On the surface, Winfield's Good Old Days is a festival with four days of live music, carnival rides and high-calorie fair food.
But at its heart, the summer tradition in downtown Winfield is a reunion, organizers say.
If you goWhat: Winfield's Good Old Days
When: Thursday to Sunday, Sept. 6-9
Hours: 5-10 p.m. Thursday; 4-11 p.m. Friday; 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. Saturday; 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday
Where: Downtown Winfield
Cost: Free admission, fees for food and some activities
"It brings back people who have moved away," said Jenny Saylor of the Winfield Lions Club, which is overseeing the beer tent and entertainment stage. "It also brings the community together. Everybody can get out and spend time with people they don't normally get to see day to day in town."
The 45th annual festival starts Thursday, Sept. 6, and continues through Sunday, Sept. 9, by the intersection of Beecher Avenue and Church Street.
St. John's Knights of Columbus will get things started 5 to 8 p.m. Thursday with its scholarship fundraiser dinner in the Lions' beer tent. Roasted, sliced beef and salad will be served during the dinner, which costs $20 at the door.
At 7 p.m. Thursday, Ryan Mumby and the 100 Year Rain will be the first band to perform at the beer tent's entertainment stage. Other musical acts scheduled to take the stage during the festival include RockStar Rodeo (8 p.m. Friday), Liberty's Teeth (5 p.m. Saturday) and Party Hardigans (7:30 p.m. Saturday).
A carnival will run 5 to 11 p.m. Friday and resume Saturday and Sunday. Meanwhile, the final Cruzin Winfield car show of the year is set for 5 to 8:30 p.m. Friday along Jewell Road at Winfield Road.
To help promote local businesses, an expo will be open 5 p.m. to dusk Friday, 1 p.m. to dusk Saturday and 2 to 6 p.m. Sunday along Church Street.
Saturday's list of activities include the Winfield Park District's coin carnival from 1 to 3 p.m. at Creekside Park. Children will try various games for the chance to win prizes. At the same time in the park, Winfield United for a Better Community will be hosting minnow races. For 25 cents, kids can sponsor a minnow that races against other highly trained fish.
"The minnows swim from one end to the other, and we hoop and holler," said Mary Ann Barzso of Winfield United. "We even have names for them. It's very tongue in cheek, but it's fun."
Also on Saturday, Miss Illinois USA Ashley Hooks will make an appearance. She will meet and take pictures with festival goers for several hours.
"She's very popular among young girls," said Rich Bysina, vice president of membership with Western DuPage Chamber of Commerce, which is coordinating the festival. "She attracts a lot of attention."
A festival favorite is the 19th annual duck race, which is planned for 10 a.m. Sunday at Lions Park.
Hundreds of yellow plastic ducks will be dumped into the DuPage River to slowly float toward the finish line. Numbered ducks pulled from the water will earn prizes for the people who sponsored them. Tickets to sponsor a duck can be purchased during the festival at the information booth.
For those who don't want to miss Sunday's Chicago Bears game, it will be shown on a big screen in the beer tent.
Finally, the staple of the festival -- the parade -- will start at 1 p.m. Sunday at Sunnyside Avenue and Forest Street. In a nod to all the Winfield residents who have donated their time to the community through the years, the parade theme is "Cheers for Volunteers -- Giving for the Greater Good."
More than 30 parade entries will travel west from Sunnyside to Winfield Road and then north to Beecher. The procession will include classic cars, floats, the DuPage Marine Color Guard, and the West Chicago Community High School marching band.
Officials coordinating this year's Good Old Days say they are expecting thousands of people to attend the festival.
"I hope that people come to Winfield to appreciate beautiful Creekside Park and be introduced to the restaurants downtown," said David Sabathne, CEO of the Western DuPage Chamber of Commerce.
"There are really great assets in Winfield to enjoy."