By Bob Bong
Fourth of July fireworks and parades are a mixed bag this year thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Palos Heights has cancelled its Independence Day parade scheduled for noon down Harlem Avenue on the Fourth of July.
Orland Park, however, will hold its annual fireworks show along with other Independence Day events starting at 7:15 p.m. Saturday, July 4, at Centennial Park.
“The ideals of the Declaration of Independence have emboldened us to forge our own paths as individuals and as a nation,” said Mayor Keith Pekau. “Independence Day is about celebrating the values that the country was founded upon. The Declaration of Independence was written with the theory that every person has inherent rights, called “self-evident truths.” It reads: ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident: That all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.’
“At great risk, many Americans stood up to many forms of tyranny and oppression, and however long it takes, liberty prevails,” said Pekau. “It is important that we continue to celebrate Independence Day as a reminder of our unalienable rights.”
The band Gone 2 Paradise will kick off festivities at 7:15 p.m.
The fireworks show will begin at 9:30 p.m., but the village will restrict access to the parking lots to vehicles with current Orland Park vehicle stickers. This year’s display will incorporate higher altitude fireworks and remove low-level fireworks so that residents can enjoy the fireworks at home.
The fireworks display and synced music will live streamed via the village’s YouTube channel.
Those wishing to watch the fireworks at Centennial Park should maintain groups of less than 10 with social distancing of at least 6 feet between groups.
The annual Veterans Liberty Run and Walk at Centennial Park will be held Friday, July 3, under a vastly different format.
To ensure social distancing, race start times will be staggered over a 12-hour period. Participants can check in at any time between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m., with a start wave of a maximum of 25 people starting the race every hour. Participants in each heat can start at any time during their assigned hour, with the starting chute having staggered start times and 6-foot distancing markers.
While other fireworks shows have been cancelled or postponed in Burbank, Lyons, Oak Lawn, Tinley Park, and Summit, a drive-up show will go on as planned at SeatGeek Stadium in Bridgeview on Friday, July 3.
The Bridgeview Park District is sponsoring the annual show at the stadium, 7000 S. Harlem Ave. Gates will open at 7:30 p.m. and the fireworks will light up the night sky starting at 9:15 p.m.
The show is free and guests are asked to practice social distancing and to stay in their vehicles during the show. Concession stands will be closed, but the restrooms will be open.
For more information, visit the Bridgeview Park District or call 708-594-1818.
Burbank has cancelled its Burbank Bash and fireworks show for this weekend, but the Burbank Park District has teamed up with the fire department to conduct mini-parades throughout the city from 6-8 p.m. on Friday, July 3.
The parades will feature costumed characters including Elsa, Captain America and Spiderman, and emergency vehicles. Candy and other giveaways will be thrown to the crowd.
Oak Lawn cancelled its fireworks and Party in the Park for the Fourth of July, but may try to reschedule them for Labor Day.
The village’s annual Independence Day parade will proceed as planned down 95th Street starting at 10 a.m. on Saturday, July 4.
Parade goers are asked to wear face coverings and practice social distancing. The parade will start at 95th Street and 51st Avenue, and proceed westbound to 95th Street and 55th Court.
Evergreen Park has cancelled its annual parade and fireworks show.
The Village of Lyons, which called off the annual Father’s Day car show on Sunday, has cancelled all of its special events through the end of July including its summer camp, Fourth of July parade, party in the park and fireworks, as well as its music in the park concerts.
“It’s disappointing,” Lyons Mayor Christopher Getty said Monday of the parade being canceled. “It’s something we look forward to every year.”
“It’s something that brings the community together,” Getty said of Lyons’ Fourth of July celebration. “People come back to town for that event. It’s just a nice time.”
Getty is hoping the Fourth of July parade, party in the park and fireworks “will be better than ever next year.”
But the village’s hand this year was forced by the pandemic, he said, noting that by not having large crowds gather would limit potential transmission of the virus.
The parade route is along Joliet Avenue, which is being rebuilt this year. That project is going smoothly, Getty said.
“It’s a mile of roadway, so it’s a big project,” he said.
Getty said the project would not have forced moving the traditional parade route.
“Our plan was to have been done by July 4,” he said. “Now that it’s not happening, they’re not scrambling.”
Brookfield has cancelled its parade and picnic in the park.
Steve Metsch contributed to this report