Some communities celebrate the 4th of July with a parade. Others wow their residents with fireworks.
Wheaton believes in doing both, turning it into a two-day celebration.
This year, a day of family fun will start the festivities from 5 to 10 p.m. Sunday, July 3, in Graf Park. The park, at 1855 Manchester Road, near the DuPage County Fairgrounds, is expected to be full with more than 3,000 people. The evening will be filled with food, carnival rides, music and a business expo.
Fireworks will begin around 9 p.m. Attendees are welcome to bring lawn chairs, picnic blankets, snacks and nonalcoholic beverages to enjoy the show. No pets are allowed.
The next morning, longtime Wheaton resident Ed Ewoldt will lead the Independence Day parade, themed "Celebration!" as grand marshal. The 88-year-old moved to Wheaton from Iowa in 1959 and served as a teacher, athletic director, coach and active member of several civic organizations for many years.
The parade steps off at 10 a.m. Monday, July 4. from Hawthorne Boulevard and Main Street. Roughly 75 floats representing schools, businesses, churches, charities, political parties and nonprofits will follow the parade route, which heads south on Main Street, west on Wesley Street, south on Wheaton Avenue and east on Front Street, before concluding at the corner of Cross and Front Streets in downtown Wheaton.
"The parade really gives you a hometown, tight-knit community feel," Wheaton Park District Superintendent of Marketing and Special Events Kristina Nemetz said in a statement.
"It feels great to see so many people coming together to celebrate something we all have in common."
Awards will be given to the best entries in several categories, including best of show, best political, most creative and most patriotic.
For a full schedule of events, visit wheatonparkdistrict.com/july4.