After planning Heritage Fest for more than a decade, West Dundee officials have learned to improvise and work with what the times and weather throw at them.
When rain washed out their community's three-day festival three years ago, they bought weather insurance. When antique dealers complained the noise of a Civil War-era cannon might damage their treasures when it was ignited, they moved the cannon.
If you goWhat: West Dundee Heritage Fest
When: 5 to 10 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday, and 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 14-16
Where: Events take place in downtown West Dundee, including Grafelman Park, the area around Washington and North First streets, the Riverwalk along Lincoln Avenue, and a small stretch of South Second Street. Visitors can park at Spring Hill Mall at routes 72 and 31 and take a free shuttle to the festival.
This year, when the Kane County Health Department officials imposed tighter rules on serving homemade chili for the annual chili cook-off, they decided to replace it with an ice cream eating contest.
That contest will start at 2:30 p.m. Sunday, the festival's third day, in Grafelman Park.
Other events have survived the times.
On Friday, bands will compete in the annual Battle of the Bands starting at 5 p.m. on the stage behind West Main Street shops. Vendors will begin selling their food at 6 p.m. and the fireworks display will begin at 8 p.m.
They will be ignited on the footbridge that crosses the Fox River.
The festival's appeal continues to be relevant, said West Dundee Village Manager Joe Cavallaro.
"People are sticking closer to home for their entertainment. Heritage Fest has traditionally been well received because it is close and it offers the sense of community pride," Cavallaro said.
Local organizations, such as the Dundee Lions Club and local residents, help plan the festival and put on some of the events. Lions Club members cook the community breakfast which this year will run from 8-10:30 a.m. Sunday.
The annual parade will also show community pride. This year, the parade, which will begin at 2 p.m. Sunday, will be held on the same weekend as Dundee-Crown High School's homecoming events.
It will be filled with community pride with the marchers and spectators, Cavallaro said.
The parade begins at Immanuel Lutheran Church, along Route 72. Marchers will walk west on Route 72 to Grafelman Park.
Saturday's events will include strolling entertainers and an outdoor movie. Both Saturday and Sunday will feature antique and classic car shows, an arts and crafts fair, kids' activities and Baggo tournaments. There will be live music, food and drink vendors and a business/not-for-profit expo each day.
"This entire festival reflects the enthusiasm and spirit of the Dundee community," Cavallaro said.
To view a schedule of events go to the festival's website, wdundeeheritagefest.org, or call the village hall at (847) 551-3800.