As a resident of the area, I want to welcome the Great Waters Fly Fishing Exposition to Itasca, Illinois this February.

Though the folks from Minnesota have no trouble pronouncing the Native American name of the town, when I called recently, the hotel reservation clerk, probably from an out of state switchboard, guessed as it with something that sounded like Iz-tik-ah?. So to be on the safe side during your visit, keep in mind that names of towns in Chicagoland can be tricky starting with Chicago itself. If you see a French name, do not pronounce it the French way. Des Plaines to the east of Itasca is pronounced Dez Planes (like aircraft). Far to the south Lemont is pronounced Lamont like Fred Sanford?s son. I grew up there; I should know.

We want you to enjoy your stay; so do not hesitate to ask about town names like La Grange, Marseilles, Joliet, and Bourbonnais. You really have to ask. There are no Buffalo in Buffalo Grove; there is no mountain in Mt. Prospect. But there are deer in Deerfield; and Elk Grove has a herd of Elk. In the end we understand slips by reservation clerks and visitors because we do not have it all figured ourselves. Enjoy your stay, and do not be shy about asking.