A year ago at this time, there was precious little to celebrate as Independence Day approached. Brookfield, Riverside and North Riverside had all long since scrapped their traditional parades and community celebrations.
The lone nod to July 4 was a parade of sorts in Riverside. Lasting about one minute, a handful of police and fire vehicles followed by a pickup truck hauling a flatbed on which a zydeco band played incongruously festive music snaked through the village, bringing The Fourth to people who waved from porches and parkways.
In 2021, the towns are coming out of their COVID-imposed hibernation.
With positivity rates microscopic and the state of Illinois in Phase 5 of its reopening plan, all three villages will be celebrating Independence Day in more or less normal fashion.
A highlight of Riverside’s Fourth of July celebration each year is the Concert in the Park, which always takes place the night before the parade. In 2020, the night before The Fourth was a silent one – unless, of course, you count the outrageous numbers of fireworks explosions that accompanied last summer.
But once Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced June 11 that the state was moving to fully reopen, the Riverside Friends of the Fourth, who raise the funds to host the concert, were able to quickly put together a Concert in the Park that will take place from 6 to 10 p.m. on Friday, July 2 at Guthrie Park, at Riverside and Bloomingbank roads.
The musical entertainment will be by ’90s party band Run Forrest Run and the band Hail Caesar. Food and beverages will be available for purchase.
Riverside’s Independence Day parade will be a day early this year, on Saturday, July 3, stepping off from its traditional starting point at Longcommon and Delaplaine roads at 8:45 a.m.
The parade will wind down Longcommon Road and cross the tracks onto Riverside Road, ending at Guthrie Park.
Like Riverside, the Independence Day parade in Brookfield will take place on Saturday, July 3.
The parade will more or less follow its traditional route, heading south on Grand Boulevard from Garfield Avenue starting at 10 a.m. With the Brookfield Avenue bridge under construction, however, the parade will end when it reaches the Grand/Prairie/Brookfield intersection.
Due to the uncertainty of the pandemic and the state’s reopening plans this spring, local officials decided to call off the Party in the Park following the parade, making it two years running that the village has not been able to celebrate its post-parade Fourth in the usual manner.
Unlike its neighbors, the village of North Riverside is waiting to celebrate Independence Day on its proper date, Sunday, July 4.
The three-part celebration kicks off 10 a.m. with a parade down 26th Street, which steps off from 9th Avenue and heads east to Veterans Park, near the entrance to North Riverside Park Mall.
After the parade, you can rest up and then return to the North Riverside Village Commons, 2401 Desplaines Ave., for the village’s July 4 Fest on the front lawn of the Village Commons from 6 to 9 p.m.
There will be food and beverages for sale at the event, and Saturday June Band will perform live from 7:15 to 9:15 p.m. and attendees can then settle in on the lawn, in the parking lots or along the curb to watch the fireworks display courtesy of the Riverside Golf Club. Bring your own blankets and lawn chairs.
Other nearby events
The village of Lyons will host an Independence Day parade on Sunday, July 4 at 1 p.m. The parade starts at 46th Street and Lawndale Avenue and then heads east to Joliet Avenue before turning north and ending at the Lyons Fire Station, 4043 Joliet Ave.
You’re also invited to attend a Party in the Park from 6 to 9 p.m. at Veterans Park, 4100 Lawndale Ave., which will feature food vendors, a beer tent, kids’ activities and live music, with the headliner ARRA taking the stage at 7:30 p.m. A fireworks display begins at dusk.
There will be a fireworks display in Berwyn on Friday, July 2 at 9 p.m. at Morton West High School football stadium, 2400 S. Home Ave. Prior to the show, the Morton High School marching band will play and there will be a raffle and Independence Day ceremony at 8:30 p.m.
There will also be a pop-up COVID-19 vaccination clinic onsite from 4:30 to 8:30 p.m. at Morton West High School. Enter via Door 29 on the east side of the campus off Home Avenue.