The Sister Cities Commission provides leadership and recognition of the Sister Cities Program, the Village's partnership with Sister City Angoulême, France, promotes elements of the Sister City to the citizens of Hoffman Estates and offers opportunities for education and exchange.
The Sister Cities Commission is looking for new members! For details, call Sue Lessen at 847-781-2606, or fill out our online volunteer application!
Click here to sign up to receive e-mail alerts about upcoming Sister Cities Commission events, as well as other Village news, events, and services.
- Upcoming Events
- Past Events
- Sister Cities Commission Members
- Commission Openings
- About Sister Cities International
- About Angoulême, France
Join us for a French Evening: Thursday, Oct. 24
Paris comes to Hoffman Estates as the Sister Cities Commission presents its 22nd annual French Evening. This special event, “Soirée Culinaire — Discovering French Delicacies — A French Culinary Experience and Silent Auction,” will be held on Thursday, October 24, from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Bridges of Poplar Creek, located at 1400 Poplar Creek Drive. The cost to attend is $47 per person.
Enjoy the Flavors of France with a special four-course plated dinner, wines of France, and the regional liqueur of our Sister City, Angoulême. The event will also feature musical entertainment from 6:00-6:30 p.m., provided by the School District 54 Jazz Band.
For reservations and ticket information, call 847-781-2611. Reservations will be accepted until October 17, so don't delay! Santé!
Registration form also available here.
Sister Cities Commission Meeting
When: Third Tuesday of every month, 7 p.m.
Where: Frank Alexa Training Room
Hoffman Estates Village Hall
1900 Hassell Road
Hoffman Estates, IL 60169
Picasso, Picasso & Paris: A Salon with Gertrude Stein
For more than a generation Gertrude Stein's Paris home in Paris, at 27 rue de Fleurus, was the center of a glittering coterie of artists and writers, one of whom was Pablo Picasso. Gertrude Stein often referred to Pablo Picasso as her dearest friend and she was instrumental in supporting his artistic career from its earliest beginnings to Picasso becoming one of the world's foremost artists. Gertrude Stein and Picasso communicated frequently throughout their lifetimes and supported each other's careers.
Gertrude Stein was a formidable presence in Paris of the early 20th century. She was an influential writer and along with her brother, Leo, was an important patron of the arts, known for hosting salons that brought together some of the period's most famous artists, writers and intellectuals.
Betsey Means' performance of Gertrude Stein was warmly received by the guests who attended the event and they participated eagerly in a Q&A with Gertrude Stein and Betsey Means. Following the Q&A, guests also enjoyed a French-themed luncheon menu. An enjoyable and informative time was had by everyone who attended.....and we especially enjoyed meeting Gertrude Stein!!
Soirée Culinaire: French Evening 2018
On Thursday, Oct. 25, 2018, the Commission hosted its 21st annual "Soirée Culinaire - Discovering French Delicacies." Attendees enjoyed an evening in Paris, with an exciting culinary experience including a four-course sit-down meal. Be on the lookout for details on the 2019 event!
2018 Sports Exchanges
Runners Exchange July 15 – 23, 2018
Runners from Angoulême visited to participate in the annual Fit America Fest.
Angoulême Lynx Exchange May 15 – 23, 2018
The Angoulême Lynx baseball and softball coaches and players arrived during the month of May and participated in numerous activities.
Angoulême Marauders Football Exchange September 15 – 23, 2018
The Angoulême Marauders Football coaches, players, team secretary and one parent arrived during the month of September and participated in numerous activities.
Read a full description of the 2018 runners exchange here!
Read a full description of the 2018 baseball/softball and football exchanges here!
See our photo gallery page for photos from the 2018 sports exchanges!
Midnight in Paris Movie Screening
The Celebrations and Sister Cities Commissions in partnership with the Schaumburg Township District Library hosted a "Let’s Go To the Movies" event featuring the movie "Midnight In Paris" on Saturday, April 28, 2018 at the Hoffman Estates Village Hall.
