Heavy winds and rain greeted Buffalo Grove Days about an hour and a half before the opening of the food tent Friday evening.
But the event’s organizers proved more than a match for the elements, meeting the downpour with a perfect storm of preparation.
The people who were already there, including the food vendors, were gathered into the shelter of the public works building on the village campus at Lake-Cook Road and Raupp Boulevard.
“Because the stage was delivered today, and because we have to make sure that things are all secure, we actually had a 10 o’clock meeting this morning to talk about what we do in case of inclement weather,” said Karen Danenberg, the event’s entertainment chair.
Having seen the radar, organizers put the plan into effect, she said, and with 20 minutes to spare, the stage and the speakers were lowered and everything was secured, including the beer tent.
Visitors waiting in public works showed patience, taking the opportunity to enjoy the company of their neighbors.
“It’s a great community,” said Melissa Foreman, who attended with her husband, Frank, and said that on Sunday they will be joined by fellow members of Congregation Beth Am.
During the hiatus, Buffalo Grove’s own Phil Jacobson, who was scheduled to sing and play guitar with a band that includes his brother Mark, said he was ready, if necessary, to turn the group into a garage band and play in the public works building.
“I’ve played weirder gigs,” he said, including a half-marathon along a beach in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. The gig required his band at one point to move a huge generator along the sand.
Because runners were continually passing, “you could play the same song over and over again” if you wanted, he said.
There were some tense moments, however, as food vendors waiting in public works fretted over whether they would lose their wares in the food tent.
“We’re hoping that we don’t lose all the cookies in the rain,” said Joanne Sherman of Cookies by Joey. But it turned out later that she had salvaged most of her product.
John Moy of Yen Yen was concerned that he wouldn’t be able to open until after the dinner period.
“Hopefully tomorrow will be busy,” he said.
By about 6:50 p.m., however, everything up and running, and visitors were enjoying drinks at the beer tent and sampling the wares of Lou Malnati’s Pizzeria, Dorfler’s Meat Market and other vendors lining the food tent.
Buffalo Grove resident Luke Galat said he and friends waited out the rain in a garage on the Cook County side of the village, sipping a few beers before venturing out.
“It’s nice that the temperature came down,” he said.
It appears that no one was injured on the site during the storm, although one volunteer, Jim Pawlak, said he narrowly missed being hit by an ATM sign that was blown from the roof of the public works building.Copyright © 2014 Paddock Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.