Some celebrations were canceled or postponed because of damage from Sunday's storm or the potentially dangerous, dry conditions, but the sky above Navy Pier was lit up.
As the sun dropped the celebration began putting a heated punctuation mark on one of the hottest fourths of July ever.
"It's hot," said Derrick Jackson. "We brought us some water, some chips - so we can just sit back and cool out and have us a nice time."
The crowds filled all the decks at navy pier - with one girl capturing the challenge of the heat
"It's really tiring," said Micayla Richmond. "I keep asking my mom when we can go home and if we can go swimming."
It was so hot tonight at Millennium Park the Grant Park Music Festival's Fourth of July Players wore a different uniform.
"We are usually pretty rigid about that but for (Wednesday night's) concert we decided let's make it really festive," said Grant Park Music Festival executive director Paul Winberg.
The early crowds at the Pritzker Pavilion took care with temperatures sparing into the triple digits.
"We are taking frequent breaks obviously and trying to stay out of the sun that is what kills you," said Melissa Magnusen of Evanston.
Then there were those without the fancy supplies, relying upon the physics of shade.
"If you sit on this side it takes a lot longer for the shade to hit so we know that it is only a matter of time," said Molly Fleming.
"We come here and the heat, well, if you are a wuss you won't take it on," said Tom Fleming. "It is not going to keep me away."