4th of July fireworks, parades planned in Arlington Heights, across Chicago area

July 4, 2013 (CHICAGO)

There are hundreds of shows going on around the state on this holiday, but according to organizers, none of them is bigger than the one in Itasca.

They arrived early to stake out the preferred piece of real estate. Almost ten hours before the main attraction, the fireworks. But it's become a family tradition for the Flojo family.

"We always make sure that we put up both of our tents just so that we can stake our place to be able to have enough space for about 30 of us to celebrate the Fourth of July," said Jocelyn Flojo.

Chris May has a different strategy, sitting across the lake from where they shoot off the pyrotechnics, but also getting there early, whiling away the hours playing cribbage.

"She's not happy unless you can feel the burn from the fire, so make her happy," May said.

The 20-acre site allows for the fireworks to be spread out over a wide area. Melrose Pyrotechnics does about 200 shows in the state on July 4th. And this is the biggest and most elaborate.

"You start with the music. You determine what the music's going to be first. And then from there, you figure out what kind of fireworks you can put with the music," said Wynn Cramer, Melrose Pyrotechnics.

It's an unusual public private partnership between the village and Hamilton Partners that puts on this show. And it works.

"We don't do a parade or anything else, so we decided to put our efforts toward the fireworks show," said Jeff Pruyn, Itasca Mayor. "It's a once a year activity and we blow it out. We do it up big in one night."

Organizers estimate the crowd watching the show to be about 40,000 people.

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