Probably the best memories of the Fourth of July for Baby boomer children was anticipating fireworks and Dad lighting those sparklers that we would carefully parade around the backyard with our family and friends. Dad’s eyes were as bright as the sparklers and we never tired of lighting one after another. Many traveled to Lake Shore Drive and Navy Pier. There were celebrations on boats overlooking the Chicago skyline. I got to spend one year on a boat from Belmont Harbor watching the fireworks in the pouring rain. One breathtaking show at the Waukegan Marina while being pregnant with my first son who did not stop moving. There were impressive celebrations at Arlington racetrack that delivered piped in music. But some of the best were local small suburban displays gathered with neighbors on the closest porch or nearest park like the famous Dolton parade back in my day.
After living in Chicago for childhood years, my high school and college years were spent in Dolton and my greatest memories was the Dolton Parade and Carnival on the 4th. Everybody and their brother watched the parade or was part of it in downtown Dolton on Chicago Road. There were bands, dance schools, boys and girls scouts, and a man who played Abraham Lincoln every year. There were 30 plus fire trucks and police cars blowing there sirens. Back then, it was okay to toss candy to those children watching.
My children grew up in Downers Grove and went to the parade. They, too, remember picking up the candy off the street in downtown which they said was the best part. We did not live far from the fireworks display and when they were little, you could see them from are backyard deck sharing the excitement with neighborhood friends. Now, trees are too big and the best place to assemble is a small, mall parking lot close to the firework location by 75th and Main Street. The fireworks last for a half hour and are excellent in design.
This year, there will be no Fourth of July fireworks show at Navy Pier this year though some activities will be presented. Most of the Chicago suburbs will be hosting fireworks and you can check the list here. Some fire works will be taking place today, July 3rd. such as the one at Arlington Park in Arlington Heights.