By Jean Lotus
Oak Park's July 4 fireworks drew the biggest crowd in recent memory, according to Oak Park Police Chief Rick Tanksley. Although police had no official count of the number of attendees, they noted that the Oak Park and River Forest High School Stadium, as well as the turf field across Lake Street were both filled to capacity by 9:30 p.m.
"We had people sitting on Lake Street and we've never done that before," Tanksley said.
Contributing to the dense crowds was the fact that Ridgeland Common is under construction and many who traditionally view the display from Ridgeland had to move further east.
Also, Oak Park's firework display was the only game in the near western suburbs after fireworks were cancelled in Forest Park this year. Fireworks were cancelled in Berwyn and North Riverside two years ago.
Backup officers and squad cars from the Cook County Sheriff's Department were on hand. But the mild weather brought a family crowd to the event, and police reported no incidents or arrests.