If you have ever craved a Saturday afternoon cocktail in Schiller Park and wondered -- why doesn't that exist?

Have I got an answer for you.

If you're reading this column, but not yet a PreTour ticketholder ...





PreTour on June 23 this year begins at Schiller Park with a cocktail -- or three.

Never been to PreTour? Here is a primer:

It is one of the neighborhood's great celebrations, so if you love German Village for its community feel, this is your event. About 700 of your neighbors will be there, and often people who have not lived here for years make this the weekend they come back and say hello.

Going into the gem of the neighborhood -- Schiller Park -- is very special. The entire thing will be in bloom and green and spectacular.

Our theme is Expect The Unexpected, so you know there is going to be a real sense of whimsy. Also? Surprises around every corner. 'Nuff said. If I said more, there would be no surprise.

After you finish cocktails, PreTour continues through the 13 properties on this year's Haus und Garten Tour. On Tour Sunday, the lines often have backed up for a block, but on Saturday night you'll breeze through without wait. And because the crowd is smaller, there are often portions of each home that just cannot be open on Sunday that you might get a glimpse of during the PreTour.

As if that isn't enough, there are 25 different homes and restaurants that are ready to host you for dinner. Choose from a New York theme, Mexican Fiesta, Gatsby. You choose and your neighbors cook.

The whole darn thing is just magic and worth your investment. Go to the website germanvillage.com to learn more and buy your tickets.

German Village Society Executive Director Shiloh Todorov submitted the Village Notebook column .