Here is our list of holiday celebrations in East Central Illinois. If your community event is not listed, please add it in the comment section below.
July 1, 3
PAXTON — Fourth of July house-decorating contest, sponsored by the Paxton Area Chamber of Commerce. Paxton residents who would like to enter their homes in the contest are asked to contact the chamber at 379-4655 no later than Monday. The exterior of the homes will be judged after 1 p.m. Wednesday. Winners will be announced during the morning announcements during the Old-Fashioned Fourth of July Celebration at Pells Park. The first-place winner will receive a Family Pleaser from Monical's Pizza in Paxton. 379-4655.
MONTICELLO — Monticello Freedom Fest. 4 p.m. Wednesday, Lodge Park, Monticello. Festivities begin at 4 p.m. with inflatables for the kids, food vendors, balloon animals, raffle and running water sluice. Music by No Good Jane and the Martini Brothers, 5 to 9 p.m. Fireworks at 9 p.m. Bus service will be available from the Monticello Washington Elementary School parking lot. The Trail Blazers grounds north of Lodge Park will also be available for parking. 762-7380. The Monticello Railway Museum will offer a Fireworks Train, which leaves at 8 p.m. from the Wabash Depot, downtown. Ride the diesel fireworks train to watch the fireworks at 9 p.m. near Lodge Park. Reservations for train ride required, 877-762-9011. http://www.myrm.org.
MONTICELLO — Independence Celebration Spectacular. Open House and Air Show, 6 to 10 p.m. Wednesday, Eli Field, Monticello. Featuring a variety of model airplanes. Watch the jets fly and perform at 200 mph, plus music featuring Autumn Zero. 840-3400.
RANTOUL — Rantoul Freedom Celebration. Wednesday and Thursday. Firecracker Classic activities, 5:30 to 11 p.m. Wednesday, Rantoul Airport. Kid Zone activities include bag toss, face painting, bowling, picnic-style games, inflatable house and paintball target shooting. Food available, a dance recital and Raminator monster truck rides furnished. 5K run/walk at 7 p.m., with a Race for the Gown (any bride, bridegroom or member of a bridal party who participates may register the bride to win a free bridal gown). Music by Cover Four (country to rock) and Black and Blue Band (country), throughout the evening. Fireworks at 9 p.m. Admission to Rockin' the Runway, $5. Children get in free unless they want to get into the Kids Zone, in which case, $1.
BEMENT — Freedom Celebration. 2 p.m. to dark Thursday, Bement and Piatt County Forest Preserve Park outside Bement. A parade kicks off the celebration at 2 p.m., followed by activities in the park that include free popcorn, serving of root beer floats and fireworks at dusk. There will also be a concert by the Bement Community Band at 4 p.m. in the city park, 678-8184, firstname.lastname@example.org.
CHAMPAIGN — Champaign County Freedom Celebration. 9:05 a.m. Thursday, State Farm Center, 1800 S. St., C. New location and other changes. Theme: "United We Stand, Proudly We Serve." Festivities begin with the 20th Annual Youth Run and 5K Race/ Walk at 9:05 a.m. at State Farm Center. Parade at 11:05 a.m. Evening entertainment and fireworks spectacular will be launched from parking lot E14 (just west of State Farm Center). Bounce house and inflatables, musical entertainment on the main stage, and choice of food from local vendors. 531-3777, http://www.july4th.net.
CHAMPAIGN — Fourth of July Celebration, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Thursday, Sholem Aquatic Center, 2205 Sangamon Drive, C. Activities include: Free face painting; a kid-friendly cannonball contest; America-themed trivia contests; free watermelon- and ice cream-eating contests; concessions food and drink specials. Night Float from 8 to 10 p.m. Already left but want to come back? No need to pay again; just keep your receipt or get a stamp from the front desk. http://www.champaignparkdistrict.com.
DANVILLE — American Legion Post 210, 40/8's breakfast, 8 to 11 a.m. Thursday, American Legion Post No. 210, 201 Prospect Place, Danville. All-you-can-eat biscuits and gravy, and/or pancakes and sausage, coffee and juice. $6 donation. All proceeds go to nurses training.
