5 things to do in the Illinois Valley: La Salle hosts its summer party, pair of fireworks shows slated

Plenty of outdoor activities the weekend ahead of Independence Day

1 - Celebrate La Salle this weekend. The city’s annual summer festival on Second Street downtown runs Thursday through Sunday with the carnival opening at 5 p.m. Thursday and Friday, and 1 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Wristband specials are $25 from 5 to 9 p.m. Thursday and 1 to 5 p.m. Sunday. The festival will feature live music from Hairbanger’s Ball (7 to 10 p.m. Thursday); Stage 2 Clingers (5 to 8 p.m. Friday) and Brushville (8 to 11 p.m. Friday); Happy Wanderers (3 p.m. Saturday), 303 (6 p.m. Saturday) and Resurrection, a Journey tribute band (9 p.m. Saturday). A fireworks show is scheduled 10 p.m. Saturday. Food vendors, a beer garden, citywide garage sales, a craft fair, a 5K race and Magic Matt (noon to 4 p.m. Sunday) are among the festival’s other highlights. The weekend will conclude with the car show Sunday morning to 3 p.m. Go to the Celebrate La Salle Facebook page for more information.

2 - Get a classic experience Friday in Utica. Utica’s downtown will be filled with classic cars for the Starved Rock Street Cars Cruise Night sponsored by the Utica Business Association. The event runs 5 to 9 p.m. Friday. To register as a participant, it is $10. Several downtown businesses are scheduling their own activities around the event.

Accompanying the musical performances a the Music in the Park series in Ottawa will be food vendors.

3 - Listen to some free music Saturday in Ottawa’s Washington Square. The Music in the Park series begins with Demolition Men performing from 6 to 8 p.m. The series will continue every Saturday at the same time and place through Aug. 27. Admission is free. Bring a lawn chair or a blanket, or settle on one of the park benches. On-street and lot parking is available nearby. For more information, go to the Ottawa Special Events Group’s Facebook page.

4 - Get an early start to celebrating Independence Day in Mendota. The city’s fireworks are scheduled to begin 9:30 p.m. Saturday at Lake Mendota. Gates will open at 6 p.m. Admission is free. There will be a concession stand, glow merchandise, and additional food from Lions Club Corn Dogs, Tacos Guzman and Paulie’s Snack Shack. Go to http://www.mendotachamber.com/ or call 815-539-6507 for more information.

5 - Catch a family show this weekend in Princeton. Performances are 7:30 p.m. Friday, and 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday at the Grace Theater, 316 S. Main St. The play jumps into the pages of Mo Willems’ hit children’s book series when “Elephant and Piggie’s ‘We Are in a Play!’” running through Saturday, July 2. An elephant named Gerald and a pig named Piggie are the “bestus” of friends, according to the script. In this “Flippy Floppy Floory” show, Gerald and Piggie sing their way through a day where anything is possible. They wear silly hats, go to a party with squirrels, learn a new dance and eat ice cream. To buy tickets, visit www.festival56.com and click on the box office tab. The box office also can be reached at 815-879-5656 from noon to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday and one hour before each performance.

Bonus: Start your weekend with some color in Streator. Safe Journeys (formerly known as ADV & SAS) is hosting its first Color Run for children ages 5 to 14 on Saturday, June 25, at Twister Hill Park on Broadway Street, just south of Streator High School. Same-day registration is 8 a.m. and the event begins at 8:30 a.m. The event fee is $25 and includes a T-shirt, water and a snack. Register online at https://www.raceentry.com/races/annual-color-run/2022/register. For questions, contact Melissa, the race director, at melissae@safejourneysillinois.org or by phone at 815-672-2353.