Plenty of ways to celebrate Fourth of July

Plenty of ways to celebrate Fourth of July

If you want to run, walk, watch a parade or "ooh" and "aah" at fireworks, the Champaign County Freedom Celebration has something for you.

In its 58th year, the celebration is the largest area event scheduled for the three-day weekend. Smaller towns are scheduling their patriotic festivals before or after the actual holiday or on July 4 for those who want down-home-style activities.

The county celebration, in Champaign-Urbana, happens in three parts:


5K Race and Walk

– Assembly Hall, 1800 S. First St., C.

– Registration, east side on Fourth Street, 9:30 a.m., $20.

– Youth run, 10:30 a.m.; no charge.

– 5K race-walk, 11:05 a.m.

– No dogs allowed on the course and participants with strollers must wait until others have started.

– Information at Body-N-Soul Sports, 356-8926 or e-mail at


– Theme: "Honoring Our Military Heroes" with Marty Conatser of Champaign, national commander of the American Legion, as grand marshal.

– Step off at 1:05 p.m.

– Starts at Lincoln Avenue and Nevada Street, Urbana; ends at Florida Avenue and First Street, Champaign.


– Dodd's Park, Mattis Avenue, Champaign; near Parkland College.

– Music by The Tons 'O' Fun Band; main stage near north soccer field parking lot; 7 p.m., and after the fireworks.

– National anthem, invocation, taps and honor guard, 9 p.m.

– Fireworks by Melrose Pyrotechnics of Indiana, 9:15 p.m.

Sunday, June 29

Holiday fun starts today at the 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saybrook Freedom Festival. Plans include garage sales, water ball fights, wine tasting, music, fishing derby, parade and fireworks. Festival shows are:

– Arts and crafts and flea market, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m..

– Motorcycle show, Cheney's Grove Library, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

– Car show, community center, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Tuesday-Thursday, July 1-3

The Lions Club Extravaganza in Tilton will be held in the Old Daniel school lot, Illinois 1 and 14th Street, from 5 to 10 p.m. There will be a raffle for $500 worth of meat and a freezer, karaoke, carnival, flea market and food vendors. The Flathead 6 Band plays from 6 to 9 p.m.

Thursday, July 3

Champaign: Ice Cream and Independence with refreshments, old-fashioned radio broadcast, flag ceremony and pops concert; Virginia Theatre, 203 W. Park Ave., C; tickets, $8-14, 356-9063; free ice cream outside, 4 p.m.; radio show by WDWS, 7 p.m.; followed by "A Salute to Our American Heroes," performed by the Concert Band of Central Illinois.


– Gao Grotto, 2400 Denmark Road; gates open at 3 p.m.; $1; sandwiches sold; fireworks at dusk.

– Turtle Run Golf Club and Banquet Center, 332 East Liberty Lane; entertainment by Hoosier Daddy; pool open until dusk; fireworks at dusk.


– Train rides from Wabash Depot, downtown, to Lodge Park; 8 p.m.; $8-10 with reservations at 762-9011.

– Entertainment, food and fireworks; Lodge Park.

Paxton: Paxton-Buckley-Loda Choral Music Boosters' third annual talent show; Pells Park Pavilion, Paxton; 6:30 p.m.

Friday, July 4


– Patriotic program with readings and light refreshments; Bryant Cottage state historic site; 10 a.m. followed by tours until 5 p.m.; free.

– Parade, downtown, 1 p.m.

– Games and activities, city park, all day; Community Band concert, 4 p.m.; fireworks, dusk.

Champaign: 25th year for Washington Street parade; 500 block; 10:45 a.m.; featuring a Champaign fire truck.


– Pancake, sausage, biscuit and gravy breakfast; American Legion Post No. 210, 201 Prospect; 8 to 11:30 a.m.; $5; proceeds for nursing scholarships.

– Parade, starts at east end of Chester Street, 10:30 a.m.

– Spaghetti dinner sponsored by Danville Jaycees; music by Gale and Dave Lowe; American Legion Post No. 210, 201 Prospect; 5-7 p.m.; proceeds to bring a soldier home for Christmas.

– Danville Boat Club, 15750 Boat Club Road; open to the public; music by Sirifax, 2 to 4 p.m.; cardboard boat races, 3 p.m.; Cruzin Eddie, 4 to 7 p.m.; Ben Jenkins, 7 to 10 p.m.; fireworks, dusk; $5, but free to active military families with identification; rain date, Saturday.

– Danville Country Club, 2718 Denmark Road, dusk; rain date, Saturday.

