It’s hard to believe it goes back to 2009 when Riverside was in danger of foregoing one of its longtime traditions — the annual July 4 celebration. The village board at the time felt it was too expensive and cut the program of activities for the residents.

July 4 in Riverside has always been my favorite days since childhood, and I couldn’t envision it not happening again, so there I was to save the day. Determined to have a parade of some sort, I was ready to march down Longcommon Road with the Little League with kazoos to have music and a parade. Joe Ballerine came to my aid and offered to help if I was serious. Serious? Of course I was serious.

We enlisted the help of Danny Jisa and Andy Daun who also wanted to save The Fourth. With the further help of Ben Sells and Rey Navarro we had a committee called the Riverside Friends of the Fourth. The first item on the agenda was to raise funds.

We sent out a message we hoped would reach every resident and business in Riverside to explain the situation and ask for their financial help — and help they did. 

Enough funds were generated through donations and the sale of T-shirts to not only have a parade you be proud of, but also have concert in Guthrie Park the night before. The people came through.

Fast forward to 2022 and we are back in full swing to join with the residents in celebrating our county’s birthday. The T-shirts have been selling quite fast with this year, the concert is scheduled and we anticipate a good time to be had by all. With the price of gas, you don’t have to go far to have a good time. It’s right here.

If you have never attended the July 3 concert, food and beverages will be available for purchase and we encourage to support our local businesses who will be participating. On July 4 in Guthrie Park local organizations will have some eats you won’t want to miss. How about a bratwurst and an old-fashioned lemonade!

However, we still need your support, because we always need funds to keep the celebration going. You can make your donation with a check made out to the Friends of the Fourth, which you can drop off at the Riverside Recreation Department, 43 E. Quincy St., or the mailbox in front of the village hall.