Weather does not dampen Fourth of July activities

July 4, 2009 8:59:56 PM PDT
A big fireworks show drew a huge crowd to Navy Pier Saturday night. They gave the show rave reviews.

"They were splendid. I had a good time, it's my first time ever in Chicago, it was really nice," Paul Brumble said.

"Loved it. The most amazing show I've ever seen in my life. It was great view over the water," Heather Perry said.

"It's amazing to be in Chicago and to be surrounded by so many people and the music, and it was just a great show," Emily Seamon said.

Even through the night's fog and the on-and-off rain, Saturday night's extended Navy Pier fireworks presentation went off without a hitch, choreographed to patriotic music. The crowd, gathered for hours beforehand, oohed and aahed at all the right moments.

But even before the night's many fireworks displays, people all over Chicagoland ignored the gloomy Fourth of July weather to take part in their favorite holiday pursuits.

"It's a great time to come together, to show your pride in your country. I've got my flag on," Erwin Mishoulam said.

In Wheaton, Saturday's Independence Day parade also marked the beginning of a yearlong celebration of the city's 150th anniversary, with many of the floats and costumes illustrating Wheaton's history.

In Arlington Heights, the ever popular parade drew thousands along the route, including politicians eager to shake hands with their constituents.

"I think it's important that we remember that long before we came around, in 1776, heroic men and women fought for our democracy. The same kind of people today in far away places," Governor Pat Quinn said.

"It's great. It's a good time. Look at all the people. There's a little bit of rain, but that wasn't going to stop any of us," spectator Tanya Wilhelm said.

Meanwhile, back in the city the big fireworks show may be over, but that didn't mean the celebration is. At Millenium Park, the first ever Independence Day concert was held as part of the Grant Park Music Festival.

And on the city's South Side, far from the many organized Fourth of July events, families packed 31st Street Beach, to grill, chill, and just have fun.

"Our people have come from all over. California, New Orleans. From all over the world to celebrate with us," Clarence Wilson said.

"It's been great. We've been here since 6 in the morning to get a spot. We've been watching fireworks. It's not hot, it's not cold. It's nice," Jose Gonzalez said.


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