Evergreen goes red, white and blue with Fourth of July parade
By Mike Nolan firstname.lastname@example.org July 3, 2014 9:12PM
Members of the American Legion Stock Yard Kilt Band march in the Independence Day Parade Evergreen Park Thursday, July, 3, 2014. | Jim Boyce/For Sun-Times Media
Updated: August 5, 2014 6:25AM
It was about an hour before the start of Evergreen Park’s Fourth of July parade Thursday, and Ed and Katie Zablocki and another couple were trying to keep nine kids amused before the big show started.
The kids sat on the curb of 95th Street, slurping bottles of pop and eagerly awaiting the sound of sirens that would signal the parade’s start, and the seemingly endless shower of candy they’d soon be scooping up.
“Everybody knows everybody else,” Ed Zablocki said of the families that were gathering in clusters along the sidewalk. “It’s just a family-oriented parade.”
Under a nearly cloudless sky and a temperature a little south of 80 degrees, the parade began with the requisite stream of police and fire vehicles, emitting a steady blast from their sirens that revved up parade-goers.
Fire trucks from departments including Evergreen Park, Chicago Ridge, Oak Lawn and Merrionette Park slowly rolled east on 95th Street, many sprouting large American flags.
The Stock Yards Kilty Band wasn’t far behind, while spectators cheered as cheerleaders, the color guard and the marching band from Evergreen Park High School made their appearance.
And as much as fire engines and candy are the stuff of Fourth of July parades, so are politicians.
U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin led the pack, followed by an assortment of pols that included Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan, perched on top of a red, white and blue float; Cook County Commissioner John Daley, D-Chicago, state Rep. Kelly Burke, D-Evergreen Park, and state Sen. Bill Cunningham, D-Chicago.
A bit behind the rest of them, understandably, was Republican gubernatorial candidate Bruce Rauner, who briskly walked behind a large contingent of sign-waving boosters and flashed a thumbs up to spectators.
At his house near the southwest corner of 95th and Central Park Avenue, David Dalton was getting ready to pick up pizzas for the expected 15 to 20 family members and friends who’d be gathering in his front yard, which afforded a good view of the parade. His father-in-law built the house in 1956, and Dalton moved in after his father-in-law’s passing five years ago.
Tables were set up with food, and nearby coolers held pop, water and other beverages.
“When it gets dark, we sit out front and watch the fireworks,” he said.
They would be launched from Duffy Park, just a few blocks to the north. Another side-street party was set up that would also include parade watching followed by fireworks, all from the comfort of the front yard of Jean and Kevin Hanlon’s house.
On St. Louis Avenue just south of 95th Street, their home has been a parade gathering point for years, with neighbors and friends bringing by food.
“We’ll probably have anywhere from 50 to 60 people,” Jean Hanlon said.
The north end of their block is barricaded during and after the parade, giving party-goers the opportunity to let the kids roam freely and also providing a nice vantage point to see the fireworks.
“This year the (July Fourth) party is also graduation party,” Kevin Hanlon said, noting his son’s recent graduation from Brother Rice High School.