One Cubs fan summed it up perfectly -- "I've never seen anything like this before."
The scene was almost picture perfect: Overlooking beautiful Otsego Lake, the sky was a bright blue, the weather was warm (but not too hot) and Cubs fans piled into the large tent in the middle of the lawn outside the Fenimore Art Museum in Cooperstown, N.Y., Saturday for the Ron Santo Fan Fest.
Santo's daughter, Linda Santo-Brown, had just one word for it all -- emotional.
"Just coming down this hill and seeing all these people," she said. "They traveled so far. It's really surreal. It's really magical. We're just so honored and grateful.
"My dad loved the fans more than anything. It's nice to see them come out and give back. It would have meant so much. We're honored to be here representing him."
Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts knew fans would come out in droves for the beloved former third baseman and broadcaster. So he and the organization decided to throw Saturday's Fan Fest, giving fans a three-hour outlet to tell and listen to stories about Santo.
"Obviously Ron was such a popular player and such a popular person," Ricketts said. "We knew there would be a lot of Cubs fans coming up this weekend.
"We wanted to make sure we did something extra special to give them a chance to gather and tell stories and just enjoy the weekend, so we came up with the idea of getting everybody else out here on the lake and having a nice day. It turned out wonderfully."
In addition to Linda, two of Santo's other three children -- Jeff and Ron, Jr. -- joined in on the fun, as well as former Santo teammates (and fellow Hall of Famers) Billy Williams, Fergie Jenkins and Ernie Banks.
Glenn Beckert, Santo's roommate on the Cubs for almost a decade, and Randy Hundley were other past Cubs in attendance.
And then, of course, there was Pat Hughes, Santo's broadcast partner for WGN Radio for 15 years, emceeing the event. High-level Cubs employees, including team president Crane Kenney and director of market Wally Hayward, joined Ricketts in the audience.
Fans recounted their stories of Santo and those that knew him best had the eager Cubs enthusiasts rolling in laughter with their own accounts.
"It's terrific," Ricketts said. "It's really a tribute to Ron and what he meant to everyone here as a player and then what he meant as a broadcaster and as a person.
"There's a lot of people here...and it's hard not to be emotional in the tent with the family talking. They were all emotional. It's hard not to feel that."
Nobody knows if the Cubs would have still held a similar Fan Fest for Santo if he were still alive to witness it, but his absence brought special meaning to the event.
"We're somewhat experiencing what he would be experiencing," Linda said. "He's not here, so we're representing him. We're getting a touch of what he would be feeling and it's overwhelming.
"I'm feeling it as if he were here, only it would be just that much more. I know he's happy right now that we are able to experience it. Maybe somehow he's experiencing it, too."