Aurora is preparing for the second weekend in June.
Then after 15 months of COVID-19 pandemic restrictions, residents and visitors can step out and enjoy the activities and attractions in Illinois’ second largest city to the full.
“We are about to reopen the City of Lights,” said Mayor Richard Irvin this week.
Activate Aurora Weekend begins at 11 am on June 11th with the grand opening of a new footbridge over the Fox River, from Wilder to RiverEdge Parks.
Then at 9 a.m. on June 12, the 109th annual outdoor farmers market opens. And at 11 a.m. on June 13, the Phillips Park Zoo – which has been closed to visitors since March 2020 – will reopen.
But it all depends on the state moving into phase 5 of its pandemic plan, where everything can be open without capacity constraints. State officials have said June 11 is likely the day that will happen.
Irvin said the transition to phase 5 is dependent on the number of new cases, hospital admissions and mortality rates. He encouraged people to get COVID-19 vaccines to keep this going.
“If we want a happy June and July and a safer summer, we need to keep getting vaccinated,” said Irvin.
A patron buys peaches at the Aurora Farmers Market in summer 2020. The market returns on June 12th.
– Photo courtesy Aurora Downtown
Aurora had a farmers market last year, but organizers limited the number of people who could enter and prohibited people from eating on-site.
The market takes place from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. in Water Street Square, which is located on Water Street and Downer Place. The market typically has at least two dozen grocery and grocery vendors.
Phillips Park Zoo
The zoo is located in the 325-acre Phillips Park. The city’s own park also includes a golf course, which is already open. The Phillips Park Family Aquatic Park, co-owned by the Fox Valley Park District, is scheduled to be open on Saturday and Sunday when warm enough, and then from June 5th to August 15th.
Irvin said there will be two fireworks shows on July 4th this year so the crowd doesn’t get as crowded as if the city had a single show. Meanwhile, the July 4th parade will return through downtown.
The Mayor noted that the words “Activate Aurora” reminded him of what the Power Rangers cartoon characters say as they prepare to use their powers together forever. He urged the Aurorans to join forces, for example to get vaccinated.
“Let’s continue the fight for our family, for our friends, and for a fun summer on the horizon … let’s activate Aurora.”