Buffalo Grove Days Parade canceled over safety concerns, lack of participants

Faced with a dearth of participants - attributed in part to the aftermath of the mass shooting at Highland Park's Independence Day parade - Buffalo Grove has canceled this year's Buffalo Grove Days Parade.

"Participation is very low. We only had 17 or 18 units," said Paulette Greenberg, co-chair of the Buffalo Grove Days Committee. "In (an election) year, we would have close to 100. This is a political year. We should at this point have 50 or 60 units."

Village Trustee Lester Ottenheimer III, the village board's liaison to the festival committee, said reaction to the Highland Park tragedy played a role in the low number of parade participants.

"Some of the politicians have said they will never be in a parade again now," he said. "If this were a year from now, I don't think we would be having the same discussion. But it's so close in time to what happened, and people are still freaked out."

The rest of the Buffalo Grove Days festival will go on as planned from Sept. 1-5, at Mike Rylko Community Park, including live music, a carnival, a business and craft show, a car show and family activities.

Meanwhile, the July 4 fireworks show, postponed in the wake of the Highland Park shooting, has been rescheduled for 9 p.m. Aug. 2, as part of National Night Out activities at Willow Stream Park. The free event begins at 5:30 p.m. and will include a business expo, meet-and-greet with Buffalo Grove police officers and firefighters, giveaway, live music and food for purchase from Dorfler's Market and a variety of food trucks.

Deputy Village Manager Mike Skibbe said that with the parade called off, the village is redirecting the energy into a community-driven event that day at the Buffalo Grove Days festival grounds. It likely will include a community walk, a blood drive and a pancake breakfast.

Officials hope the parade, which hasn't been held since 2019, will return in 2023.

"I'm going to assume that the parade will be back, because it's tradition," Ottenheimer said.

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