The village of Oak Park has canceled the Fourth of July parade and fireworks display as a preventative and protective measure to limit further spread of COVID-19. The announcement was released in an emailed newsletter from the village of Oak Park sent May 8.
“The event is not feasible, public health officials say, given the crowds created by the annual celebration,” the announcement reads.
The decades old parade was the work of the village’s Community Relations Commission. The fireworks, held at dusk at Oak Park and River Forest High School, were brought back to Oak Park a generation ago by a citizens group which raised donations under the moniker of the Great American Lightshow Association (GALA). For the past 15 to 20 years the fireworks were coordinated and paid for by the now sold Community Bank Oak Park River Forest. For most of those years the Grand Finale was underwritten by Wednesday Journal. Community Bank was sold last year to Byline Bank.
Holding the celebratory events would not be in compliance with Governor J.B. Pritzker’s five-phase plan to safely reopen the state of Illinois. Pritzker’s plan does not allow social gatherings the size of the parade and fireworks display until the fifth and last phase of the state’s Restore Illinois plan.