With commitments from only about a third of the normal number of participants, the South Elgin board has canceled the Fourth of July parade for this year and will replace it with a patriotic celebration at Panton Mill Park.
The annual event normally draws 60 to 80 groups and businesses that take part in the parade, said Craig Pierce, communications specialist with the village.
Only 26 had signed up this year, which would have made for about a 10-minute parade.
“Everyone is disappointed,” Pierce said. “We just didn’t get enough participation to make it work.”
The village made numerous calls for participants on social media and in village communications, in addition to reaching out to past participants. Groups cited staff shortages, different plans following a two-year COVID absence, out-of-town sports tournaments, and more as reasons they couldn’t take part this year.
Pierce said the board weighed the brevity of the parade against the amount of time and money that would go into securing all the intersections and staffing emergency management and police personnel.
“We were still incurring this amount of work for a very short parade,” he said. “People showing up and getting a 10-minute parade would be rightfully disappointed when it’s wrapped up so fast.”
To fill the void, the village will hold a Fourth of July celebration from 11 a.m. to noon on July 4 at the park.
The South Elgin High School Marching Storm, which had already committed to participate in the parade, will perform at the soundstage during the celebration. The other 25 parade participants have been invited to set up their floats or decorated vehicles at the park for something akin to a reverse parade -- where people can walk past the participants, learn about businesses or organizations or just admire the groups’ display.
Parks and Rec staff members are working on refreshment options and other additions to the celebration as well.
“I think that what we’re going to do is still going to be a very welcoming celebration,” Pierce said.
The village plans to try to hold the parade again next year.
“We’re hoping it’s a one-year aberration,” Pierce said. “Hopefully, in 2023 the parade will take place just like all the ones in the past.”