The print edition of the newspaper is pretty tight during the week after Christmas. Businesses, particularly retail outfits, have run their holiday races and are assessing the success or damage and things tend to be on the light side, news-wise.

That’s why you’ll so often see year-in-review type stories. They’re not only a way to wrap a ribbon around the past 12 months and give it some sort of framework, they’re handy for filling space that otherwise is reserved for hard news. 

We hit some of the high spots in our Year in Review story, which you’ll find on this week’s front page, but what we didn’t have room for was a roundup of what many readers come to the newspaper for – the oddball stories that give life that little extra spice.

Here are a few you might remember from 2019:

Riverside celebrated the 150th anniversary of Frederick Law Olmsted’s General Plan of the village with a host of events, including an old-time baseball game, a picnic event, a year-end gala and a housewalk.

Then there was the Hot-Air Balloon Affair.

Often scheduled, more often canceled and rescheduled, the only time a balloon lifted off, the winds drove it back down, spilling its passengers – including a Landmark photographer — out of the basket as it made a hard landing. Maybe next year!

In March 2017, a notorious pill mill that had inappropriately dispensed millions of doses of highly addictive, dangerous painkillers to people throughout the nation finally left Riverside.

But as the new property owner prepared to demolish the building, local firefighters found that the clinic’s staff had left behind all kinds of dangerous controlled substances, from fentanyl citrate to hydromorphine, in a lockbox.

This summer, the Gold Star Memorial in Riverside’s Guthrie Park got refurbished. At the same time, the village felt it was a good time to pour a new concrete base for the Driver Monument, a huge, old granite horse trough, which had been listing dangerously.

When the crane lifted the monument from its base, however, it broke into three sections. As luck would have it, the monument suffered no damage and was cemented back into one piece on its new, firm base.

Who would have pegged North Riverside as Circus Town U.S.A.? Apparently the folks over at the North Riverside Park Mall, who brought two, count ’em, two circuses – one for the kids and the other more on the R-rated side — to the mall parking lot, attracting thousands of people and bringing in some unexpected revenue.

The mall hopes to do it all again in 2020.

When the Riverside Restaurant, home of breaded pork tenderloin and roast duck, closed its doors in April, lines were out the door as diners sought one more Bohemian-inspired meal.

While the European cuisine stalwart is still missed, its replacement El Faro #2, home of the giant burrito, generated excitement of its own, with reports of lines out the door on opening day in mid-December.

The more things change, the more they stay the same.