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North Shore July 4th Fireworks and Festivities – 2012

I don’t know why, but I always get a little nostalgic on the 4th of July, especially since I moved to the North Shore.  I think it’s because we celebrate Independence Day pretty much the same way our ancestors did a hundred years ago, and I love the fact that we keep these traditions alive. Fourth of July is when our community feels most like a small town anywhere in the Midwest. I love our parades with handmade floats, Uncle Sam leading the way on stilts and people along the route cheering and waving their little American flags. I love the small town fun: the running races, pie-eating contests and patriotic music. And I love settling in at dusk to enjoy the fireworks. I always get a little shiver as I watch and am reminded how lucky I am to be an American.

The festivities planned by each of the communities don’t change much from year to year, but in case you haven’t celebrated Independence Day here before, or you just need a reminder, here’s what the North Shore has planned to celebrate our nation’s birthday.

Some things to note:

  • Wilmette’s celebration is on the 3rd of July, as usual.
  • Wilmette’s Fun Run will be July 4 this year (instead of July 3)
  • Lake Forest is the only community that charges an entrance fee to its festivities. That’s because it’s a fundraiser for the Parks and Recreation Department and there’s a Kenny Loggins concert before the fireworks. (If you go just to see the fireworks, you can get in for free after the concert).


July 4

2:00 pm – Parade from Central Park Avenue east on on Central Street to Ashland Avenue.
7:30 pm – Twilight concert by the Palatine Concert Band.
9:15 pm – Lakefront fireworks (launched from Clark St. Beach)
Visit for more info.


July 3

4:00 pm – Festivities begin in Gillson Park: Taste of Wilmette, musical entertainment, games and races.
7:15  pm – Sneak preview of Starlight’s Theatre’s “Brigadoon” at the Wallace Bowl
7:30 pm – Concert of patriotic music by the Palatine Concert Band at the Wallace Bowl
9:30 pm – Fireworks in Gillson Park.

The easiest way to get to and from the Independence Day celebrations in Gillson Park is by using the special Pace shuttle bus service. Motorists may park at Edens Plaza or at the METRA commuter lot. To see a complete listing of events or for additional transportation information see the Wilmette Park District’s website.


July 4

10:00 am – Parade begins at Elm and Glendale and proceeds east to the Village Green. (Watch for Coldwell Banker’s Lawn Chair Drill Team!)
11:00 am – Flag raising ceremony, children’s flag parade and family races on the Green
6:30 pm – FourthFest begins at Duke Childs Field, with mini-golf, moon walk, face painting, balloonists and a concert by Jin & Tonic.
9:15 pm – Fireworks at Duke Childs Field accompanied by music.
Go here for more info.


July 4

11:00 am – Bike parade at Glenview Rd. and Church St. (kids pre-school thru age 9)
11:30 am – Main parade begins at OLPH parking lots, goes west on Glenview Rd., south on Harlem, west on Central to Johns Park.
7:30 pm – Twilight show by the North Shore Concert Band at Glenview Park Golf Club, 800 Shermer Rd.
9:15 pm – Fireworks synchronized to patriotic music


July 4

9:45 am – Parade groups form: north group at Old Willow and Somerset Lane. South grup at Ameritech parking lot on Winnetka Ave.. Groups vonverge at rec center parking lot.
10:00 am – Bike & wagon parade at Willow Park (499 Wagner Rd.)
10:30 am – Bike & wagon judging, games and attractions. Concession stands open.
11:00 am – Running races for all ages.
11:00-3:00 – DJ, rides, face painting and more


July 4

8:00 am – 2 mile Rotary Fun Run starts at the train station.
10:00 am – Art fair on the Village Green and family games at Kalk Park.
12:00 am – Children’s Carnival at Village Court Parking Lot
2:00 pm – Parade
5:30 – Patriotic Treasure Hunt at Glencoe Beach
6:15 pm – Watermelon eating contest at Glencoe Beach
6:30 – Children’s entertainment at Glencoe Beach
7:00 pm – Musical entertainment  by 28 Days
9:00 pm – Fireworks on the beach
Go here for more info

Highland Park

July 4

9:30 am – Children’s and Pet Parade
10:00 am – Parade in downtown Highland Park
11:00 am to 2:00 pm Fourth Fest in Sunset Park featuring food vendors and musical performances, rides, games and petting zoo.
6:00 pm – Concert: Grand Finale of the Battle of the Bands
Dusk – Fireworks at Wolter’s Field.
Go here for more info.

Lake Forest

July 4

6:00 pm –  Gates open at Deerpath Community Park. Entrance fee is $10 (children under 5 are free). Parking: $20
6:00 pm – Live music by Sixteen Candles and Blue Sky Rider
7:30 pm – Pie eating contest
8:00 pm – Concert by Kenny Loggins
9:35 pm – Fireworks
Tickets are $10 for residents; $15 for non-residents. For more information, go here.

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