NORTH AURORA – From an emergency vehicle show to a pet parade, this weekend's North Aurora Days will offer an array of activities.
It also is a time for friends and families to get together.
"It's like a family reunion," said Mark Gaffino, chairman of the North Aurora Days Committee that is in charge of organizing the summer festival. "You see people there that you only see once a year, and some people who have moved out of town come back for the festival."
The festival kicks off Friday and runs through Sunday. Gaffino acknowledged this year's festival is bittersweet because of the recent passing of former village trustee Max Herwig, who served as the North Aurora Days Committee chairman for many years.
North Aurora village trustees have approved a proclamation declaring Friday to be Max Herwig Day in the village. Herwig died suddenly June 4 at Edward Hospital in Naperville. He was 67.
Herwig’s family will be presented with a plaque honoring him Friday night at the festival site at Clock Tower Plaza, at Randall Road and Oak Street.
The festival will feature old favorites, including the popular emergency vehicle lights and sirens parade, which will begin at 7 p.m. Friday at the Cinemark Tinseltown USA movie theater, at 320 S. Lincolnway, North Aurora, then head north on Route 31 to John Street. The parade will go past the festival site at Clock Tower Plaza.
Some of the emergency vehicles in the parade will be featured in the Chicagoland Emergency Vehicle Show from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday at Pentair Water and Oberweis Dairy near Interstate 88 and Randall Road, North Aurora.
This is the 16th year of the event, billed as the Midwest's largest public emergency vehicle show. Organizer Dave Weaver said 200 emergency vehicles will visit North Aurora throughout the weekend.
The Kane County Sheriff's SWAT team's armored vehicle are among those vehicles that will be in the show. The SWAT team also will be involved in a demonstration at the show.
In addition, emergency personnel will be part of an extrication demonstration, and a medevac helicopter will be on display. The demonstrations will allow the public to see how firefighters and others respond in an emergency.
"I think that most of the time when there are emergencies, the public doesn't get a chance to see what is happening up close," Weaver said.
Those looking for bargains will find plenty at North Aurora Days. A community garage sale will be from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday through Sunday. A map of garage sale locations can be found at North Aurora Days' website, www.northauroradays.com, and maps are available at several locations, including North Aurora Village Hall, 25 E. State St., and Messenger Public Library, 113 Oak St.
More than 40 households are participating in this year's community garage sale, said Sharon Harwick, who is organizing the event. Harwick, part owner of the Past and Present Shoppes in North Aurora, also is organizing the French market, now in its second year.
The French market will be from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday in its new location in the Mooseheart Fieldhouse on Route 31 and Mooseheart Road. The market will feature more vendors than last year.
"We have 42 vendors right now," Harwick said. "Last year, we had 28. The market will feature repurposed items, woodworking, jewelry, clothing and a lot of vintage items from the '30s, '40s and '50s, things like you might find at a flea market."
For another year, the North Aurora Pet Parade is part of the festival. The parade, in its 31st year, was started by veterinarian Thomas Brooks of the Fox Valley Veterinary Clinic in North Aurora.
"I just enjoy the exposure to people and how they go about enjoying their pets," Brooks said.
Sunday's pet parade will help wrap up North Aurora Days. Over the years, Brooks has seen people enter a variety of animals, including dogs, cats, birds, iguanas, ferrets and even horses.
"I've seen just about everything and anything," Brooks said.
Judging will be limited to the first 100 entries, which must faxed or delivered by 6 p.m. Friday to the Fox Valley Veterinary Clinic, 405 Oak St. Forms are available at www.northauroradays.com.
Registration and lineup for the parade starts at 1 p.m. Sunday at the North Aurora Activity Center at the corner of Lincolnway and State Street.
At 2 p.m., participants will parade across the State Street bridge to North Island Park.