Celebrating Independence Day

Doug Oleson - doleson@shawmedia.com
Joe Beardsley, Marge Ottengheime and Chhoun Lach in front of the Praire Crossing Supportive Living Centerin Shabbona, Ill. on Saturday, June 29, 2013.
Doug Oleson - doleson@shawmedia.com Joe Beardsley, Marge Ottengheime and Chhoun Lach in front of the Praire Crossing Supportive Living Centerin Shabbona, Ill. on Saturday, June 29, 2013.

The downpour didn’t seem to want to quit, but rain wasn’t enough to stop Dave and Samantha Garver from attending the Independence Day parade in Shabbona last Saturday.

“Our son (Patrick) is on one of the fire trucks and we didn’t want to miss him,” Samantha said.

“It was fun,” Patrick, 3, said after waving to people from the front passenger side of the truck.

The parade, which kicked off Shabbona’s 12th annual Hometown Parade & Festival, was the highlight of the day, especially since most of the other activities at Purdy’s Lot were rained out – even the kids’ water fight sponsored by the fire department.

“It just brings out the old saying, ‘Don’t rain on my parade,’ ” parade watcher Chris Gallagher joked. He added that the downpour did wash out the lemonade stand his 4-year-old daughter, Ursula, had planned.

“I like parades,” said Jolee Larson, 8. “Your friends may be in the parade and they bombard you with candy.”

Positioned in front of the Prairie Crossing Living & Rehab Center, Jolee got so much candy that she shared it with the residents of the assisted living center, where her grandfather Wayne Phillips is a resident. “They can have two pieces each,” she said.

Officials said Shabbona often is the first town in DeKalb County to hold its Independence Day celebration.

“Generally, it is the weekend before, but it all depends on when the Fourth falls,” Jamie Deutsch, president of the Shabbona Hometown Events Committee, said. “Next year, the Fourth is on a Friday, so that’s when we’ll have it.”

The reason for hosting their festival early, he said, is that many of the committee members are also volunteer members of the fire department, which always serves a big pancake breakfast on the morning of the Fourth. “The plate gets a little full,” he said. “We don’t have a huge festival, but for a village the size of Shabbona, we try to make it a big deal.”

Although there was a volleyball tournament and a water fight on Sunday, most of Shabbona’s activities were scheduled for Saturday. The fireworks display, which will be shot at Shabbona Lake on Thursday night, is conducted by the Shabbona Fireworks Committee, which was formed five years ago and is separate from the hometown committee.

There is a cost of $10 per campsite or $10 per car entering the state park or the nearby Indian Oaks Country Club to watch the fireworks, with 10 percent of proceeds going toward community groups and the rest toward the fireworks.

There also will be fireworks on the Fourth of July at Hopkins Park in DeKalb, highlighting an evening of live music, food and crafts.

Although its four-day Fourth of July Celebration begins on Wednesday, Kirkland won’t shoot its fireworks – billed as “one of the largest displays in the area” – until 9:30 p.m. Saturday, July 6. “We’re kind of known in the area for our fireworks display,” this year’s chairman, Scott Keneway, said.

Although he can’t verify it, Keneway said Kirkland is supposed to have the longest continually running Independence Day celebration in Illinois, dating back 65 years. The festival is sponsored by the Lions Club. To help support its display, Lions will sell raffle tickets for $1 each or six for $5.

Other highlights of the free, July 3-6 festival in Kirkland are the Ms. 4th of July contest on Wednesday night, the parade at 11 a.m. on the Fourth, rides, a beer tent, a flea market, food booths, live entertainment, a car and tractor show and games and activities for all ages. For a complete list, go to www.kirkfland4thofjuly.com.

Fireworks, along with regular racing, will be featured at the Sycamore Speedway on Saturday night, rescheduled from last Saturday because of rain.