Begin Living – A Summer to Remember in the Aurora Area

The Aurora Area is full of Summer Fun for the whole family! Here’s just a few ways to kick it off this weekend!

1. Concert line-up at the RiverEdge Park – Aurora: Smashmouth and Toad and the Wet Sprocket, Downtown Alive! One of These Nights & Cowboy Jukebox, Reo Speedwagon, Rock the Yacht, Puerto Rican Heritage Festival, Hall & Oats, Maggie Speaks & Catfight, Sing-a-long Frozen, Get the LED Out, Earth Wind & Fire, Fox Valley Irish Festival, Fiestas Patrias and Jazz Nations.

2. Professional Rodeo at Kendall County Fairgrounds July 11. Big Hat World Championship Rodeo action with 8 exciting events including Bareback Riding, Cowgirls Barrel Racing, and the rodeos most popular and dangerous event, Bull Riding! Hilarious, family-friendly clowns, kids games, great food and drinks, vendors, music and fun for the whole family. Event admission prices include “Rout 38″ concert immediately following the evening rodeo performance with today’s hottest country music!

3. Batavia Windmill City Festival July 8-12: Windmill City Festival has long been a staple of the community and has become a tradition for many families. Are you ready to create lasting memories and enjoy countless activities over the course of three and a half days? Then come stop by the carnival, compete in a 5K, participate in the pet parade, and dive in to an ice cream eating contest. Every member of the family is sure to find a new favorite activity! Entertainment lineup: Hillbilly Rockstarz, 7th Heaven, Midwest Dueling Pianos, ARRA, Pirates over 40 and Back Country Roads.

4. River Bassin State Fishing Tournament July 11: The River Bassin Trail is quite simply an affordable tournament trail for river bass fishing anglers of all types. Whether you’re a beginner or a hard core tournament angler there is a reason to come have some fun with us at some of the tour stops. It doesn’t matter if you fish out of a kayak, canoe, float tube or other similar man-powered watercraft.

5. Nationally acclaimed “Sunday at Sandwich Antique Market.” We consider Sandwich the antique shopping capital of the Aurora Area. A majority of their nine antique shops are located within one mile of downtown. We listed a few of our favorite antiquing shows below. NEW this year is “Sundays at Sandwich Antiques Show,” held at the Sandwich Fairgrounds, 1401 Suydam Rd., Sandwich IL 60548. This monthly market will be curated by seasoned antiques dealers focusing on quality antiques, collectibles and crafts.

6. The Aurora area brags the State’s largest waterpark, a real sand beach, other indoor and outdoor waterpark options, swimming stones and interactive water fountains. Kid-approved and Aussie-themed Raging Waves is Illinois’ largest outdoor water park. Sitting on more than 40 acres, this family-friendly water park features 19 water slides, a separate kiddie pool area, wave pool, lazy river, 24 private cabanas and more. Open Memorial Day to Labor Day.


Cort Carlson Brings Executive Leadership to Tourism Bureau

AURORA, Ill. (May 20, 2015) – The Aurora Area Convention and Visitors Bureau is proud to announce the hiring of Cort Carlson to the Aurora Area Convention and Visitors Bureau staff as Executive Director.

With 16 plus years of management, communications, sales, marketing and promotions experience, Carlson brings many talents to the Bureau. His specialties include budgeting, marketing planning, management, special events and consensus-building.

Carlson is a graduate of Northern Illinois University with a bachelors in Journalism and Public Relations.

Carlson’s leadership abilities have taken him successfully through two years as Assistant General Manager of Chicago Premium Outlets, six and a half years as the Executive Director of McHenry County Convention and Visitors Bureau and most recently three years as Community and Economic Development Director for the City of Woodstock, Illinois.

Carlson looks forward to growing the awareness of the Aurora Area as a tourism destination and increase the economic impact of travel to the local communities. According to the most recent travel figures provided by the Illinois Office of Tourism (2013) the Aurora area generates $371 million in travel expenditures and $6.5 million in local tax receipts.*Economic Impact numbers taken from The Economic Impact of Travel on Illinois Counties 2013, a study prepared for the Illinois Office of Tourism by the Research Department of the U.S. Travel Association, Washington, D.C. August 2014.*

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The Aurora Area Convention and Visitors Bureau serves as the tourism marketing and management organization for Aurora, Batavia, Big Rock, Hinckley, North Aurora, Montgomery, Plano, Sandwich, Sugar Grove and Yorkville. This not-for-profit organization provides numerous travel resources to leisure tour operators, meeting planners, sports rights-holders, event planners and tourists.

*Economic Impact numbers taken from The Economic Impact of Travel on Illinois Counties 2013, a study prepared for the Illinois Office of Tourism by the Research Department of the U.S. Travel Association, Washington, D.C. August 2014. Estimates derived from portions of DuPage, Kane and Kendall Counties serviced by the Aurora Area Convention & Visitors Bureau.

“Aurora Area – Worlds Away from Ordinary!”

Aurora Area CVB hires Mike Pfeiffer

Aurora Area CVB Hires Mike Pfeiffer

Mike Pfeiffer will serve as the bureau’s Group Sales Agent

AURORA, Ill. (Feb. 12, 2014) – The Aurora Area Convention & Visitors Bureau recently announced the hiring of Mike Pfeiffer as the new Group Sales Agent.

Pfeiffer will be engaged in promoting the ten communities within the Aurora Area to initiate sales for the area’s lodging establishments. Some of the groups and events that will be encouraged to utilize the Aurora Area are conventions, meetings, trade shows, sporting events, conferences, reunions, bus tours, weddings and other group travel opportunities.

