Elgin is getting ready for a heavy influx of people downtown for the city's first outdoor concert and fireworks combo on Fourth of July.
Elgin Police Cmdr. Dan O'Shea said the police department has been working on a plan for months.
Contact information ( * required )
"We want it to be a very successful event for the city, for the casino and for the people," he said. "We would like as many people as possible to attend, obviously with public safety being our first concern."
The day will start with a parade at 9 a.m., followed by a concert at 5 p.m. featuring Creedence Clearwater Revisited, Dennis DeYoung and others at Festival Park, and fireworks off the Fox River after 9 p.m.
The concert is organized by Grand Victoria Casino and Onesti Entertainment. Festival Park lawn entrance will be $5.
Grand Victoria Casino marketing manager Marilou Pilman said it's difficult to estimate how many people will show up on Fourth of July.
"We are hoping to have about 8,000 to 10,000," she said.
Festival Park hosted a series of concerts last year, and about 6,000 people attended the largest one.
The city is co-sponsoring the fireworks show and providing personnel at a cost not to exceed $31,000.
Councilmen Terry Gavin and John Prigge voted against the expense this week.
"I fail to hear or see a viable plan of explanation as to how we're going to squeeze what could be thousands of people who attended the fireworks display at the Sports Complex (into Festival Park)," Prigge said, pointing out the park will be full of people from the concert.
Gavin said the event was too rushed and "cobbled together."
About 50 people have been assigned to work the concert and fireworks, including police officers and members of the department's community emergency response team and Police Explorer program, O'Shea said.
Additionally, staff members from the city's fire, public works and special events department will be working, along with Grand Victoria Casino employees, he said.
"We've had multiple meetings at the Grand Victoria to make sure we're all on the same page," he said.
Free parking will be available at Grand Victoria Casino and at city-owned parking decks downtown.
People should carpool if possible, and exercise patience, Councilwoman Tish Powell said.
"I think anytime you get that many people together, obviously things aren't perfect," she said. "Things weren't perfect when we had (the fireworks) out at the Sports Complex."
The event will be good for Elgin, which hasn't hosted fireworks in seven years, Powell said.
"I'm excited to see it coming back to Elgin, and a lot of people that I've talked to are very excited," she said.