When I was growing up in Riverside, each year I looked forward to the village’s annual July 4th celebration – the parade, the teeny-weeny and other costume contests, decorating bikes, the Little League game and, of course, the water fight over a barrel hoisted on a line at the Big Ball Park. 

Teams of firefighters from Riverside and a neighboring community would battle to get the little keg over the line to proclaim the winning fire department, at least until the following year. Over the years the festivities changed as did the parade route, but there was always a celebration.

Then things really changed. While Brookfield continued their plans, economics forced the cancellation of the North Riverside’s annual celebration and Riverside’s Independence Day celebration also came close to being cancelled. 

In stepped a group of five people (Joe Ballerine, Rey Navarro, Ben Sells, Danny Jisa, Andy Daun and yours truly) who called themselves the Friends of the Fourth to undertake continuing the long-held tradition held in Riverside. Residents stepped up and helped to fund what was to become a bigger and, we like to think, better two-day event.

The evening of July 3 is being coordinated by the Friends of the Fourth in conjunction with the Riverside Recreation Department and various village entities. The July 3 celebration will be in Guthrie Park, beginning at 6:15 pm with the Great Lakes Naval Band. Two bands will follow, the Sinful Saints (a Dixieland band, who were in last year’s parade) and Butter Side Down (I don’t understand the name either). 

While you listen to the music you can enjoy your choice of food and beverages from local eateries. Look for some changes to this year’s parade. There will be fewer fire trucks (that will save your hearing), but more groups to entertain. If you thought you enjoyed the Shriner’s motorcycles last year, wait until you see what we have lined up for this year. And The Landmark will be there – wave to editor Bob Uphues as he goes by. 

The fun will continue after the parade at Guthrie Park on the Fourth of the July. While coordinated by the Friends of the Fourth, it could not have happened without the support of the residents, who by virtue of their support are truly “Friends of the Fourth.”

Birthday wishes: Speaking of birthdays, Patty Miglore, known as Auntie Patty to many at Aunt Diana’s, is celebrating a birthday on June 29, which is today, if you are reading The Landmark on the day it comes out. 

Stop in and wish her a happy birthday. Happy birthday, Patty! Got fudge?