Max Herwig, a well-known former village trustee and longtime coordinator for North Aurora Days, shouldered the bulk of work for the festival for years, and Bob Strusz fondly recalled his hardworking friend.
"At night when it was time to go and the clock struck 12, Max would fire up the leaf blower and he would just start blowing out the tickets and trash," the longtime volunteer said with a laugh.
If you goWhat: North Aurora Days
When: 8 a.m. to midnight Friday, 7 a.m. to midnight Saturday, and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday
Where: Clock Tower Plaza, Mooseheart Field House and other locations
So when Herwig died suddenly June 4 at age 67, it was a great loss to the community. But out of loss, the community came together to put on its time-honored tradition of North Aurora Days that Herwig worked hard to produce each year.
With a village festival run by its community members, North Aurora Days is sure to do well, running Friday and continuing through Sunday with events based at Clock Tower Plaza on Randall Road and Oak Street, and at the Mooseheart Field House on Mooseheart Road and Route 31.
The weekend will offer both fun and practical events, said Mark Gaffino, the festival's chairman.
Visit the carnival or sign up for the Baggo Classic Bean Bag Tournament. Stop over at the Main Stage to kick back with some good tunes -- all at the plaza.
Bands, including Yourz Truly, Friction, Hillbilly Rockstarz and the Windy City Revups, will be rocking from 6 to 11:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday.
If you're 10 and older, you can get your hearing checked at the Lions Club bus from noon to 5 p.m. Friday at the Messenger Public Library at 113 Oak St.
For $30, sample and learn about different beers from experts and take home a commemorative cup from 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday at Raimondo's Pizza and Pub, 1033 Kilbery Lane. On Sunday, check out the pub's wine tasting event.
Fireworks shows Friday and Saturday, an emergency vehicle parade and show, a pet parade, a fishing derby, horse rides, a softball tournament and more will keep the kids entertained throughout the weekend.
Sign up for the scenic Run for the Riverfront 1-Mile Fun Run, 10K or 5K Saturday. Races start at 7:05, 7:30 and 7:45 a.m., respectively. Leave the kids in the Kiddie Corral, where local moms will be volunteering to watch the kids.
After the race, rally the family for the Touch-a-Truck and safety demonstrations from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the Mooseheart Field House parking lot.
For shopping, check out the Community Garage Sale Friday and Saturday throughout the village. And the French Market will be held from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday at the Mooseheart Field House during the Car, Truck and Bike Show.
The French Market features mostly Fox Valley artisans selling crafts not typically found in stores, said organizer Sharon Harwick of Batavia.
"It's almost like the sky's the limit -- these women and men are so creative to repurpose old items," she said, citing crafts like repainted furniture and baseballs made into watches.
A ceremony for Herwig at 8 p.m. Friday at the Main Stage will honor "one of our own," said Gaffino, who will present a plaque to Herwig's family.
As for Strusz, he will miss his friend, and said the weekend would be for Max.
"He'll be looking down on us and making sure we're not screwing things up," he said with a laugh.
For a detailed list of other events and locations, visit www.northauroradays.com.