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RiverEdge debut a success, despite glitches

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Updated: July 17, 2013 7:15AM

AURORA — A mixture of visitors, as well as the familiar locals, were present this weekend at the start of Aurora’s future.

But what organizers didn’t know was that right as RiverEdge Park’s coming out party was ready to start with the opening of Blues on the Fox Friday night, they would get a blast from the past.

Just as the gates were to open at 6 p.m. Friday, the ticketing computers went down. It sent Aurora Civic Center Authority staff, including Jim Jarvis, vice president of marketing and sales, back to the basics.

“We literally went back in time and did it manually,” he said, able to muse about it by Saturday afternoon, after the computers were back up. “We had some people who were unhappy with how long it took to get everyone in, but mostly, people were really understanding about the whole thing.”

Well, every shakedown cruise has its glitches. And if the computer breakdown slowed the RiverEdge opening, by Friday’s end, all was good. Headliner Dr. John, the New Orleans blues legend, played for two hours before a crowd of between 5,500 to 6,000 people sitting on the pavilion benches, in their own chairs or lying on blankets on the lawn.

“It was fantastic,” Jarvis said.

Saturday afternoon, people were staking out their spots for the night’s headliner, Buddy Guy.

Peter Dann and Jim Ellerby came all the way from Essex, England, just outside London, to see Buddy Guy. The two are on a week’s trip to Chicago to see blues music, and came to Blues on the Fox after a night at the iconic Kingston Mines in Chicago.

“This is just great,” Dann said. “And very inexpensive … a great deal.”

Courtney Peters, of Bolingbrook, and Heidi Heslinga, of Wheaton, were lounging on a blanket, listening to music and relaxing. They rode their bikes from Wheaton to RiverEdge Park for the music fest.

“It’s very nice,” said Heslinga.

The park even scored points as a park from those who didn’t particularly care about the music, such as 6-year-old Abraham and 11-year-old Deanna, who were running around, playing.

“It’s pretty awesome,” Deanna said.

This weekend, of course, was just the beginning at RiverEdge. The lineup of summer concerts includes the likes of country music legends Loretta Lynn and Randy Travis, Peter Frampton’s “Guitar Circus” and Trace Adkins.

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