Oak Lawn plans parade, fireworks on Fourth of July
By Steve Metsch firstname.lastname@example.org June 25, 2013 3:44PM
Benny the Bull brings fans to their feet along last year's parade route in Oak Lawn. | Supplied photo
Updated: June 27, 2013 8:05AM
There won’t be anyone saying there’s nothing to do in Oak Lawn on the Fourth of July.
With the village’s eighth annual parade, fun activities, live music and fireworks, residents and visitors will have plenty of options to keep themselves busy as they celebrate the nation’s 237th birthday.
Oak Lawn community development director Chad Weiler is in charge of the parade and said it is expected to last nearly two hours.
The parade begins at 10 a.m. July 4 at 95th Street and 51st Avenue, just west of the railroad tracks. The parade will march west on the north side of 95th Street to 55th Court.
About 10,000 people line the parade route, Weiler said.
“I’ve been working on this parade now for eight years and we are one of the top parades in the state,” Weiler said. “We compete with the Wheatons, the Crystal Lakes, the Arlington Heights, and they all know it.”
Need proof? Guess which parade has the Crystal Lake Strikers drum line? Hint: it’s not their hometown.
What makes Oak Lawn’s parade so good, Weiler said, is the diverse collection of participants.
The Corvair Club will be there. So will the Windy City Corvettes and the huge shopping cart from Jewel, the oversized American flag carried by dozens of people, musicians, stilt walkers, jugglers, Ronald McDonald, clowns, Those Funny Little People, the Marist High School Marching Band, Miss Illinois, veterans groups, and every Chicago pro ports mascot.
“Benny the Bull rocks,” Weiler said. “He is a huge draw.”
The village distributes about 1,000 miniature American flags for kids to wave along the parade route, Weiler said.
The park district continues the fun with its Star Spangled Celebration that runs 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Centennial Park, 94th and Nashville avenues.
Children age 3 and older need a $5 wristband — parents are free — to participate in a treasure hunt, bingo, obstacle course, games, crafts, giant inflatable slide, tattoos, and pony rides.
Finalists in the Oak Lawn’s Got Talent competition will perform during the celebration.
The winner of that competition will be the opening act at the fireworks show set for that evening at Richards High School, 106th and central.
The Oak Lawn Pirouettes gymnastics club will perform at 8 p.m., followed at 8:15 p.m. by “The Wacky World of Dave Rudolf,” a family entertainer who has been nominated for a Grammy and is a two-time Parents Choice winner as a musician and comedian.
What would July 4 be without fireworks? They start at dusk at the high school.