Fourth of July

Chicago-area families celebrate July 4th with parades, cookouts and more

Mary arrived early to save a spot for the big fireworks show in Itasca, which is now in its 27th year.

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The stage was set for the state’s largest fireworks show on Independence Day as families from all around the suburbs made their way to Hamilton Lakes in Itasca. 

“It’s the best Fourth of July anywhere,” said Jenne Partenheimer from Northbrook. “The synchronized fireworks and music, it’s awesome. That’s why we decided to make this an annual event.”

Partenheimer, along with her family and friends, arrived here early to save a spot for the big show, which is now in its 27th year.

“I’ve never seen a show like this the way they coordinate it with the music,” said Terry Prislinger from Crystal Lake. “I invite people here all the time, it’s a great show. It's just phenomenal.”

Meanwhile, in Aurora, people lined the parade route downtown to celebrate the holiday. A sea of red, white, and blue filled the streets as American flags waved high - a reminder of what this day is really all about.

Out in the city, Chicagoans hit 31st Street Beach to celebrate - rain or shine.

“We brought hot dogs and hamburgers, and we also brought arrachera to make as well,” said Kassandra Blancas from Chicago.

“We’re getting in the water, we’re eating, having a good time with family,” said Oliver Carmona, visiting from California.

“We got the great lake, it’s just a joyous occasion,” said Ruthie Redman. “It always is, despite all the of the violence that’s been going on here it’s relatively peaceful most days.”

No matter where and how you spend the Fourth. The sentiment is clear in Glen Ellyn.

“We have something that other countries don’t have,” explained Wendy Duran from Glendale Heights. “We have our freedom to speak, our freedom to do things that we can’t do in other countries.”

Duran and other paradegoers are not taking this moment for granted.

“I love patriotism, everybody celebrating the same thing, it’s a good feeling,” said Mike Holtquist from Glen Ellyn.

As kids rush to get candy and freebies this Independence Day, the older generations know there is so much more to this special day.

“It’s a great American holiday, and I just think we should all celebrate it for what it is, not just think of it as a four-day weekend,” said Dave Morton, from Glen Ellyn. “Let’s think about what it really means.”

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