Independence Day celebrations set across McHenry County

While some McHenry County festivities were scaled back this year, others are holding their inaugural fireworks, parade

After a year with few celebrations for Independence Day, towns around McHenry County are back with fireworks, parades and festivals to mark America’s 245th birthday.

In Harvard, this holiday weekend will bring the village’s first ever fireworks celebration for the Fourth of July. The village of Hebron also will host its first Independence Day parade this year.

“[We] always wanted to have a fireworks show in Harvard for Independence Day,” said Scott Logan, the coordinator of the Red, White and Blue Food Truck FEASTival in Harvard. “We’ve actually combined an Independence Day celebration with our food truck FEASTival that we did in 2018 and 2019.”

The plan had been to roll out the fireworks with last year’s festival but that was nixed because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Logan said. This year’s event will include food trucks from around the area, live music, games and a bags tournament.

“This is intended to be very local,” Logan said. “We want something our community can come to. It’s entirely free to get in. We just wanted something fun and free, and now that we are opening up, the timing really worked out and we’re hoping people are ready to get out and have fun.”

Some other McHenry County communities felt the financial burden or uncertainty from the pandemic: The village of Wonder Lake is asking the public for donations to help pay for the fireworks, the cost of which is said has not decreased even as COVID-19 had “a very negative impact” on local businesses.

“So, since we do not expect to see the same business donations that we have received in the past we really do need to see a significant increase in street corner donations and generous personal donations,” the village said on its website.

The village announced it would not be hosting a parade or other kid-centric activities as normal, but a community-organized parade has been scheduled for 1 p.m. Saturday.

The Cary Park District canceled its celebration completely, citing uncertainity.

“The park district planned for summer events several months ago and during that planning had to use the best information available at that time,” the Cary Park District wrote in a statement. “Ultimately it was decided during the planning stage that Summer Celebration and the fireworks display associated with that event will not be held this year.”

Logan said the pandemic didn’t really cause any issues planning this year’s festival in Harvard, but the state’s recent reopening on June 11 allowed them to put more together over the past few weeks.

“We ended up pulling this together very quickly, almost at the last minute,” Logan said. “We have some experience with the food trucks and relationships with several bands in the area, so we were able to – with relatively short notice – get them signed up.”

Celebrations also will be going on as planned in Crystal Lake with the popular fireworks show at Main Beach Sunday. The Lakeside Festival at the Dole will run from Thursday through Sunday with the parade at 1 p.m. Sunday.

Main Beach will open for residents at 9 a.m., Crystal Lake Park District Recreation Aquatics Supervisor Heidi Stolt said, and she expects it to be busy.

A rush usually comes after the parade, and the best time for nonresidents to arrive will be 2:30 p.m. Sunday, when the cost to enter becomes $5, she said.

“It’s a perfect place, and there’s a beautiful sunset,” Stolt said.

Here is a list with more information about events being held around the area this weekend:

Barrington

Fireworks will take place at dusk Friday at Barrington High School, 616 W. Main St. On Saturday, the parade will begin at 10 a.m., traveling from from the high school to the Metra station.

Crystal Lake

Several events are planned for Independence Day in Crystal Lake. Lakeside Festival at the Dole runs Thursday through Sunday. The festival includes carnival rides and games, food and drink options and live music. Information on the festival can be found at facebook.com/LakesideFestivalattheDole/.

Crystal Lake’s Independence Day Parade will step off at 1 p.m. Sunday at City Hall, 100 W. Woodstock St., then travel down Dole Avenue, ending at South Elementary School.

Fireworks will take place at dusk Sunday at Main Beach, 300 Lakeshore Drive. That will cap a day of celebrations at the beach. The beach will open at 9 a.m. with regular admission rates until 2:30 p.m. After that time, visitors older than age 3 will be charged $5 for entrance and will receive a bracelet allowing admission to the fireworks. At 7 p.m., Voices in Harmony and the Crystal Lake Community Band will perform.

Fox Lake

The village’s Independence Day celebrations will be held on Saturday. The parade along Grand Avenue will begin at 4 p.m followed by live music at 5 p.m. at Lakefront Park, 71 Nippersink Blvd. Fireworks will happen at dusk over Nippersink Lake.

Harvard

The village will host its first Independence Day fireworks display this year, building on the Red, White and Blue Food Truck FEASTival held at Milky Way Park, 300 Lawrence Road. Admission is free, and the event runs 2 to 10 p.m. Saturday. There will be food trucks, a beer tent, games and activities, along with several live music groups.

A doubles cornhole tournament that costs $20 a team will begin at 4 p.m., and the first-place team will receive a cash prize.

Fireworks will close the celebration.

Hebron

The village of Hebron will hold its augural Fourth of July parade Saturday. It will step off at 11 a.m. from Alden-Hebron High School, travel north on Illinois Street from McKinley Avenue before making its way back to the school.

Huntley

Fireworks will take place at 9:30 p.m. Sunday at Deicke Park, 11419 Route 47. The fireworks show will be set to music on the Huntley Community Radio, 101.5 FM.

Lakemoor

The Lakemoor parade will begin at 10 a.m. Sunday, traveling from Village Hall, 28581 Route 120, to Morrison Park, 233 Rand Road.

Marengo

Fireworks will take place after dark Saturday, and the bleachers at Marengo Community High School, 110 Franks Road, will be open for residents to come watch the show.

Spring Grove

On Saturday, country music band Bella Cain will perform at 7:30 p.m. at the intersection of Main and Blivin streets. Parking at Spring Grove Horse Fair Park, 8105 Blivin St., will be available for $10 a vehicle. Food trucks also will be on site.

The parade will take place at noon Sunday down Main Street. Fireworks will be at dusk at Thelen Park, 8516 Winn Road.

Wonder Lake

A water ski show will be held Saturday afternoon on lake at Center Beach, located off East Lake Shore Drive at Hancock Drive. Fireworks will happen at dark over the lake.

Citing uncertainty because of the pandemic, the village said no parade or additional kids activities will be held this year. The village also asked for additional donations from the public to help fund the fireworks show.

A community-organized parade is planned for 1 p.m. Saturday, starting at Christ the King Catholic Church, 5006 E. Wonder Lake Road, and runs through the center of town.

Woodstock

Fireworks will begin at dusk Sunday at Emricson Park, 1313 Kishwaukee Valley Road.

Don’t see your event? Please email copydesk@nwherald.com with the details to be added to this round-up.

Ben Szalinski

Ben Szalinski

Ben reports on local news in Harvard, Marengo, Huntley and Lake in the Hills along with the McHenry County Board. He graduated from the University of Illinois Springfield Public Affairs Reporting program in 2021. Ben is originally from Mundelein and enjoys outdoor activities and spending time with friends and family.