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Petzel: Village to again host July 4 parade

Updated: July 30, 2014 6:17AM



Greetings, fellow Oak Lawnians! Oak Lawn’s annual Fourth of July Parade starts at 10 a.m. from 51st Avenue and 95th Street and proceeds westbound on 95th Street to 55th Court.

This will be the ninth year that the village has sponsored the parade, which previously was organized by the park district. Public works director Steve Barrett has worked for the village for 41 years and has been involved in countless village events.

Barrett said that before the village took over the Fourth of July parade, “I think the biggest thing we (village) had was a 75-year celebration, it was a really big parade, the biggest we ever had. It started on Cicero and went all the way to Ridgeland.”

Planning for the Independence Day parade begins in the previous fall, and there’s a lot of moving parts, including setting a budget and coordinating village departments in assisting in the planning and execution of the event.

Come parade day, public works personnel, the fire and police departments, numerous volunteers and the Special Events Committee all play a role in making it a success.

Putting a large parade together has plenty of challenges.

“Traffic control and dealing with 95th Street is always our biggest challenge and so is putting the (parade) lineup together. We have about 70 parade entrants signed up right now, and we have a couple of new things,” Barrett said.

Chicago’s favorite team mascots — Benny the Bull, Southpaw, Staley and others — will again be in this year’s parade, as will Uncle Sam and Abe Lincoln stilt walkers and local dignitaries.

“I think what’s good and constant is that we have stayed strictly family,” Barrett said of the parade. “I’m glad we keep putting on a good show that’s well attended and people want to come to.”

Over the years, the village has become efficient at getting streets reopened after the parade, particularly busy 95th Street, a main business thoroughfare.

“I think it takes us about an hour to reopen 95th Street, and then we do the side streets. It goes pretty fast,” he said.

Weather is always a factor for parades, and Barrett can only recall one year when it rained on parade day.

“It’s a game-time decision. We never want to put anyone in jeopardy, so if it’s a matter of safety, we would cancel,” he said, encouraging readers to come out and enjoy one of Oak Lawn’s biggest annual events. “... It’s a good family day, and everyone can get back home early to celebrate the holiday.”

At night on the Fourth, head over to Richards High School, 10601 Central Ave., to see a great fireworks display starting at dusk. Have a happy and safe holiday!

Oak Lawn also will host a concert featuring the Hillbilly Rockstarz tonight at 7 p.m. (weather permitting) on the Village Green, east of the village hall and north of the Oak Lawn Public Library. Bring your chairs and blankets and enjoy a fun night of country rock.

Here are this week’s featured celebrity announcements: Happy 8th birthday to Jonathan Kohlstedt from his parents, sisters Grace and Jillian and grandmother Dawn Carlsen. A happy birthday wish fir Erica Erdakos, who’s turning 20, from her parents and brothers, Jason and Joey. Happy 29th birthday to Vicki Paprocki from her family. Birthday greetings go out to Jim Buschbach and George Frietag.

Congratulations to Chris and Shannon Mathews on the birth of their son, Cayden Thomas, who was born on June 5 at 10:51 p.m., weighing 6 pounds, 9 ounces and measuring 19” long. Their families and grandparents send baby Cayden all their love.

Wedding anniversary wishes go out to the following couples: Tim and Linda LoScuito on their 2nd anniversary; Pat and Lisa Kohlstedt’s 12th anniversary; Mike and Anne Styx and Michael and Janet Paluch, both marking their 13th;Kurt and Allyson Seehofer’s 18th; Mike and Lisa Keysboe’s 19th; John and Sharon Peterson’s 26th; Sotiri and Judy Grimanis’ 38th and Lisa and Jose Lopez’s 39th anniversary.

Keep your fellow Oak Lawnians informed about birthdays special events or special “stuff” going on with your family or within the community. Contact me on my cell (708) 899-9544 or e-mail me at cjpetzel@sbcglobal.net.



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