Fourth of July Family Picks

Fourth of July Family Picks

It’s all about fireworks this weekend, of course, but many holiday celebrations include other family friendly activities — parades, 5K races, cookouts, pancake breakfasts, baseball, music and talent shows.

You can see fireworks on Friday night (Rantoul, Westville), Saturday night (Arthur, Monticello, Georgetown) and Sunday night (Champaign, Mahomet). And there will be fireworks all three nights somewhere in Danville.

For all the details, check the News-Gazette’s roundup of 4th of July Festivities. Here are some highlights:

Rocking The Runway’: 6 to 11:30 p.m. Friday, Rantoul National Aviation Center, Rantoul. Admission charge.

The Rantoul Area Chamber of Commerce sponsors this freedom celebration, with inflatables for kids, 6 to 9 p.m.; food and drinks, 6 to 11 p.m.; ramp dance, 8 to 11:30 p.m.; fireworks, 9:30 p.m.; and Ryan Ideus and the Feudin’ Hillbillies Band, 8 to 11:30 p.m.

Admission is $6 for adults, $3 for ages 6 to 12, and kids 5 and under are free. Veterans also receive free admission.

There’s also a Firecracker 5K Run/Walk at 7 p.m., and each participant will receive free admission to the “Rocking the Runway Firecracker Bash” after the race. Entry fees on race day are $25 for adults, $15 for children 10 and under. Registration and packet pickup is from 6 to 7 p.m. Friday.

The event continues Saturday with a parade at 10 a.m. and kids games at noon, among other activities.

For information: Call 893-3323 or visit

Ice Cream and Independence’: 7 p.m. Saturday, First Christian Church, corner of Staley Road and Church Street, C. Admission charge.

This annual show by the Concert Band of Central Illinois will feature patriotic and Broadway melodies and a singalong. Pre-show entertainment will also be available, with free ice cream from marble Slab Creamery for ticket holders between 5 and 6:30 p.m. The show will be presented live on NewsTalk 1400 WDWS radio.

Tickets are $8-$16 tickets and available at Bresnan Meeting Center, 706 Kenwood Road, C; WDWS radio station, 2301 S. Neil St., C; or at the door on July 3 (if any left).

Fun in Monticello: All day Saturday, Lodge Park and downtown Monticello.

Taste of Monticello will present a parade, food, games and concerts by brass and blues bands from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday in downtown Monticello.

Festivities in Lodge Park will include food, games and music starting at 2 p.m., with fireworks at dusk.

Freedom train: Fireworks Special! Monticello Railway Museum, 8 p.m. Saturday. Admission charge.

Ride the train from downtown Monticello to watch the town’s fireworks. Tickets are $10 for adults and seniors, $8 for ages 2-12, and kids under 2 ride free with a paying adult.

Trains depart at 8 p.m. from the Wabash Depot in downtown Monticello. Space is limited, and reservations are strongly advised. Bring lawn chairs, blankets and insect repellent. The concession stand will have sandwiches, snacks and cold soft drinks.

For information: Call 762-9011 or visit

Light up the Lake! Freedom Fest, 3 to 10 p.m. Sunday, Lake of the Woods Forest Preserve, 109 S. Lake of the Woods Road, Mahomet. Admission charge.

Celebrate the 4th with an afternoon of family activities capped off by fireworks set to music. Admission is $1 per person, but kids 5 and under are free. Boats will be available at 1 p.m., food and kids games at 3 p.m., Music in Motion at 5 p.m., and fireworks at 9 p.m.

For information: Call 586-3360

Champaign County Freedom Celebration: “150 Years of Local Heroes,” Sunday, various sites. Free, donations requested.

— Youth run and 5K race-walk: east side of Assembly Hall on Fourth Street; registration, 9:30 a.m.; youth start, 10:30 a.m.; 5K racers-walkers start, 11:05 a.m.

– Parade: 1:05 p.m. at First Street and Kirby Avenue, Champaign; ends at California and Lincoln avenues, Urbana.

– Concert/festivities: 6:30 p.m., Dodds Park at Parkland College, near Mattis and Bradley avenues, Champaign. Evening concert by Captain Rat & The Blind Rivets (rock ‘n’ roll from the 1950s and 1960s), food vendors, inflatables and kids’ games.

— Fireworks: 9:15 p.m. at Dodds Park.


Check the Are We There Yet? blog every Friday for upcoming family friendly events, pulled from our News-Gazette online calendar, e3 magazine and other sources. I’ll also do a quick radio update of our “Family Picks” at 4:50 p.m. every Thursday on WDWS-AM 1400.

Do you have an item you'd like to submit? Email me at, or use the N-G online calendar. Look for it on the upper right-hand side of the News-Gazette home page,

Photo: Fireworks at the 2009 Champaign County Freedom Celebration at Dodds Park in Champaign onJuly 5, 2009. News-Gazette file photo by Darrell Hoemann

Blog Photo

Comments embraces discussion of both community and world issues. We welcome you to contribute your ideas, opinions and comments, but we ask that you avoid personal attacks, vulgarity and hate speech. We reserve the right to remove any comment at our discretion, and we will block repeat offenders' accounts. To post comments, you must first be a registered user, and your username will appear with any comment you post. Happy posting.

Login or register to post comments