DOWNS — Village of Downs 4th of July Celebration. Thursday. Fireman's Breakfast, 7 to 10 a.m. at Tri-Valley Middle School. July 4th Co-Ed 4's Sand Volleyball Tournament, 9 a.m. at Downs' Dooley Park; entry fee $25. Prizes for first, second and third places. Limit of 10 registered teams. Biscuits and Gravy Band, 11 a.m. to 2:45 p.m. Parade, "American Pride," noon, starts on Shafer Drive near BP station and ends in Dooley Park. Mayoral address, after the parade. Pedal-tractor pull, 1:15 p.m.; kids' games and inflatables, The Zoo Lady, Incredible Twist, dunk tank, 1:30 to 3:30 p.m.; three-on-three basketball, 2 p.m.; Happy Hearts Entertainment ('50s and '60s country), 3 p.m.; raffle drawing, 5:30 p.m.; Sister Groove Band, 6 to 9 p.m.; and fireworks at dusk.
LeROY — "Family Fourth of July" party. 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Thursday, Kiwanis Park. Includes Parade for Kids, featuring decorated bicycles and wagons, pets, family entries, decorated lawn mowers and golf carts and other entries. Other activities include games and contests for all ages.
LUDLOW — Ludlow's Fourth of July celebration. Festivities start at 2 p.m. Thursday, with events centered around the downtown area. The POW-MIA rolling memorial will be on display. Registration for a bike and car show at 2 p.m. $5 fee to benefit the Ludlow American Legion post and Ludlow Methodist Church's community programs. Vendors begin setting up at 3 p.m. The parade will begin forming about 3:30 p.m., near the old Catholic church. Parade downtown kicks off at 4 p.m. and is free to enter. Live music and entertainment at 5 p.m. 841-0091.
MAHOMET — Freedom Fest. Noon to 10 p.m. Thursday, Lake of the Woods Forest Preserve. As part of the holiday festivities, the boats will be open from 1 to 8 p.m.; food concessions and some family activities start at 3 p.m.; Pet Roxx, a local band, will play on the stage from 3 to 5 p.m. and then DJ entertainment by Music in Motion from 5 to 9 p.m. At 9 p.m., after a tribute to our service men and women, the fireworks show set to music will begin. Admission $1; children 5 and younger, free. Rain date: Friday. 586-2612, email@example.com.
PAXTON — Paxton Area Chamber of Commerce's 14th annual Old-Fashioned Fourth of July Celebration. Starting at 9 a.m. Thursday; all activities at Pells Park. Food stands, games, a church service, car show, tractor show and displays by local merchants. Flea market opens, 9 a.m.; car show registration, 9 a.m. to noon; patriotic music by the community choir, 9:15 a.m.; colors presented by American Legion Post 150, 9:30 a.m.; community worship service and winners of the house-decorating contest announced, 9:45 a.m.; antique tractor show, 10 a.m.; lunch stands open, 11 a.m.; children assemble at the playground for the children's parade, 11:30 a.m.; The Back Paiges band, car show judging, Paxton Carnegie Library sponsor "Take a Craft," a horseshoe tournament, and Uncle Sam and Betsy Ross make an appearance, all at noon; family games, noon to 3 p.m. In the afternoon, a preschool penny scramble. Ford County Historical Society's museum in downtown will be open, 1 to 3 p.m. Car show awards, 3 p.m. Fireworks will be set off around 9 p.m. at Memorial Field on Paxton's east side. 379-4655.
RANTOUL — Parade at 9:30 a.m. Thursday begins at the corner of Maplewood Drive and Grove Avenue and heads west down Grove before ending at Wabash Park. Earlier in the day, Rantoul Rotary will hold a pancake breakfast at the high school. 893-3323 or http://www.rantoulchamber.com.
SEYMOUR — Seymour's Fourth of July Celebration. Parade at 10 a.m. Thursday; car show from noon to 5 p.m.; carnival; live music by the Crazy Johnny Band, 2 to 5 p.m.; and fireworks at dusk.
