Where to find July 4 fireworks, car parades and decorated houses in the suburbs
The usual flag-waving, star-spangled spectacle of July 4 will be toned down quite a bit this year, the result of traditional parades, fests and many fireworks displays being canceled over COVID-19 concerns.
That doesn't mean, however, that your only option is staying home and watching "Yankee Doodle Dandy" on TV next weekend. Rather, you just have to know where fireworks are still on and which communities are hosting house-decorating contests or other parade alternatives to enjoy from your car.
Here's a look at what's ahead next weekend in the suburbs:
• McHenry: Fireworks will be launched at 9:30 p.m. July 4 from two locations -- the areas of Knox Park/Municipal Center and Fox Ridge Park -- to allow residents to view the displays from home. Neither site will be accessible to the public. The rain date is Sunday, July 5. cityofmchenry.org.
• Naperville: Fireworks in Naperville this year offer a few viewing options and a new location at the Frontier Sports Complex. The display will run from 9:30 to 10 p.m. Saturday, July 4. Viewers can watch from their cars or from the large field in the park, but they are asked to practice social distancing. Parking is available at the park, 3380 Cedar Glade Drive, and at Neuqua Valley High School, 2360 95th St.
• Schaumburg: First, the good news: Drive-in fireworks have been scheduled for 9:30 p.m. July 2, 3 and 4 at Boomers Stadium. The bad news: The established viewing areas around the stadium are all sold out. boomersbaseball.com.
• Spring Grove: Richardson Farm in Spring Grove opens for parking at 6 p.m. July 4 at 909 English Prairie Road. Attendees can stay in their cars or set up chairs in front of their cars to enjoy a picnic. Bring your own food, buy some at food trucks, or get snacks from golf carts selling beer, kettle corn and doughnuts. $20 per car, cash only. Phase 4 social distancing rules will be in place. richardsonadventurefarm.com.
• Barrington: The village of Barrington is encouraging residents to decorate cars, bicycles and wagons and drive through their neighborhoods from 10 a.m. to noon July 4, creating mini-parades for Barrington JULY 4th Reimagined. The village also will deploy a small parade of fire and police vehicles, along with Bob the DJ. There will be prizes, and the parade will be livestreamed on Facebook. www.barrington-il.gov.
• Batavia: The Batavia VFW Post 1197 will host a mini parade for kids on its 6-acre property at 645 S. River St., where leaders say they have plenty of room to social distance. Kids are asked to gather at 10 a.m., and they'll march around the perimeter starting at 10:30 on July 4. Fire trucks will be parked at the post for kids to tour. After the parade, the post will offer hot dogs, chips and soda free to children younger than 8, and for $5 a plate for anyone older. Those who want to watch can bring lawn chairs. vfw1197.org.
• Carol Stream: Residents and businesses are asked to decorate in honor of July 4. Prizes will be awarded. To enter the contest, email the address of your house or business by 5 p.m. Monday, June 29, to firstname.lastname@example.org. The addresses will be listed on a map and posted on the village website at www.carolstream.org for those who want to see the decorations July 4.
• Glen Ellyn: A Patriotic Home and Storefront Decorating Contest calls for participants to meld creativity and patriotism. Those who want to compete for prizes must register at www.GlenEllyn4thOfJuly.org/patriotic by 8 a.m. Sunday, June 28, to qualify. The addresses of all registered houses and businesses will be posted at www.GlenEllyn4thOfJuly.org/patriotic-addresses so people can check them out.
• Glenview: The Glenview Park District is staging a reverse parade from 10 a.m. to noon July 4 at Community Park West, 1001 Zenith Ave. Preregistered spectators can drive past the stationary floats. The event is free, but advance tickets are required by visiting glenview4th.org. Patriotic music will play on WHPK 88.5-FM during the event.
• Highland Park: The Virtual Kids, Bike & Pet Parade -- Highland Park Style will be presented via video at noon July 4. The Chamber will post the video on the event page of its website, www.chamberhp.com, and also on its Facebook and Instagram accounts. To participate, submit a photo or brief video of children or pets celebrating the holiday. Entries must be submitted by July 1 to email@example.com.
• Lakemoor: The Village of Lakemoor July 4th Parade of Homes encourages residents to decorate the outside of their houses and show off their patriotism for those who want to drive, walk or bike around town July 4 and 5. For details, visit https://sites.google.com/lakemoor.net/village-july-4th-event/.
• Lincolnshire: The villagewide #LincolnshireStrong Independence Day house decorating contest encourages residents to decorate their houses, front yards, driveways and balconies for Independence Day. Participants can win up to $150 in gift cards to Lincolnshire restaurants. All contestants will be entered into an online poll for Lincolnshire residents to vote for the Community's Choice winner between July 1 and 5. Contact Jack Cascone, administrative intern, at firstname.lastname@example.org or (847) 913-2331 with questions.
• Naperville: Celebrating Naperville's Heroes is the theme of a rally, hosted by Safe DuPage, at 9:30 a.m. July 4 at Rotary Hill. The event will feature speakers and attendees are encouraged to wear red, white and blue and to bring a flag to wave. In addition, organizers are asking everyone to wear masks and respect social distancing guidelines. See www.facebook.com/events/267715161213458/.
• Northbrook: The village is hosting a Fourth of July "Porch Parade." Residents are invited to decorate their houses, lawns and porches and submit their addresses by July 1 to compete to win and to be added to an interactive parade route. For those who want to see the houses from 2 to 4 p.m. July 4, the map will be shared via the village website's at northbrook.il.us, as well as on social media or by texting 4THJULY to 888777.
• Villa Park, Lombard, Wheaton and Glen Ellyn: At 10 a.m. July 4, DuPage Democrats are hosting a car parade and encouraging people to decorate their vehicles. Awards will be given. Registration is requested. The cars should gather at the Safari Land parking lot at 701 North Ave., Villa Park, where they will get maps showing the route. For information, go to www.facebook.com/events/215334566153782/.
• Waukegan: The Virtual Waukegan American Independence Parade -- Shoebox Edition runs 1 to 2 p.m. July 4 at www.facebook.com/events/654966672028140/. Families, businesses and organizations can participate in advance by decorating a "mini float" with a box. Those interested must register at forms.gle/vvn2XdSMP1U9HeDeA by noon Monday, June 29. Drop off your float at the Jack Benny Center for the Arts in Bowen Park, 39 Jack Benny Drive. Organizers will record boxes in front of a background and have a commentator read the history that participants provide. Free. For information, contact Debra at email@example.com or (847) 360-4740.
• Wheaton: Families are invited to participate in Wheaton Kids 4th of July Parade on July 4 at Adams Park, 201 N. Main St. Participants are encouraged to wear a costume and decorate their bikes or other ride-on toys. Families are asked to reserve a spot and observe safe practices. Staging and a collection drive of nonperishable food and personal care items start at 9:30 a.m. with the parade starting at 10. www.facebook.com/Wheaton4thKids/.