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Article updated: 7/5/2013 9:28 PM

Estimated 40,000 people attend Northwest Fourth-Fest

By Jessica Cilella

Organizers said Friday they are pleased with the way the second annual Northwest Fourth-Fest is going so far, noting that approximately 40,000 people attended on Thursday alone.

Hoffman Estates Mayor William McLeod said the much-anticipated fireworks -- which were accompanied by the Elgin Symphony Orchestra -- went off without a hitch.

Criticism of last year's fireworks show by Melrose Pyrotechnics resulted in multiple discussions by the Hoffman Estates village board about which company should do the fireworks this year.

The board ultimately decided to give Melrose another chance, approving a $39,000 show that was paid for with help from Elgin, Hanover Park and Hanover Township.

The contract with Melrose stated this year's show would last 30 minutes at the quality expected, otherwise the village would withhold 25 percent of the value of the total display cost. McLeod said Thursday's show ended up lasting 32 minutes.

"The Elgin Symphony Orchestra was a big draw," he said, adding that the group used to play during Fourth of July celebrations at the Poplar Creek Amphitheater until it closed in 1994. "We sort of revived that tradition, and people had a great time."

McLeod said parking -- another criticized aspect of last year's fest -- also improved. There is space this year for 9,000 cars and easier access to the arena, as the east parking lot and Pratum Avenue have remained open.

The weather is also cooperating this year, McLeod said. Stifling temperatures last year caused some roads to buckle, resulting in traffic backups after the fireworks show.

The festival continues 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. today and 12 to 10 p.m. on Sunday. For information, visit northwestfourthfest.com.

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