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updated: 7/3/2012 7:12 PM

Carol Stream latest to scrap July 4 activities

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  • A decision hasn't been made whether another parade will be held now that Wheaton's Fourth of July celebration has been canceled. On Tuesday, Carol Stream also canceled its parade and fireworks display.

    A decision hasn't been made whether another parade will be held now that Wheaton's Fourth of July celebration has been canceled. On Tuesday, Carol Stream also canceled its parade and fireworks display.
    Daily Herald file photo


Carol Stream joined Wheaton Tuesday in canceling its Fourth of July parade and fireworks display because of safety concerns.

Officials with the village manager's office, police department, fire district, public works department and parade committee made the call after a morning meeting.

Rick Gieser of the village's July Fourth Parade Committee said officials were concerned there wasn't enough time to remove debris from Sunday's storm in advance of the planned celebration.

"We always want to make sure the public and the residents of Carol Stream are safe," Gieser said. "We just think it's best to have the parade canceled."

The cancellation came one day after Wheaton called off its July 4 festivities.

"I don't think there's one of us that's happy about doing this," Carol Stream Village Manager Joe Breinig said. "It stinks to do this, quite frankly. But public safety has to be our concern."

Breinig said officials are concerned with the expected heat and humidity that could require additional medical personnel. Rescue crews have seen a "significant amount of activity" on heat-related calls since Sunday's storms left many homes without power.

"It doesn't seem like a good idea to have people both standing out in the sun and that kind of heat as observers and participants," he said.

It also would have been difficult to prepare for the parade while village public works crews are busy cleaning up fallen tree limbs and branches, Breinig said.

Officials decided to cancel Wednesday night's fireworks at Town Center at Gary Avenue and Lies Road because of dry conditions.

Wheaton Park District officials, meanwhile, said the decision to cancel the city's parade and fireworks display was based on the number of damaged trees and power lines throughout the community.

"Safety cannot be trumped by fun," Executive Director Michael Benard said.

"Obviously, there are plenty of other towns in worse shape than Wheaton, but Wheaton got hit pretty hard," Benard said. "And I'm sure many people were looking for an outlet to enjoy themselves and forget about the tree lying in their yard or the fact they don't have power.

"But it is what it is," Benard said. "We've just got to move forward."

Wheaton park officials are attempting to reschedule the fireworks show and organize "a community event" to replace the parade. Both would take place this summer.

"I think our early indications are -- and it's not set in stone -- to try to do something on Labor Day weekend," Benard said. "But we need to coordinate with all of the people involved in making a decision like that."

City officials said it's been many years since Wheaton's Fourth of July parade was last canceled. Considered one of the largest in northern Illinois, the parade has attracted as many as 70,000 spectators in the past.

This year's parade was going to have nearly 120 entries, including a large number of politicians.

Gieser said Carol Stream's parade was slated to have about 90 entries. He said volunteers raised about $5,000 to fund the event.

"I'm disappointed because we worked 12 months on this," Gieser said. "But I would rather the public be safe."

Carol Stream's fireworks could be rescheduled to a later date; the village's contract with the fireworks company allows for a cancellation and rescheduling within six months.

Officials will look at the possibility of rescheduling the parade.

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