Homer: Sidewalk sales; downtown businesses, 10 a.m.; flag raising by Homer American Legion Post No. 290, Homer Park, 11 a.m.; bicycle decorating and dress-up-your-pet contests, Homer Park, 11:05 a.m. registration; races using mechanics' under-car creepers, Homer Park, 1 p.m.; old fashioned games, 2 to 4 p.m., and karaoke, 3 to 5:30 p.m., Homer Park; parade, starts and ends at school, 6:30 p.m.; music, Village Hall, 7 to 9 p.m.; fireworks, grassy field behind Village Hall, dusk.

Mahomet: Freedom Fest at Lake of the Woods, north of town, 3 to 10 p.m.; $1; fireworks, dusk.

Oakwood: Breakfast, Oakwood Fire Department, 6 to 10 a.m.; parade registration, Oakwood and North Main Streets 8:30 to 10:30 a.m.; parade, 10:30 a.m.; demonstration of firefighters' and emergency personnel's apparatus, 7 to 8:30 p.m.; fireworks, Oakwood Park, dusk.

Paxton: Breakfast by Prospect Chapter No. 367, Order of the Eastern Star, American Legion Building, East Pells Street, 7:30 to 10:30 a.m.

Activities at Pells Park include 5K fun run/walk, 8 a.m.; flea market, 9 a.m.; car show, 9 a.m. to noon; patriotic music and flag presentation, 9:15 a.m.; worship service, 9:45 a.m.; antique tractor show; local art displays; horseshoe tournament; and live music.

Children's activities at the park start at 11:30 a.m. and include parade, face painting, kiddie tractor pull and games.

Also at the park, lunch stands open at noon; church programs, 1:15 and 2 p.m.; ice cream social, 2 p.m.

Ford County Historical Society's water tower museum, Market and Center Streets, open to public, 1-4 p.m.

Fireworks, Memorial Field, 9 p.m.

Rossville: Dixie Duck Dash, Christman Park, Stufflebeam Street, 4 p.m.; fish burger sale by American Legion.

Shelbyville: Because of flooding at Lake Shelbyville, celebration moved to Forest Park; volleyball tournament, 8 a.m.; Dairy Queen Cruise In car show, all day; inflatables and games for children; Kirs' Power Tumbling and Dance demonstration, 3 p.m.; Christ Tabernacle Church of Herrick Praise & Company Choir, 4 p.m.; Shelby Winds with patriotic songs, 5 p.m.; Wes Wheeler and Battle Creek Country, 6 to 9 p.m.

Fireworks at dusk with free shuttle service from Shelbyville High School between 6 and 8:30 p.m.; and from Sale Barn on East Illinois 16 between 7 and 8:30 p.m.

Sibley: 50th celebration with activities centered around Main Street, 9 a.m. to 10 p.m.; fishing derby; antique car and tractor show; Life Flight helicopter; parade, 1 p.m.; kids' games after parade; 3-on-3 basketball tournament; evening entertainment, followed by fireworks over the lake at dusk.

Villa Grove: Fireworks, Richman Sports Complex, dusk.

Friday and Saturday, July 4 and 5:

Urbana: Military living history display with items from the Civil War through Desert Storm; VFW Post No. 630, 1303 E. Main St., U; 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday and Saturday; breakfast served, 8 to 11 a.m. Saturday for $5.

Westville: Zamberletti Park; youth softball tournament both days; Haywire Band of Danville, 8 p.m. to midnight Saturday; beer garden and raffle.

Saturday, July 5:

Bellflower: Independence Day Show with the King Family of Monticello; McLean County Country Opry Show, 102 W. Center St.; 7 p.m.

Champaign: Old fashioned picnic for adults aged 50 and older; Hessel Park, Kirby Avenue, look for the red, white and blue balloons; 1 p.m.; bring a dish to share, lawn chair, lawn games; iced tea, lemonade and table service provided; sponsored by Helping Hands Ministries, outreach of Curtis Road Church of God.

Danville: Fireworks after the 6:30 p.m. Danville Dans vs. DuPage Dragons game; Danville Stadium, Ninth Street and Highland Blvd.; dusk.

Newman: Fireworks; Memorial Park; dusk.

Potomac: Parade registration, 8:30 a.m.; parade from Potomac Elementary School to Millie Curtis Park on U.S. 136, 10 a.m.; annual cookout, 310 W. State St., 11 a.m.; live music, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.; fireworks at elementary school, dusk, followed by street dance, Mainsource Bank parking lot.

Saturday-Sunday, July 5-6

Danville: Danville Days Rib Fest; cooking contest, live entertainment, volleyball, dodgeball and softball; Ellsworth Park, off West Main Street, Danville; $3-$5 for one day, $5-$8 for two days; any school may set up a fundraising booth. Information at 444-1636.

Sunday, July 6

Arcola: Moore Park; live bluegrass music, games for children, exhibition soccer match, 6 p.m.; fireworks, dusk.

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