Months of hard work by more than 50 volunteers began to pay off on Thursday night as community members began to pour in for the first night of the 2013 Buffalo Grove Days festival.
On the opening night of the fest people enjoyed a bingo tournament, carnival rides, beer tent and tastings from more than 16 local restaurants.
"After eight months of planning, it's finally here," said Paulette Greenberg, festival co-chairwoman.
As the festival was just getting under way, the bingo tent was already filling up fast.
Greenberg said that is one of the more popular parts of the weekend.
"Those people will be here until the end," she said.
Others were walking to the festival as the sun started setting on Thursday, ready to go on the carnival rides and taste foods from a variety of local eateries, all while spending time with old friends.
"I see a lot of people I don't see all year," said Martha Weiss, a Rotary volunteer with the festival. "It's a real community event."
Resident Deenie Pomila agreed and said there are some people she hadn't seen since last year's festival and was hoping to catch up with this weekend.
Later Thursday night residents participated in a bags tournament, which first was held at the festival last year. Organizers said it was a success and brought it back for another year.
With the heat from earlier this week cooling off just in time for the festival, Greenberg said she hoped the good weather would remain throughout the weekend.
"I already talked to the rain gods and told them to stay away," Greenberg joked. "Hot is OK, not rain."
Entertainment will start Friday night at 6:30 p.m. and the food, beer and rides will be available throughout the weekend. Other headline events include a BBQ Challenge from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, a performance by American Idol finalist and Wheeling native Haley Reinhart at 9 p.m. Saturday, and a parade at 1 p.m. Sunday.
"It's a local festival, it's the end of summer and it's a lot of fun," Greenberg said.