No July 4th fireworks for some suburbs

July 1, 2009 9:04:58 PM PDT
The weak economy has taken the spark out of some July 4th celebrations.Some suburbs have canceled their annual fireworks displays. That was not an option for some people who refused to let their fireworks fun fizzle.

Fireworks on the fourth of July are as much American as apple pie.

In Chicago, that tradition means a spectacular lakefront show on July 3rd, followed by numerous shows in the suburbs the next day. The city's show this year will go on as usual. But, given the economy, in many suburbs it's a different story.

Robert Svarz has been going to Joliet fireworks shows for more than 50 years at Memorial Stadium. But the tradition almost ended this year until organizers went to residents for contributions to keep it going.

"It's a tradition in Joliet. It's an American tradition. You can't give up on that," said Robert Svarz, fireworks supporter.

So residents came up with more than $9,000 in donations ranging from $1 to $100 and the fireworks were back on.

"Not only did they send in contributions but they all sent notes on how important it was to keep this thing alive," said Russ Slinkard, CEO, Joliet Region Chamber of Commerce.

A number of communities have canceled shows this year, including Harvey, Berwyn, North Riverside, Elgin and Gurnee.

Some others have cut back. Other towns like Itasca plan on keeping the fireworks but cutting back in some other areas. And still others are combining forces. Elmhurst and Wooddale are contributing to the show in neighboring Bensenville.

"For the towns to go in together and really give our taxpayers a good show I think is important," said DiCianni.

Thanks to the contributions in Joliet, residents will mark the 63th annual 4th of July fireworks show. And officials say, given the economy, it's likely they'll need those contributions for the 64th show next year.


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