March 2018 - Comic Exchange
From March 3 through March 12, 2018, the Hoffman Estates Sister Cities Commission hosted three artistes français extraordinaires. The three French artists, Cédric Fortier, Julie Chea, and Louise Hullin, live in Angoulême, France, the home of the École des Métiers du Cinéma d'Animation, or School of the Animation Arts and Trades. The commission, along with the help of local partners, hosted a week’s worth of events during the artists’ time in Hoffman Estates.
Read a full description of the Comic Exchange here!
See our photo gallery page for photos from the 2018 Comic Exchange!
Sip & Sketch on the Seine
On Thursday, March 8, 2018, participants were transported to the shores of the Seine through the magic of creating art!
Live Drawing Concert
In March 2018, this unique performance of visual and auditory collaboration featured local creators and visiting artists from Angoulême, France. Performers created illustrations projected LIVE with musical accompaniment by the District 54 Jazz Band and District 211 HEHS Band. Participants donned costumes to get in the spirit of this event, creating art alongside live costumed models.
Meet Marie Antoinette
The Hoffman Estates Sister Cities Commission was pleased to host a luncheon and program, "Meet Marie Antoinette" on Saturday, November 18, 2017, at The Bridges of Poplar Creek in Hoffman Estates. An enthusiastic audience had a rare opportunity to learn about one of history's most famous women and were honored that the Queen of France came to visit Hoffman Estates to talk about her life, loves and intrigues. History came to life in the character of Marie Antoinette as presented by dramatist, Martina Mathisen. Martina brought to life the famous French Queen who reigned as Queen from 1774 to 1792 as the wife of King Louis XVI, and revealed the truth behind this very much misunderstood queen, from a teen bride enveloped in pure opulence to the most hated woman in France. Marie Antoinette was very kind and answered many questions from her Hoffman Estates audience. Everyone who attended was very pleased to "Meet Marie Antoinette!"
A Taste of Paris!
This year's French Evening event was held at the Sears Centre Arena on Thursday, October 26 from 6:30 to 9 p.m. Attendees explored the streets of Paris; experienced the culinary delights that France is famous for, including crêpes, cheeses, meats, breads and pastries; and enjoyed an evening of French wines and liqueurs. A special champagne toast was also held to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the French Evening!
2017 Bon Appétit Food Festival
The Hoffman Estates Chamber of Commerce was delighted to bring back the Bon Appétit Community Food and Drink Festival, featuring delicious cuisine and beverage samples from over 30 restaurants and food establishments. The event hosted over 300 people on Thursday, April 27, from 5 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the Stonegate Conference & Banquet Centre. Guests had an opportunity to judge cupcakes prepared by culinary students from Elgin Community College and Harper College.
Congratulations to the winners of the Bon Appétit Cupcake Contest!
First Place - $1000 - Marie Bridges - Elgin Community College
Second Place - $500 - Kate Bogdanowicz - Harper College
Prize money for first and second places kindly provided by Tate & Lyle.
A new category was added to the competition this year - Best of Show. This category was judged by Tate & Lyle representatives on the basis of the technical representation of their individual cupcakes and the use of the Splenda in the cupcake. Kate Bogdanowicz of Harper College was the winner of Best of Show. She won a red KitchenAid Mixer donated by Tate & Lyle.
The company representative, Jennifer Walker, surprised the other 3 competitors with the same mixer as well. All went home with a special gift and a wonderful experience. The other two competitors were: Cynthia LaManna Capps from Elgin Community College and Michael Victuelles from Harper College.
Thank you to our sponsor, Tate & Lyle, for supporting culinary education!
Sister Cities Visit to Angouleme, April 2017
The Sister Cities Commission sent Art Stevenson, baseball coach at Conant High School, and Dave Pendergast, football coach Schaumburg High School, to participate in the American Sports Exchange in Angouleme, France April 7 through April 17, 2017. Two 3-hour clinics were offered for the French baseball team, the Lynx. The participants shared their love of baseball and enjoyed the learning experience. The football coach held clinics and practices for the football team, the Marauders. All participants were very receptive and appreciative for their learning experience. Both coaches were treated like “rock stars” by the French athletes. The coaches had a wonderful cultural experience, and loved staying with their host families in Angouleme.
