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updated: 7/5/2012 8:20 AM

Northwest suburban celebrations honor tradition, start a new one

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  • Carol Nice of Schaumburg walks away with a cool lemonade in a souvenir cup, her way a keeping cool at the Bartlett Fourth of July festival.

       Carol Nice of Schaumburg walks away with a cool lemonade in a souvenir cup, her way a keeping cool at the Bartlett Fourth of July festival.
    Mark Welsh | Staff Photographer

  • Jack Fitzgerald, 5, of Mount Prospect aims a fan at his cousin, Tyler Fitzgerald, 3, of Schaumburg, as he helps him cool off during the Mount Prospect Fourth of July parade.

       Jack Fitzgerald, 5, of Mount Prospect aims a fan at his cousin, Tyler Fitzgerald, 3, of Schaumburg, as he helps him cool off during the Mount Prospect Fourth of July parade.
    JOE LEWNARD | Staff Photographer

  • Gov. Pat Quinn greets Joel Long of Des Plaines during the Des Plaines Fourth of July parade.

       Gov. Pat Quinn greets Joel Long of Des Plaines during the Des Plaines Fourth of July parade.
    JOE LEWNARD | Staff Photographer

  • Karolina Sen, 2, of Palatine catches a toy shark with the help of her dad, Piotr, during the Palatine Jaycees Hometown Fest.

       Karolina Sen, 2, of Palatine catches a toy shark with the help of her dad, Piotr, during the Palatine Jaycees Hometown Fest.
    JOE LEWNARD | Staff Photographer

  • A mass of humanity floods the streets during the Fourth of July parade in Arlington Heights.

       A mass of humanity floods the streets during the Fourth of July parade in Arlington Heights.
    Mark Welsh | Staff Photographer

  • Against a background of ferris wheels Marina McKay gets cool with water while Cruz Rodriguez samples an empanada during the extreme heat at the Northwest Fourth-Fest at the Sears Centre in Hoffman Estates.

       Against a background of ferris wheels Marina McKay gets cool with water while Cruz Rodriguez samples an empanada during the extreme heat at the Northwest Fourth-Fest at the Sears Centre in Hoffman Estates.
    Mark Welsh | Staff Photographer

 

It's a good thing that many of Arlington Heights' trees are as old as the village itself.

The towering structures each provided refuge for dozens of people who lined the streets Wednesday for Frontier Days' Fourth of July parade, this year's theme being "Celebrating Arlington Heights' 125 years."

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Adrienne Martinsen said her family, whose Arlington Heights roots can be traced back decades, gather under the same shady shelter at Euclid and Dunton each year.

"It's tradition," said Martinsen, who now has four kids of her own.

As her family reminisced -- mother-in-law Nancy Flynn recalled parades during the Cold War when the military ushered Nike missiles from the nearby firing site down the route -- other parade goers had the same idea, happy to watch floats go by from a distance if it meant a slight reprieve from the sweltering heat.

About 15 miles to the west, another festival with a far shorter history got under way without a tree in sight.

Organizers hope the Northwest Fourth-Fest, a new joint effort between Elgin, Hanover Park, Hanover Township and Hoffman Estates, could draw as many as 20,000 people in its first year.

Despite a lack of foliage, the festival, which runs through July 8 outside the Sears Centre in Hoffman Estates, has plenty of tents for patrons to get out of the sun. There's also a Cool Zone inside the arena, complete with air conditioning, free water and restrooms.

For those who wanted to embrace the heat, the Sand Bar can rival many island joints with a variety of tropical drinks, Adirondack chairs and a waterless beach.

As a steady flow of cars began trickling into the multiple parking lots, Hoffman Estates Mayor Bill McLeod said he was impressed by the expansive spread of carnival rides, entertainment, food vendors and activities.

"I think this is the wave of the future," McLeod said of the combo festival. "Towns always manage to work together in an emergency, so it's nice to be able to work together on something fun."

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