It may seem unbelievable, but it’s been 30 years since the Brookfield National Little League 12-under girls softball team hoisted the Little League World Series championship trophy in Kalamazoo, Michigan.
The 1985 Brookfield team was the first squad from the Upper Midwest or Illinois to win the title and remained the only one until Sterling, Illinois, won it in 2011.
On July 4, the team will reunite with their coach, longtime Brookfield resident Dan Hull, and participate in the Brookfield Fourth of July Parade. The team will be chauffeured in convertibles decked out with oversize photos from the series, and the championship banners from that year’s tournament.
“I can’t even tell you what a riot it was and what a thrill it was,” said Hull, who spent more than 30 years as a softball coach on the junior college, high school and youth levels.
Brookfield not only won the Little League World Series in 1985, they did it the hard way, winning two games — including the championship game — in extra innings. In fact, it was Hull’s daughter, Becky, who drove in the championship run in the eighth inning of the final against a team from California.
In all of his years playing sports and coaching, said Hull, “I’ve never had a thrill like that.”
The Brookfield July 4 parade will step off from the intersection of Grand Boulevard and Garfield Avenue at 10 a.m. It will head south on Grand Boulevard to Brookfield Avenue, where it will head east to Brookfield Village Hall.
After the parade, residents and friends — the 1985 softball team will be there, for sure, said Hull — are invited to a community picnic at Kiwanis Park at Arden and Brookfield avenues.
The picnic will kick off about 12:30 p.m. and will feature live music at the band shell. Fuego Cantina will be selling American classics such as hot dogs and burgers, in addition to some Mexican specialties. There will also be soft drinks, beer, sangria and margaritas for sale.
Music from 1 to 6 p.m. will be provided by the Neverly Brothers (a rock ‘n’ roll history tour); Hello Nuvo (top 40s pop, jazz and oldies); and the first and second place winners from the 2015 Brookfield Battle of the Bands, Capital Soiree and Karma Wears White Ties.
Note, the Brookfield Farmers Market will not be held on July 4.
North Riverside parade, fireworks
Independence Day celebrations in North Riverside will start a tad early this year, on Thursday, July 2, when the country music ensemble, State Line, headlines the village’s outdoor music concert that night at the gazebo behind the North Riverside Village Common, 2401 Desplaines Ave., from 7 to 9 p.m.
The band will play country favorites along with patriotic songs. Food and drinks will also be available for purchase.
But that’s just a warmup to the village’s July 4 celebration, which kicks off at 10 a.m. with the annual Little League parade. The parade starts at 23rd Street and 14th Avenue and then winds its way through the western end of the village before turning onto 26th Street at 2nd Avenue and heading east all the way to Veterans Park.
Around 11 a.m., the village and Little League will begin their ceremony with the National Anthem and words from Mayor Hubert Hermanek Jr. and the president of North Riverside Little League.
Following the ceremony, Little League will host its T-Ball Classic and Home Run Derby. The concession stand will be open and the village will also be selling beer. In addition, there will be inflatables, face painting and a roving magician for kids to enjoy.
As the sun goes down, people will begin heading over to Desplaines Avenue near the Riverside Golf Club, which will, for the second straight year, be hosting a fireworks display.
Parking at the golf club is reserved for members only. However, free parking will be available in the parking lots of the Village Common, the police department and public library. Street parking on nearby residential streets will also be available.
Police will close Desplaines Avenue from the train tracks to 26th Street about 8:45 p.m. so people can watch the fireworks from the roadway outside the gold course.
Residents of Riverside and North Riverside, with identification, will be allowed to enter the golf course grounds to enjoy the fireworks. Feel free to bring blankets and lawn chairs.
However, no food or drinks are allowed to be brought into the golf course, which will be selling hot dogs, chips, pop, beer and water. The fireworks show commences around 9 p.m.
Riverside concert, 5K, parade
The village of Riverside will begin celebrating The Fourth with its traditional Concert in the Park from 6 to 10 p.m. on Friday, July 3 in Guthrie Park on Riverside Road between the train station and library.
The concert starts with a National Anthem followed by the high-energy sounds of the Libido Funk Circus, a dance band playing everything from ’60s rock to disco to contemporary dance hits, starting at 7 p.m.
Food will be available for purchase from The Chew Chew, Mollie’s Public House and Primo Pizza, along with sweet corn from the Riverside Fire Department.
Saturday, July 4 will begin with the Riverside Department of Parks and Recreation’s Independence Day 5K Run at 7:30 a.m. The race starts at the water tower in Centennial Park (Longcommon Road and Forest Avenue) in downtown Riverside and heads north along Akenside, Northwood, Northgate, Selborne, Parkway, back to Selborne and then to Longcommon Road, finishing at the water tower.
At 8:45 a.m., find a spot on the parkway to enjoy the annual Fourth of July Parade, which starts at Big Ball Park and then snakes down Longcommon Road into the downtown area, across the tracks and onto Riverside Road, terminating at Riverside Township Hall.
Following the parade, be sure to head over to Guthrie Park for a community after-party in the park. Food and drink will be available for purchase from local charitable organizations. The event, which lasts until 1 p.m., will also feature a car show, music, face painting, inflatables and a “Toddler Trot” — a short race for kids, age 3-10.