Watch a video montage of the trip!
Monet, Manet, Renoir: Models, Mistresses, Muses
On Saturday, April 22, the Hoffman Estates Sister Cities and Celebrations Commissions jointly hosted an afternoon with French art and culture expert Tish Robinson. Ms. Robinson helped bring to life the inspiration behind the iconic paintings of the Impressionist Masters: Monet, Manet and Renoir. Their paintings all feature familiar images of beautiful young women bathed in sunlight and shadow and depicted in public and private settings in Paris and the surrounding countryside. The fascinating and often poignant tales of these women as models, mistresses, and muses were brought to life, illustrated by these legendary artists.
A Night in Paris - French Evening
On the evening of Tuesday, October 25th the Hoffman Estates Sister Cities Commission hosted their 19th Annual French Evening, but this year the evening included a Parisian twist! Instead of the traditional four course meal, guests were treated to a night in Paris: City of Lights, complete with a market, a mime, and a caricaturist. Guests were ushered into the Sears Centre under the warm glow of street lamps and the Eiffel Tower, a scene that was trés enchantée. As visitors to Paris approached, they were greeted by the sight of un marché Parisien, or a Parisian market.
Mural Painting with Local Cartoonist
On June 4, 2016 at the Hoffman Estates Branch Library, children ages 8-13 painted a mural with local cartoonist Geoff Bevington. Mr. Bevington traveled traveled to Sister City Angouleme, France to participate in the 43rd Festival International de la Bande Dessinée 2016 (the international comic festival), January 2016.
2016 Bon Appetit Food Festival
The Hoffman Estates Chamber of Commerce was delighted to bring back the Bon Appétit Community Food and Drink Festival. Featuring delicious cuisine and liquor samples from over 20 restaurants and distilleries, the event hosted 290 people on Thursday, April 21, from 5 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the Stonegate Conference & Banquet Centre. Guests had an opportunity to judge cupcakes prepared by culinary students from Elgin Community College and Harper College.
Congratulations to the winners of the Bon Appétit Cupcake Contest:
|First Place||Char Vale & Marissa Luise - Harper College|
|Second Place||Joe McGovern - Harper College|
|Honorable Mention||Gabrielle Vaz and Marissa Ramos - Elgin Community College|
|Honorable Mention||Jennifer Ivansco - Elgin Community College|
Prize money for first and second place kindly provided by Tate & Lyle. Honorable mention prize money generously provided by Hoffman Estates Community Bank. Thank you to these sponsors for supporting culinary education!
Historical Portrayal of Coco Chanel
The Sister Cities Commission hosted a historical portrayal of Coco Chanel, presented by Annette Baldwin, former fashion director for Marshall Field's. Annette will explore the life and experiences of Coco Chanel. View the "Little Black Dress" creations and Chanel-inspired jackets designed and created by students from the Harper College Fashion Studies program. Attendees cast their vote for their favorite designs; prizes were awarded to winners. The event took place on Tuesday, April 19 at the Bridges of Poplar Creek Country Club. Read a detailed summary of the event (PDF)
Congratulations to our Coco Chanel Design Event winners:
|Little Black Dress Competition:||Winner - Jennifer Hanna|
|Honorable Mention - Melissa Schultz (Mishel)|
|Chanel-inspired Jacket:||Winner - Diana Park|
|Honorable Mention - Violeta Popescu|
Thomas Jefferson: Seduced by France
The Commission celebrated National French Week on Saturday, November 7, 2015, with a program and French-inspired luncheon. The program entitled "Thomas Jefferson: Seduced by France" was a slide presentation, narrated by Tish Robinson, on the five years Thomas Jefferson resided in France as America's Minister to France from 1784 to 1789. See more about this outstanding and well-received program (PDF)
Culinary and Football Exchange Programs
In October 2015, two exchanges with sister city Angoulême were held; one for chef Patrick Guat and culinary students, and the other for American football players from France.
