Can Chicago Handle Fireworks Crowd Control?

Navy Pier is the sole destination for lakefront fireworks over Fourth of July weekend. Will there be room for everyone?

By Stefan Holt
|  Monday, Jul 4, 2011  |  Updated 10:50 PM CDT
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A cooler front passes through, bringing more comfortable temperatures and a pleasant end to the holiday weekend.

A cooler front passes through, bringing more comfortable temperatures and a pleasant end to the holiday weekend.

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Skies are expected to be clear Saturday night for the fireworks show at Navy Pier. The display is the kickoff celebration for the Independence Day weekend.

Saturday's show, at 10:15 p.m., are a part of Navy Pier's normal summer schedule, but are a prelude to the big show on Monday.

After the city announced last month it would no longer sponsor the annual light show at Taste of Chicago, Navy Pier took over as the weekend's main lakefront display.

That could mean crowd control issues for the Pier, which reached capacity last year two hours before the fireworks began.

Last year, the city spread its annual fireworks to three locations, including Navy Pier, Montrose Beach and 57th Street Beach. By 7:20 p.m., Navy Pier was closed to additional pedestrian traffic, and even folks with restaurant reservations there couldn't get by. 

This year, the park district took over Taste from the city and decided to cancel the fireworks to save money on the food festival.

Police Supt. Garry McCarthy announced last week tighter security at Taste, including more undercover cops and extra video surveillance. With recent mob attacks in Streeterville and at CTA stations downtown, McCarthy said officers also will be stationed at train stops and outside the festival.

Fireworks Shows throughout the Area:

Arlington Heights
Saturday at Arlington Park
Race starts at 4 p.m., followed by fireworks at nightfall.
 
Aurora
Illinois Math & Science Academy, 1500 W. Sullivan Road
Monday at 6 p.m.
 
Bartlett
Apple Orchard Park, Stearns & S Bartlett Rds
Monday at 9:30 p.m.

Barrington
Barrington High School
Sunday at 6:30 p.m.
 
Chicago
Navy Pier
Monday at 9 p.m.
 
Itasca
Intersection of Thorndale Ave and Route 53
Monday between 9:45 and 10pm
 
Lake Forest
Deerpath Park
Monday at 9:30 p.m
 
Morton Grove
Harrer Park, 6250 Dempster
Monday at 9:45 p.m.
 
Naperville
Knoch Park
Monday at 9:30 p.m
 
West Chicago
Reed Keppler Park
Saturday after dusk
 

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