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About 1 million watch lakefront fireworks

July 3, 2008 8:33:51 PM PDT
An estimated 1.2 million people witnessed a festive and patriotic show in the sky along Chicago's lakefront Thursday night. The crowds started camping out very early on Thursday morning in Grant Park to see the City of Chicago's fireworks display. Patriotism was in the air, flags were waving in the wind and most of the people ABC7 talked to said that staking out a spot in the park is a great way to start off the July 4th weekend.

For some people, there is a method to getting the right spot to see Thursday's fireworks display. It may mean spending the night and setting up camp.

"This is wonderful. To be able to sit here and enjoy this," said Rodina King of Chicago.

"It feels good to be by the lake and get to see the fireworks clear and don't have to worry anybody interrupting. The barbecue is always good," said Algernon Simmons of Chicago.

Elbin Gonzalez, his wife and 11-year-old daughter came from Michigan. Watching the Chicago fireworks is tradition for the Gonzalez family. This year is their twenty-fourth year camping in the same spot.

"It's a beautiful day. And it's a great opportunity to enjoy Chicago," said Michigan resident Elbin Gonzalez.

"We got our spot and go and eat, all day, stay for the fireworks, stay in a hotel and head back the next day," said Alana Gonzalez.

One thing different this year from most other years is all the blankets: one person after another bundled up.

"It's really cold out here," said Monica Segura.

Everywhere you look, people tried to cover up head to toe.

"I'm freezing," said Jeff Yourell, a cold spectator. "Last year at this time we were hot...worried about the rain. This is ridiculous."

Suburban Festivities

In Naperville, residents are celebrating Ribfest with more than 250,000 people enjoying 70,000 slabs of ribs over four days. The competition singles out the best ribs around but recipes vary.

"Little lemon juice, fresh lemons or lemon ribs and use our rub and then we slow smoke them with apple and hickory wood. A little bit of cherry," said Mark Link of Uncle Bub's BBQ.

There's a full-fledged carnival for the kids in addition to Ribfest.

It's a short drive to Lisle's Eyes to the Skies Festival where a petting zoo, a lumber jack competition and an arts and crafts fair are some of the draws.

"We're going to try to see the fireworks tonight and carnival rides," said Cabria Carter.

The traditional balloon launch in Lisle has been canceled but the balloon glow is scheduled for 8:15 p.m. when residents light the balloons from the inside out. The fireworks in Lisle will begin at 9:45 p.m. on Thursday.


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