The six culinary students hosted by Dick and Sandy Kruse, Brian and Sue Yarwood, Cheryl and David Rogan, Sandy Rivera and Rob Schwartz, and John and Mary Gorski, spent time visiting various culinary related companies and touring the Chicagoland area, including trips to the museums, Cantigny Park, tours of the village’s fire and police departments, bowling, shopping, a Chicago Wolves hockey game, lunch at Eataly, and much more. See more photos and information about the Culinary Exchange (PDF)
The team members of the Angoulême Marauders are semi-pro professional football players that participate in a four team league in their region in France. The purpose of this exchange was to expose the football players to American football in a variety of different ways. The players viewed Schaumburg High School practice every day and met the Athletic Director, coaches and principal to review plays and their films. Players watched the Chicago Bears game at Jersey’s Sports Bar, visited Hoffman Estates facilities and visited with Mayor McLeod, toured Hoffman Estates High School, the Chicago Cultural Center, Millennium Park and Willis Tower in Chicago. They attended Bon Appétit, the Food and Tasting Festival of Hoffman Estates, toured DePaul University, attended a concert at the Sears Center and tailgated and attended the Eastern Michigan vs. Northern Illinois University Homecoming football game in DeKalb, Illinois. A great thank you to host families Rios/Harding, Samson, Lamberti, Miller, and Mosier for their kind hospitality. See more photos and information about the Football Exchange (PDF)
Coco Chanel Historical Portrayal
On Saturday, May 16, 2015, an enthusiastic audience attended a historical portrayal of the most influential designer of the 20th century and one of the most influential women of all time...Coco Chanel.
The program was presented to the community by the Hoffman Estates Celebrations and Sister Cities Commissions, and the Schaumburg Township Public Library. Attendees were encouraged to donate food items or a monetary contribution to our local food pantries. Light refreshments, including mini-croissants, brie, various spreads, jams, and Orangina were served.
French Evening 2015
On the evening of Thursday, April 30th the Hoffman Estates Sister Cities Commission hosted their 18th Annual Soirée Française, or French Evening. Guests attending the fundraiser at the Stonegate dined upon a delicieux four course meal, prepared by Chef Patrick Guat and Chef Pascal Herbert, of L’Amandier School in Angoulême, France. The night’s events also included silent and live auctions to raise funds for the commission’s exchange program with students in Hoffman Estates’ sister city, Angoulême, France.
The Commission would also like to recognize its members who work tirelessly for many months to secure the donations and to assemble the baskets for the auction; set-up the banquet room on the day of the event; and provide support and oversee the dinner on the night of the event. Merci Beaucoup!
The Sister Cities Commission held its 16th Annual French Evening on Thursday, April 18, from 7 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. at The Stonegate Conference & Banquet Centre located at 2401 W. Higgins Road. This special evening, "Soirée Culinaire – Discovering French Delicacies," showcased the flavors of France prepared by our guest chef from Angoulême, France, Chef Patrick Guat, and his students from L'Amandier School. In addition to a fine three-course meal, French wine and Pineau Charentes, a regional liqueur of our sister city, were served.
French Chef Visits Hoffman Estates - 2013
The Sister Cities Commission hosted a week of culinary events presented by visitors from Angoulême, France, the Village's sister city. Chef Patrick Guat, chef instructor at L'Amandier School, and two culinary students from Angoulême arrived in Hoffman Estates to offer cooking classes and demonstration dinners.
Children's Cooking Class, photo courtesy Ken Campbell
Food Tasting Festival
Approximately 20 restaurants provided sample-sized world cuisine for the Village's second annual International Food Tasting Festival. The event hosted a variety of exciting food demonstrations throughout the evening from renowned chefs, including Chef Patrick Guat from L'Amandier School in Angoûleme; Gale Gand, a Chicago-based pastry chef, cookbook author, winner of the 2001 James Beard Foundation Award for Outstanding Pastry Chef and host of the Food Network show "Sweet Dreams"; and Viktorija Todorovska, Ambassadrice Armagnac à Chicago.
The event was co-sponsored by Tate & Lyle, Silesia, the Sister Cities Commission and the Stonegate. The 2015 Taste of Hoffman Estates Food Festival will be presented by the Hoffman Estates Chamber of Commerce.
