for the residents,” Farrey said.
Applications for the contest are available at the front desk of the village hall. Acrylic enamel paint is preferred in the contest, and primer should be applied first to the hydrant, she said.
For more information, contact Farrey at firstname.lastname@example.org