Local talk radio station WIND 560AM organized the weekend convention for them to discuss policy issues and next year's presidential campaign.
The convention opened Friday night with a reception for those registered at the Schaumburg Renaissance Hotel.
Ed Michael and Laddie Homolka, both 86 years old and pals since childhood, were among the first TeaCon 2011 ticketholders to arrive and begin the weekend rally for political change.
"The guys that we got in there now, none of 'em are any good. We need a party in there that's gonna do the job that they're supposed to do for the people," said Michael.
Organizers expect to fill a ballroom with at least 1,000 tea partiers. They will hear live speeches from northwest suburban Congressman Joe Walsh and former Fox News host Glenn Beck among others. Presidential candidate Herman Cain is scheduled to make an appearance and skyped messages are planned from two of his Republican primary opponents, Michelle Bachman and Rick Perry.
"What really underlies the tea party, I think is stop spending, stop spending, stop spending," said Eric Kohn, Chicago tea party.
Lisle tea partier Ralph Sprovier insists the movement is not working under cover for the Republicans.
"If there's a party in the state that doesn't agree with us, it's the Republicans, because the Republicans are not acting in concert with the platform that they've said their going to uphold," said Ralph Sprovier, Illinois tea party.
Republican Congressman Robert Dold, a self-described moderate who led a job creation conference with North Shore business leaders Friday morning, is wary of hardliners in the tea party movement.
"Certainly there's wariness when you talk about the polarization of what goes on in Washington. When you have people who are too far to the right and too far to the left, obviously you're not going to get things done, and I think that's what the American people are looking for," said Dold.
Tea party conventioneers will choose among all the presidential candidates, including Barack Obama, in a straw vote Saturday.
"It's good to remind President Obama, it's good to remind Democrats that run states like Illinois that we're here, and we're going to be a force to be reckoned with," said Kohn.