CRYSTAL LAKE – Wielding balloon swords, the three Bress kids investigated the police car parked with its lights flashing at Crystal Lake’s final centennial event.
The draw for the 5-year-old twins and their younger sister, though, was the LEGO room at the Raue Center for the Arts, said Jeremy Bress, the kids’ father who along with his wife, Tricia, made the festival a family outing.
The room filled with long tables overflowing with LEGO bricks was overseen by LEGO Master Model Builder David Howard, a Crystal Lake native who is one of only six LEGO Master Model Builders in the country.
“He was so sweet in talking with the kids,” said Cari Girdler, who attended the festival with her two sons, Nathan and Luke Nauman, 10 and 9; her husband, Chris Girdler; her mother, Christine Tell; and her mother’s husband, William Tell.
The two boys built a plane and a boat with the bricks.
The festival ran along Williams Street in downtown Crystal Lake, spurring some businesses to open their doors on a Sunday. A police car and a fire truck with its ladder extended bookended the block. In the middle, a juggler on stilts, musicians, a comedian and a balloon artist mingled and performed.
Families took advantage of a row of boards and bean-filled sacks to play bags even after the tournament ended. Food vendors sold treats, such as gourmet chocolates and ice cream.
“People have been coming and going all day long,” said Jeff Mawdsley, an administrative analyst with the city’s Department of Community Development and one of the staff members that helped organize the event. “The downtown is really the center of Crystal Lake and where we grew out of. We wanted to bring it home for the final event.”
Centennial events started Sept. 20, 2013, with a weekend-long festival that featured live music, local vendors and fireworks. The celebration continued throughout the year with a historical speaker series, winter festival and centennial themes in the Fourth of July parade.
“I don’t think this day could get better – even a little bit,” Mayor Aaron Shepley said before marking the anniversary celebration – the city of Crystal Lake was incorporated in 1914 – with miniature cupcakes for all the attendees.
A time capsule also was dedicated at the event. It is to be opened at Crystal Lake’s 200th anniversary.