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Aurora wins The Mix ‘Battle of the Burbs’ championship

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Updated: May 13, 2013 6:24AM

After Thursday morning, no one can say the city of Aurora doesn’t know how to quickly pull together a nice big party.

With signs waving, music blasting and cheerleaders dancing, young and old alike raised the roof at the Paramount Theatre Thursday morning when 101.9 FM — The Mix presented Mayor Tom Weisner with the Chicago area radio station’s “Battle of the Burbs” championship trophy.

The ROTC Drill Team from East Aurora High School was even on hand to add its own special touch to the event.

The city had less than 48 hours to pull this celebration together after learning it had captured 62 percent of the vote over Lemont in the finals of The Eric and Kathy Morning Show’s popular March Madness contest. Previously, Aurora had advanced into the Elite 8 with a win over Frankfort; then beat Rolling Meadows in the Final Four; and squeezed past Schererville, Ind., in the semifinals.

It was a sweet run for the City of Lights, which is obviously on a roll lately, especially coming off a 2012 murder-free year and basking in the success of the Paramount’s spectacular Broadway Series season.

“The residents are proud of their city, as they should be,” said Weisner, as he prepared to accept the trophy from The Mix’s Melissa McGurren and Dave Karwowski, who were escorted from Interstate 88 by Aurora fire and police officials to the downtown theater. “They make this city what it is.”

And what it is, according to the two bus drivers who transported the pep band and cheer squads from West Aurora High School to the event, is a “wonderful place to live and work.”

“It’s the diversity I enjoy … it has something for everyone,” said Julio Gallegos.

“It’s a peaceful place to live,” added Ismael Diaz, who has been a resident here for 40 years.

Winning the trophy took an all-out effort through texting and computer voting. In fact, Jane Abe, director of membership for the Aurora Regional Chamber of Commerce, even had friends and family from out of state calling in to vote.

“Lemont put up a good fight,” she acknowledged. But in the end, you can’t beat Aurora for loyalty from its citizens.

She noted that once Clayton Muhammad — recently hired by the city to help rebrand its image — got wind of the contest, “he ran with it.” In just one hour alone, more than 40,000 votes came in on Tuesday, he said.

In the final round of competition with Lemont, Zach Montroy, pastor of Ginger Creek Community Church, even took time out from his hard-fought East Aurora School District Board campaign to vote 100 times.

“I love this city,” he said with a wide smile.

From the looks — and sounds — of Thursday morning’s grand celebration in the Paramount’s Grand Gallery, so did plenty of others.

After the trophy was presented, then hoisted into the air by a proud mayor, Weisner chatted with the radio hosts — Eric Ferguson is an Elburn native and Kaneland grad — during the live broadcast, praising residents and thanking the station for this positive endorsement of the community.

“You made it a special day,” he said.

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