Wheaton residents call dibs for Independence Day parade spots

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Thursday, July 4, 2024
Wheaton residents call dibs for July 4th parade spots
In a suburban version of Chicago's famous dibs, Wheaton residents are putting out objects along their Independence Day parade route.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- It's the suburban version of Chicago's dibs, but in July and instead of saving shoveled-out street parking spots, Wheaton residents put out chairs, blankets, ropes and a variety of other objects to save their spots along the Independence Day parade route.

"It's our big hosting day of the year. Absolutely. Gotta have a tent and food. It's a great way to get the neighbors together," said resident Evan Barker.

Barker is setting up a tent in his yard and getting ready for a couple dozen friends, neighbors and family tomorrow. He's already reserved a piece of real estate in front of his house to make sure they have a spot to watch the parade.

The annual Wheaton Independence Day parade is a tradition dating back more than 75 years.

"People start to stake their spots three to four days before the parade starts," said Margie Wilhelmi of the Wheaton Park District.

Up and down Main Street, which is the bulk of the parade route, most every piece of real estate has already been claimed. People started laying down their dibs over the weekend.

It's apparently not an issue with village officials, just continuing a long tradition.

Drew Fields is hoping to jam about 20 or so people into a small space in front of his neighbor's house; he admits he may have been a little late.

"More than anything it's fun for the kids to be out running around," he said.

While lots of communities have parades like this on July 4, few have so much competition for real estate along the route, or as much tradition.

"We've seen families grow up. Those who had entries in the parade are bringing grandchildren here to participate," said Wilhelmi.

Wheaton also hosts a fireworks show Wednesday night, but it's in a big park and there's no need to reserve a spot.