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Chicago cancels July 3 fireworks at Taste of Chicago

As part of a cost-cutting move, the Mayor's Office of Special Events has canceled the July 3rd fireworks display at Grant Park during the annual Taste of Chicago.

Instead, three smaller fireworks displays will be offered on Independence Day over Navy Pier and the north and south lakefronts.  Specific locations have not been announced, but 63rd Street Beach, Montrose Beach and Navy Pier have been suggested.

"We decided this year to bring the fireworks to them," said Special Events Director Megan McDonald in a statement.  "This will result in a more cost-efficient celebration and less congestion of people in one site, for a more pleasant experience."

She said the economy has challenged the city to do more with less and to even more efficiently manage limited resources.  The move is expected to save the city about $1 million, and comes after cuts to other popular events.

"Over the course of the last two-three years, this office alone has saved more than $6 million in more effectively managing our events," she said.

The Taste of Chicago will continue, but will close earlier on July 3 and 4, at 6 p.m, Fran Spielman notes in the Chicago Sun-Times.

The city has been holding the huge July 3 fireworks display since 1975, starting at Olive Park north of Navy Pier, then moving to Grant Park in 1978, the Chicago Tribune recalls.  It replaced a longtime private show run by the American Legion at Soldier Field.

Last October, the office said it planned to cut Chicago's Outdoor Film Festival, the Criterion Bike Race and the Mayor's Youth Soccer Event and shave one day each from Jazz Fest and Country Music Fest.

Celtic Fest Chicago, the Chicago Latin Music Festival and Country Music Fest will be moved from Grant Park to Millennium Park.

The location and schedules for the Chicago Blues Festival and the Chicago Jazz Festival remain unchanged. 

Other lakefront events including the Air and Water Show, Bike to Work Day Rally, Kids and Kites, and the Memorial Day parade will all continue this year and are free and open to the public. 

Venetian Night, the lakefront boat parade and fireworks show launched under his father's watch more than 50 years ago, was also canceled after a corporate sponsor failed to step in, as Red Bull did last year.  The Chicago Criterium, the Chicago Outdoor Film Festival and Great Chicago Places and Spaces have also been canceled.

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