This Independence Day marks the 242nd birthday of the Declaration, and more than enough reason to party. Which is something that Americans can’t wait to do in parade and picnic form. If hosting your own celebration is just too much, there are parades aplenty from which to gather candy and a slew of carnival rides to spin on to officially observe the holiday.
This is the celebration that the Founding Fathers of Hamilton fame would have wanted: a picnic, a parade and live music all rolled into one. The parade travels along Lake Park, Hyde Park Boulevard and makes its way to Nichols Park, where the food and festival will follow. 11 a.m. July 4 parade.
Families and friends are welcome, even those without a sailor in the U.S. Navy. The base opens for two days, complete with carnival rides, live concerts and a Kids Zone. As this is a military base, there’s an indoor rock wall for kids to climb and a paintball arena for adults. There will also be military displays throughout the grounds. 3-11 p.m. July 3, 3-10 p.m. July 4.
Five days of Independence Day observing includes rides, concerts, food and more food, and ends with a grand fireworks display on July 7. This year’s Fourth Fest opens on July 4 with a Children’s Bike Parade. The fest is located inside and outside of the Sears Centre Arena in Hoffman Estates. 8:45 a.m. July 4 bike parade, see website for schedule.
A little John Philip Sousa, a little Aaron Copeland and a hint of John Williams is enough to spark the patriotic juices. The Grant Park Orchestra, as part of the Grant Park Music Festival, will prepare you and your family for the fireworks set off at Navy Pier by musically setting the tone for the day. If you can’t make the 6:30-8 p.m. performance on July 4, hit up the open rehearsal from 11 a.m.-1:30 p.m. on July 3.
As if a decent fireworks display weren’t enough, the first 10,000 patrons at the Skokie Fourth of July Fireworks Festival receive 3D glasses to view the entertainment. There’s also food, drinks and live bands in the parking lot of Niles West High School preceding the big show. Noon parade, 5 p.m. celebration at Niles West, 9:30 p.m. fireworks.
If you prefer your Fourth of July holiday to take a slower turn, head to Hinsdale for the turtle races. With more than 20 trophies awaiting winners, the turtle races start as the Hinsdale Parade ends at Burlington Park. Also at the park there are a slew of activities for kids including inflatables, a Ferris wheel and face painting. 11 a.m.-3 p.m. July 4.