Fifth Ward Alderman Leslie Hairston hosted the event at 63rd Street Beach.
Families could enjoy lots of food as well as cool breezes off the lake.
Actor and former NFL star Fred Williamson attended the picnic.
Several families nearby said they always celebrate the holiday at Jackson Park. People cooked out, played games, and enjoyed the night together.
Some people staked out their spots for the festivities on the Fourth of July as early 5:30 a.m.
There were some complaints that police had taken some parking in the area, both for the evening's celebrations and for the Hairston picnic.
The alderman said that with any big event, there is always some parking that is sectioned off.