Photo by Joe Boyle
A large crowd attended the annual Fourth of July Parade in Oak Lawn last year along both sides of 95th Street. The parade will be held Saturday morning but spectators are encouraged to wear face coverings and practice social distancing.
By Joe Boyle
The village of Oak Lawn has decided to hold its annual Fourth of July Parade, but with some modifications.
Some residents have said they may not attend because of the presence of COVID-19. But the village has decided that the parade, with some restrictions, can take place. The parade will be held along its usual path beginning at 10 a.m. along 95th Street, from 51st Avenue west to 55th Court.
"The parade can be a beautiful thing, but it will be smaller this year," said Oak Lawn Mayor Sandra Bury. "The Committee of Special Events and the (Village) Board said they wanted to have it. I think people can enjoy themselves but they need to be careful. We won't have as many floats and we won't be passing out candy this year."
News that the parade would take place did take some residents by surprise. The annual Day in the Park, which is usually held in Memorial Park and the fireworks show that would follow at Richards High School the night of July 4 were both postponed a while ago. Bury said the village may hold the event sometime around Labor Day.
The annual Independence Day Parade and fireworks show in Evergreen Park was also canceled. The annual Hickory Hills Street Fair and the Friendship Fest in Palos Hills have also been canceled due to concerns over large crowds during the pandemic.
Bury said those concerns are valid and reminded everyone to take precautions.
"It's OK to stay home if you feel at risk," Bury said. "I have passed out a quantity of masks (for the parade). We just don't expect the crowds like we have in the past. Again, it will be a smaller parade."
The village said that anyone attending the parade are asked to wear face coverings and practice social distancing. Members of the same family could be the one exception. However, everyone is encouraged to wear face coverings.
Spectators are encouraged to view the parade on both sides of 95th Street. Although the parade will be smaller than usual, some familiar businesses and organizations will be in the event, along with the usual cast of characters. Those Funny Little People, the Chicago White Sox mascot Southpaw, the Chicago Blackhawks' Tommy Hawk and Sam the Giant Wheel are scheduled to take part in the parade route.
Bury said that families can have a good time at the Fourth of July Parade. But she reminds everyone that being cautious is important.
"It's hot and it's nice out," Bury said. "And it's the summer but you have to be careful. It's a beautiful holiday, but I want everyone to be safe."