The final day of Arlington Heights' Frontier Days got off to a running start Sunday with the traditional Stampede run.
It set up the rest of the day for a pleasant jog, capped by an appearance by the Beatles tribute band American English.
If you happened to be up at 7:30 a.m. and were living next to the finish line on Miner Street between Haddow and Douglas avenues, you would have been treated to the sight of family and friends crowding the curbs to get a glimpse of the approximately 2,000 runners. And you would have heard speakers booming Motown and other musical favorites.
Crossing the finish line first was one of the 5K runners, Mark Donohue of Des Plaines. Donohue, who made it across in about 16 minutes, said he had won the race before.
"They always put a nice show on for us, and it's always a lot of fun for us," said Donohue, who runs for the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and has been coming to Frontier Days since 6th grade.
Some of the runners were even younger than that, such as 7-year-old Charlie Eidson, from Arlington Heights.
Eidson said he was prepared. "I have been exercising in the basement," doing jumping jacks and pushups.
His mother, Kelly, said she has been attending the festival practically since birth.
"My parents came on the Fourth of July when I was four months old," she said.
Kelly said the festival seems to get bigger every year. She said she remembers when Frontier Days had an actual WIld West town set up. "They used to have the old fronts. They would have the Sheriff's office and the saloon. I remember them having a duel. They had the guy in black and the guy in white, and they would do a pretend duel."
Now, she said, the focus is more on the rides, which, she said, are almost the same as when she was a child. It is fun, she said, to watch her children -- Charlie and 4-year-old Andy -- enjoy the same rides she did when she was younger.
Another resident who has been visiting Frontier Days for many years -- 19 to be exact -- was Fran Nimerfroh. But she said it wasn't the rides that were the main attraction.
"I usually love the music. American English brings us every year."