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."