ELBURN – Kaneville resident Jordyn Withey, 28, was working at the Railside Citrus booth on Main Street on Aug. 18 when she considered what she enjoyed about Elburn Days.
“What I like about it has changed,” she said. “When I was a kid, I liked the parade and the candy and the rides.”
Now, she said she enjoys the community aspect of the event, seeing everybody and enjoying the small-town atmosphere of it all.
Withey started coming to Elburn Days during summer visits to see her grandparents.
This year, she watched the parade with family members and friends, while witnessing another generation of children running after candy.
Twelve-year Elburn residents Janet and Duane Parker said they come to Elburn Days “pretty much every year.”
“There’s lots to see and do, and the downtown area is lively,” Janet Parker said.
This year, they have a more personal reason. Their 8-year-old granddaughter will be marching in the parade.
Elburn’s biggest annual event and the Elburn Lions Club’s biggest fundraiser, Elburn Days maintains a balance of tradition with the addition of enough new things to keep it interesting for everyone.
The 2017 Truck and Tractor Pull celebrated its 40th year, while the HobbyTown Charity Race is relatively new, having begun about five years ago.
The 4-H Livestock Show and Auction is a staple of the event, with local farmers and young 4-H’ers showing off their hard work raising their animals.
Mackenzie Engel, 13, of Engel Farms in Hampshire, won reserve champion this year with her shorthorn steer, Doc Holiday. Doc also placed second in class at the Illinois State Fair.
Engel, who has had Doc since October 2016, said she makes sure he is well-fed, washes him, shampoos and cuts his hair, sings to him and even takes naps with the 1,290 pound animal.
“He’s a very sweet animal if you know how to work with him,” she said.
But she’s also clear-eyed about his future. She will sell him at auction, and eventually, he will end up in someone’s freezer.
She said the money that she makes from his sale will go to pay for her future education to become a veterinarian, and he will go to feed a family.
“I’ve given him a great life,” she said. “And I know he’ll be in heaven when I get there.”
In addition to Elburn Days raising money to help the Lions Club pay for all of the good work that they do, other community groups are also able to support their organizations. Elburn’s Boy Scout Troop was busy the morning of Aug. 19 making pancakes at the American Legion, while Legion members were outside selling raffle tickets to help pay for their next project.
Elburn resident Ron Morris was enjoying lunch served by the Lions Club while he looked around at the crowd and commented on the number of strollers.
“It’s so family-oriented,” he said. “It’s almost just like a gathering of the neighborhood. Where do you get that anymore?”