French-Indian Fur Trader Presentation
To celebrate French history and culture, the Village's Celebrations and Sister Cities Commissions, along with the Schaumburg Township District Library, sponsored a program featuring storyteller and naturalist, Andy Talley. Andy brought to life the French-Indian fur trader. The entire community was welcome to attend and light refreshments were served.
Sister Cities Commission Members
Are you interested in joining the Sister Cities Commission? Commission members organize and participate in French exchanges, plan cultural events for the community, and help with the annual French Evening event. Speaking French is welcome, but not mandatory. Meetings are the third Tuesday of every month at 7 p.m. in the Village Hall.
The volunteer commissions of the Village of Hoffman Estates serve in an advisory capacity to the Mayor and Board of Trustees. These commissions are comprised of volunteers who either reside or work in the Village of Hoffman Estates. To download an application to serve on the Commission, click here (PDF).
Lillian Mosier, Chair
About Sister Cities International
The Village of Hoffman Estates participates in the Sister Cities International (SCI) organization. To find out more about Sister Cities International, click here.
The mission statement of SCI is: Promote peace through mutual respect, understanding, and cooperation – one individual, one community at a time.
The organization's goals include: SCI is a nonprofit citizen diplomacy network creating and strengthening partnerships between U.S. and international communities in an effort to increase global cooperation at the municipal level, to promote cultural understanding and to stimulate economic development. SCI leads the movement for local community development and volunteer action by motivating and empowering private citizens, municipal officials and business leaders to conduct long-term programs of mutual benefit.
- Develop municipal partnerships between U.S. cities, counties, and states and similar jurisdictions in other nations.
- Provide opportunities for city officials and citizens to experience and explore other cultures through long-term community partnerships.
- Create an atmosphere in which economic and community development can be implemented and strengthened.
- Stimulate environments through which communities will creatively learn, work, and solve problems together through reciprocal cultural, educational, municipal, business, professional and technical exchanges and projects.
- Collaborate with organizations in the United States and other countries which share similar goals.
Geographical location: Located approximately 200 miles ( 450 km) southwest of Paris in the Charente Department of France. Located some 100 km. from the Atlantic Coast (La Rochelle and Royan) and 120 km. from Bordeaux.
Population: Angoulême's current population is approximately 50,000.
A short history: Before the 14th century, Angoulême was invaded by the Arabs and then by the Normans. It was made into a Duchy in 1515 and was finally returned to the crown in 1714. Protestantism was introduced into the town by Calvin and Angoulême suffered from the problems between Catholics and Huguenots. Angoulême's last Duke was the son of Charles X in the 19th century, Louis-Antoine de Bourbon. A bishopric, it has a remarkable Roman-style cathedral dedicated to Saint-Pierre from the 12th c. There are also the remains of ancient fortifications to be seen in the town.
There are two museums, the archeological museum and the museum of Angoulême. The town is a combination of medieval (old town) 18th and 19th century and modern (National Centre of Cartoon Drawing) architecture.
Economic activity: Traditional activities such as paper (Angoulême velin, Charentais slippers) and newer electronic and high-tech industries (Leroy-Somer, Telemecanique, Maximum Video, Jungle Image) and small and medium-sized companies (wood, metal and cardboard). The area around Angoulême is largely agricultural, producing a variety of fine wines.
- Home of the National Centre of Cartoon Drawing. Each year there is a festival of International Cartoon Drawing
- Other events – Jazz Festival, Circuit des Remparts (car race and exhibition), Gastronomades (culinary festival)
- New university town: Law, Polytechnic, Art School and Music School
- Sports – three swimming pools (two covered and one open-air), horseback riding, nine-hole golf course, 50 tennis courts, canoeing and kayaking, rowing, windsurfing, soccer stadiums, bowling, squash
- Theatres, cinemas, campsite, youth hostel, and numerous restaurants
Twin Towns of Angouleme: http://www.angouleme.fr/spip.php?article22
Visit the City of Angoulême's website at http://www.angouleme.fr/.