CHAIN O LAKES, Ill. (WLS) -- A busy and fun weekend is ahead for July 4 in the Chicago area, as many people start to celebrate their independence from COVID-19.
The Chain O Lakes Marina is doing brisk business into the July 4th weekend. Wave runner riders and boaters of all stripes have come to gas up.
"It doesn't even compare to last year," said Elizabeth Jaworski. "It's good to get back to normal, get back on the water, have fun and enjoy the holiday."
That joy is what so many people in McHenry County are counting on as they ease out of lockdown.
"Celebrate our freedom, right? We finally have it back, it's Fourth of July, let's have fun," said Steve Hermansson.
For Steve Moulis, it means a boon for business; this is the first summer holiday post-vaccinations.
"Tomorrow night I believe is the fireworks, and that's going to be packed," he said. "The lake will be very crowded. We'll have a lot of gas stocks, a lot of people coming and buying ice and snacks. It'll be a lot of fun."
But it means something more, too, for a business that's been passed down through the years and survived the pandemic.
"This is like a ma and pa shop," said Moulis. "I work here with my wife. That's my daughter, my sons are all part of the operation here. I'd be like third generation, kids'll be fourth generation."
Over at Jett Funn Watersports Rentals, manager Kevin Lynch said he is booked up.
"This Fourht of July is gonna be extremely busy," said manager Kevin Lynch. "We've got all of our boats, we've got wave runners, power boats, pontoon boats, fishing boats, deck boats, canoes, kayaks and our hydro bikes all booked up for this weekend."
And at Dockers restaurants right on Fox Lake, they're ready for the weekend action.
"I think because the fireworks, too, we'll have them again this year and we didn't have them last year, so that usually will bring people out," said Justice Haase, Dockers Restaurant.
In Aurora, hundreds of chairs lined up to see fireworks, with live music as a soundtrack.
And while Hometown Fest in Palatine looks a bit different, without a fireworks display or parade, everyone was still having a good time.
"With an 8 and 4-year-old, you are going to do what is safe. They are having a great time whether there are fireworks or not," said Brett Bildstein, Palatine resident.
In DuPage County, the Naperville Salute was under way. The family friendly Independence Day celebration is centered around veterans, active military members and first responders.