SIBLEY — Sibley Area Fourth of July. 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. Thursday, Sibley Downtown Park and Sibley Lake, Sibley. Free activities for the entire family. Throughout the day, food stands at the Sibley Lake Pavilion. Children's catch-and-release fishing derby, 9 a.m. at the lake. Water ball contest with Sibley fire department and other area fire departments, 9 a.m. on Sciota Street south of the lake; 249-2346. Registration for car and motorcycle show, 9 a.m. until noon, downtown park; 309-826-5053. Trophies awarded, 3 p.m. Air Life Helicopter will land at the Old School Park, 11 a.m. Parade registration, 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at Township Building. Parade at 1 p.m. Children's games, 2:30 p.m. at the lake. Also at 2:30 p.m., the Sibley firemen will be sponsoring a corn hole/bags contest at Old School Park. Bingo at the Lake Pavilion after the parade. Annual Cardboard Boat Regatta, 4 p.m. on the lake. Face painting, interactive inflatables and balloons, 4 to 7 p.m. at the lake. Parade winners and raffle prize winners announced and the 2013 royalty introduced, 6 p.m., and free concert featuring Heather and the Porch Hounds at 6:30 p.m., also at the lake. Fireworks display over the lake at dusk. Fireworks rain date: July 6. 745-2549, 745-2523, firstname.lastname@example.org, http://www.sibleyfourthofjuly.com.
FARMER CITY — Fireworks at dusk on Friday, at the Farmer City Raceway. $5 fee for a full show of racing and fireworks.
July 5, 6
POTOMAC — Independence Day celebration. Friday and Saturday, . Friday evening includes a bags tournament, live music by Mike and Kayla, and beer tent (open at 6 p.m.). Bags tournament at 6:30 p.m. at Millie Curtis Park pavilion (registration, 5:30 p.m.); Luke Esteppe, 497-1079. Saturday begins at 8 a.m. with a coed softball tournament, until dusk; John Whitlow, 799-2134, or Danielle Talbott, 304-8567. Parade registration, 9:30 a.m., with parade at 11 a.m. starting at Potomac Grade School and down U.S. 136 through town, ending at the park. Hot dogs and hamburgers, for a donation, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the community cookout at community building, 310 W. State St. Free events all day for children include a bounce house, obstacle course and rocket, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Petting zoo, also available. Vendors with refreshments in the park. Bags tournament at 1 p.m., beer tent (registration, 12:30 p.m.). Cupcake war at 1 p.m., community building; must submit six cupcakes for tasting, call Marguerite Bailey, 799-6010. Bingo for prizes at 2 p.m., community building. Volunteer of the Year for service to the community honored at 3 p.m. Raffle tickets available all day at community building and immediately preceding the fireworks at Potomac Grade School; winner announced at the fireworks. Dinner served, 4:30 to 7 p.m. at Harry F. Carpenter American Legion Post 428. Euchre tournament at 6 p.m., community building. Fireworks at dusk at the grade school baseball diamond. Immediately after, music by DJ Keith Eyre in the park pavilion.
DANVILLE — Danville Boat Club's annual 4th of July Celebration. "Thunder Over Lake Vermilion," 5:30 p.m. Saturday, Boat Club Road, Danville. Live music, featuring Rodman Rail with Steve Rodman starting at 6:30 p.m. down by the lake. $5 cover charge for wristband admission to the clubhouse and grounds. Children under 10 are free. Bring lawn chairs for use along the lake front. Food will be served starting at 6 p.m. in the Club House. Fireworks scheduled for after 9:30 p.m. Fireworks will be shot off from the east side of the lake across from the Boat Club. Boaters are advised that Lake Vermilion is at no wake speed after dark. Boaters should have flashlights to keep clear of the unmanned anchored barge, which will have ground displays that will be shot off by remote control. Rain date: July 7. 442-4021, http://www.danvilleboatclub.com.
TUSCOLA — Tuscola's Independence Day Celebration, "Sparks in the Park," Saturday, Ervin Park. Schedule includes "Madness in the Mud" mud volleyball tournament, 3-on-3 basketball tournament, antique tractor show, 5K run/walk, parade, car show and more. Free concert by Arista Nashville recording artists, the Henningsens, at 8 p.m., and a firework display will close out the celebration. WIXY 100.3 radio will be covering the event as well as giving away tickets to a meet-and-greet barbecue with the band. 253-2112, email@example.com, City of Tuscola's Facebook page /cityoftuscola, http://www.point2tuscola.org.