The American Diabetes Association has scheduled the Tour de Cure on June 8 with bike routes that cover much of the CVB marketing area.  The CVB will also participate in the IPW show in Chicago April 5-9 in an effort to bring international visitors to the area.

“We are pleased to have Mike Pfeiffer on the Aurora Area CVB team as we look to grow the number of visitors to the area,” said Dale Berman, President of the Aurora Area CVB Board of Directors. “Mike will be an integral part of the CVB as he helps the organization promote tourism to the area which helps bring revenue and jobs to our local economies.”

Pfeiffer has more than 20 years of sales and marketing experience in a variety of fields including operating an award winning sales and marketing firm for 17 years. He currently lives in Yorkville and has been very active in several organizations throughout the Aurora Area including Aurora Regional Chamber of Commerce, Greater Montgomery Area Chamber of Commerce, Yorkville Area Chamber of Commerce, Sandwich Area Chamber of Commerce, Knight of Columbus and Yorkville’s St. Patrick Men’s Club.

For more information about the Aurora Area CVB, go to

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 Profile photoThe Aurora Area Convention & Visitors Bureau serves as the tourism marketing and management organization for Aurora, Batavia, Big Rock, Hinckley, North Aurora, Montgomery, Plano, Sandwich, Sugar Grove and Yorkville. This not-for-profit destination marketing organization is committed to promoting the Aurora Area to the traveling public. More information about the Aurora Area CVB may be found at via

Top 8 Spooktacular Events in the Aurora Area

Kids getting excited about Halloween? Are you dreading the sugar rush that comes with it? In the Aurora Area, there are plenty of ways to celebrate this spooktacular holiday and not all of them involve enormous amounts of candy. Check out our “Top” list! There is something for everyone from toddlers to teens and moms to dads.

Some of the ghouls you might meet at Basement of the Dead.

Some of the ghouls you might meet at Basement of the Dead.

1.    Basement of the Dead in Aurora
Open 5 days a week until Nov. 2
This haunted house is continually ranked among the scariest haunts in the area. Most recently, the Chicago Tribune rated the attraction as the #1 haunted house in Illinois. Basement of the Dead is actually two haunts at one location. We are not kidding when we say this haunted house is for the brave! Covered and heated waiting is available.
2.    Tri- Community Halloween Fest
Sat., Oct. 26, 5-9:30 p.m.
The communities of Big Rock, Hinckley and Sugar Grove work together to create this annual family- friendly Halloween party. Activities include two haunted houses, haunted hay rack ride, fortune tellers, games, crafts, door prizes, DJ, magician, juggler and food.
3.    Haunted Quarry
Hall Quarry Beach in Batavia.
Oct 25 and 26, 7-10 p.m.
Face your fears at the Haunted Quarry. This is by far the most unique location for a frightful evening. This event is not suitable for kids 10 and under. Admission is $8 per person.

The pumpkin roll at Batavia's BatFest.

The pumpkin roll at Batavia’s BatFest.

4.    BatFest
Sat., Oct. 26, 10 a.m.-2 p.m.
BatFest is Batavia’s annual Halloween-themed family event attracting more than 2,500 ghouls. BatFest includes downtown trick-or-treating, Mothers’ Club Parade, pumpkin roll, contests, BatArt and games for free family fun.
5.    Biz Boo
Sat., Oct. 26, 10 a.m.-2 p.m.
The Yorkville Area Chamber of Commerce has been organizing this event for the past 10 years. Children can trick-or-treat at businesses all over town. The fire department also brings out a fire truck for the kids to explore.

Trick or treaters at the Sandwich Halloween Walk.

Trick or treaters at the Sandwich Halloween Walk.

6.    Halloween Walk
Sat., Oct. 26, noon-2 p.m.
Business all over town offer treats for children in costume. The Sandwich Area Chamber of Commerce organizes the event and recommends ghosts and ghouls begin the adventure at the Gazebo in Veteran’s Park (151 E. Railroad St., Sandwich). Treat bags and maps will be given out. The treat bags have been donated by none other than the Aurora Area Convention & Visitors Bureau!
7.    Murder Mystery Dinner Theatre
Like your theatre with a little bit of suspense? Then the Fox Valley Park District Premiere Theatre Company’s latest production will be right up your alley. “It’s My Party and I’ll Die If I Want To” will be performed Sat., Oct. 26 at 1:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. and Sun., Oct. 27 at 1:30 p.m. at the Prisco Community Center (150 W. Illinois Ave., Aurora).  Tickets are $19 and include dinner before the show.
8.    Retail Trick-or-Treating
Chicago Premium Outlet
Thurs., Oct. 31, 3-7 p.m.
Safe and fun trick-or-treating at participating retailers. Treats will be given to children 12 and under in costume. Children must be accompanied by an adult. All participating stores will have a Halloween window icon displayed.

We know you do it. What candy will you be sneaking out of your kid’s trick or treat bag? Confess in the comments below.

For more information on additional events and attractions in the Aurora Area, visit You can also connect with us at or on Twitter @AuroraArea.

Top 3 Ways To Enjoy Oktoberfest in the Aurora Area

Ever thought it seemed strange that many Oktoberfest celebrations actually take place in September? In Munich, where they’ve been throwing Oktoberfest parties for 180 years, this year’s celebration started a week ago. While we might be getting a late start, according to the Germans, in the Aurora Area there are three ways to celebrate the Bavarian in all of us. Continue reading

Arts & Crafts are Abundant in the Aurora Area

September kicks off a little known “season” in the Aurora Area… Arts & Crafts Fair Season! Whether you’re a life-long lover of arts and crafts or you’re just looking for something to do on a crisp fall day, these events are worth perusing. Continue reading