ST. CHARLES – Michele Bauer didn't have an inkling that her boyfriend, Mark Adrian, was up to something when he took the microphone at the main stage in Lincoln Park during Scarecrow Fest on Saturday. That type of behavior isn't, as she explained, out of character for him.
She thought he was just going to say they have attended the festival for nine years, she said, but he kept talking.
With the help of two Steel Beam Theatre actors portraying the festival's mascots Chuck and Char, he asked her to marry him.
She said yes and seemed to be at a loss for words.
"I had no idea," the Algonquin resident said. "None."
The proposal, however, had been in the works since summer, said Adrian, a Schaumburg resident. He said he wanted to pop the question during Scarecrow Fest because that's where they had their first date nine years ago and continue to return to the event.
So, Adrian said, he called the Greater St. Charles Convention and Visitors Bureau, which produces the festival.
"They were very receptive to the idea," Adrian said.
Jason Pawlowski, the bureau's marketing manager and festival liaison, said a few ideas were considered before deciding to incorporate the scarecrow mascots, which he created.
"It's great to see the logos for the festival come to life," Pawlowski said.
Pulling off the surprise proposal took a lot of planning, meetings, help and, Adrian admitted, lying to Bauer.
But it worked, down to the last detail.
"It even fits – the ring fits," Adrian said after slipping it on Bauer's finger on stage.