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Imagine two young boys by the riverbank. They're best friends and they've decided to spend a few hours drinking together in the town where they grew up, a sort of pastoral paradise with few walls and a lot of wide-open expanses. But then one boy looks at the other and says he bets he can't swim out to the rock. The second boy takes him up on it, and winds up drowning. The town blames his friend, who moves away, only to return years later.

It's a John Hughes film called “Reach the Rock.” Its setting is Shermer, Illinois, which is the name that Northbrook, Illinois, was once known by. Before it was Northbrook, Illinois, it was named after a man named Schermer, who had moved to the area before the turn of the century.

“Reach the Rock” isn't the only film to be at least partially set in Northbrook, Illinois: “Ferris Bueller's Day Off,” “The Breakfast Club” both have scenes in Glenbrook North High School.

Stories about a town make for great public relations vehicles, because fans of a story often like to make a pilgrimage to the setting, so that any publicity showered on the films or novels about a place work to the benefit of that place, as Anne Rice's Vampire Chronicles benefited New Orleans. Maybe that's part of what's happening for Northbrook, Illinois right now, and contributing to its success and popularity.

Frederick Schermer was the man who gave his name to Northbrook, Illinois in the beginning, and by default to the town in Hughes' film. It wasn't that long ago, either, when you think about it. Northbrook, Illinois was incorporated on 1901. On that day, the town had only 500 residents. Now it has tens of thousands. Northbrook, Illinois has come a long way.

Even through all the changes Northbrook, Illinois has been through, one thing has not changed: It has decided to keep a lot of its space open, and make sure its residents and visitors alike have a lot to keep them busy. There are 515 acres of parkland in Northbrook, Illinois, and about 1,300 recreational programs. This little town has 19 parks. So, while it's kind of an out-of-the way place, there is plenty reason to stay long-term—not to mention its proximity to Chicago. To say that people can have the best of both worlds here would be a vast understatement.

Unless you just want too, however, you don't actually have to venture into Chicago to shop. The Northbrook Court Shopping Center, located at 2171 Northbrook Court, is the town's mall. It has plenty of stores so that you can find clothing, accessories, children's items, household items like cookware and vacuum cleaners—and food, which is one of the best parts of the mall experience. You can shop at Timberland, Louis Vuitton, Landau, Footloose, Tommy Bahama's and many, many more top-name stores. The great thing about Northbrook, Illinois is that it is full of the type of people who appreciate the better things about Chicago, so that the town gets some of the Chicago runoff. In other words, it's a town that offers the finer experiences, like bath and beauty stores.

If you like festivals, you will have a great time at the annual Northbrook, Illinois Asian-American Heritage Celebration held at the beginning of each May. Though the 2007 festival has already passed, there is plenty of time to prepare for the 2008 celebration, especially if you are thinking of moving there. If you're in the planning stages of a big move, this is the perfect time to start thinking about what you will be doing in 2008. There are plenty of wonderful festival activities to enjoy, like the Asian fashion show. Imagine all the colorful Asian dresses calling to mind the blooms of spring. What a wonderful time it will be.

And you can't have a proper festival without music. The Northbrook, Illinois Asian-American Heritage Celebration features performances from Bangla-deshi, the Philippines, China, Korea and India. If you have never seen Indian dance, it is one of the most amazing experiences you can imagine. They dance, not just with their bodies, but with their faces as well. Smiles and eye movements are carefully choreographed to create a spellbinding performance.

The Northbrook, Illinois annual Memorial Day Parade is held on May 28. This is a day when the local high school bands get to shine, especially at the post-parade performance at the Village Green. If you like a little excitement and some relaxation too, Northbrook, Illinois is the place for you.