Two ways to watch fireworks in Oak Park

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By Dan Haley

Editor and Publisher

"There are two kinds of people in this world," I wisely told a colleague this week. "Those who wash their fruit and those who do not."

She looked at me as if she wished she had not brought up the subject of fruit washing during our weekly staff meeting, where I pulled containers of Whole Foods organic fruit out of a bag.

Personally, I thought we were making progress on our grand experiment to shift the bribe for attending Staff Council from donuts to blueberries and grapes. But no, now the fruit had to be scrubbed. So, as I worked down the agenda of upcoming special sections and Fourth of July deadline alterations, a couple of other staffers dutifully rinsed the fruit in a conference room sink that probably hasn't been scoured in a year.

Pick your germ source, folks. They're everywhere and the little buggers are invisible, you know.

There are two kinds of people in the world, I'd say to you dear readers. Those who sit in the stadium during the Fourth of July fireworks at OPRF and those who bring folding chairs and set up in the rubber grass athletic field across Lake Street.

It is a stark choice and my sense is that people do not willy-nilly shift their seating choice from year to year depending on some whim. Either you are a rigid stadium family or you are a more easy-going, spread-out-a-blanket, let-the-kids-run-around sort of bunch. Not making judgments here. But why in hell would anyone want to sit for 90 minutes of hard, back-less benches in the stadium when they could be luxuriating on a sea of hot, sweat-infused Astro-Turf ™?

While I'm thinking about it, aren't there any more gates officials could open in the fence that surrounds the south field so thousands of people toting coolers and pulling wagons of kids don't get funneled through a 4-foot opening?

Of course, as a trained journalist I know there are more than two sides to any story, more than two ways to watch the fireworks. For the 1 percent who live immediately adjacent to the high school they get to stretch out on their perfect lawns for a bird's-eye view. It is the one evening a year when they don't have reason to complain about stadium lights, football crowds or our rude kids trying to raise their cool quotient by smoking, spitting, swearing or making out in their front yards. So enjoy the fireworks, folks.

There are the edgy Oak Parkers — yes, I know, edgy — who watch the fireworks from the Green Line el platform. Probably they jumped the turnstyles. People gather on the top level of The Avenue parking garage to watch. Possibly there is beer involved.

Then there are the firefighters who get to stand on the roof of the high school field house, ostensibly watching to make sure an errant hot ash doesn't burn down the school. But I know they are really watching the fireworks. Pretty sure I've read their lips with my binoculars and they are saying, "Oooohhhh, that was a good one." At the same time, the school has yet to catch fire, so nice work, first responders!

Have I mentioned yet that the fireworks are sponsored each year by Community Bank of Oak Park-River Forest? That's a mighty nice thing for the bank to do. And this might be the place to just casually mention that Wednesday Journal — yes, us — pay the freight for the grand finale, the most spectacular 60 seconds of the year in Oak Park.

See you at the parade in the morning and at the fireworks at dusk.

Email: Twitter: @OPEditor

Reader Comments

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Really Dan Haley??? from Oak Park  

Posted: July 13th, 2012 9:49 AM

Really Dan Haley? Another shot at the firefighters? They only watch the fireworks? I suppose they're not there in case something went terribly wrong and a mortar accidentally launched into the crowd. They definitely weren't there for the safety of the public either because they are paramedics also. Seems kind of funny at a fireworks show your watching the firefighters through your binoculars instead of watching the fireworks. Mr. Haley, you have quite the angry view against firefighters.

Lori M  

Posted: July 5th, 2012 9:01 AM

I watch the works from in front of my house near Oak Park and Augusta - I have to find just the right patch of sky, betwixt the trees. It's a challenge but it's darned convenient!

Patricia O'Shea  

Posted: July 4th, 2012 1:08 PM

Looking forward to your finale. :)

south of the ike from op  

Posted: July 3rd, 2012 8:17 AM

Or for those of us on the south side we walk over to Forest Park.

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