Here in the States, we like to drag our Independence Day celebrations out for as long as possible. There are many events and festivals in the Chicago area. Ours began last week with the local Trout Valley Fourth of July party, which actually took place on June 27, so as not to interfere with the other celebrations taking place during the July 4 weekend. The day began with a softball game, following by a new bridge dedication, and a children’s parade. My five-year-old rode her bike (without training wheels!) decorated in red, white and blue. My two-year-old kicked back while she was pulled in a little red wagon, which was decorated with miniature flags and glittery pinwheels.
The parade ended at the riverfront lodge and park, where games were set up for the kids. There was a dunk tank, a moonwalk bounce house, an inflatable obstacle course, a fast pitch batting game, a money pit game, face painting, and a snow cone booth. My oldest daughter, husband, and step Dad also participated in organized yard games that included a water balloon toss, various types of races, and Simon Says. The girls enjoyed watching their Daddy and Grandpa take first place in the adult water balloon toss, while my five-year-old was thrilled to place second in the hula hoop competition. The day was wrapped up with a big cookout and potluck dinner, followed by fireworks and a live band that performed late into the night.
This upcoming weekend, we will likely stop by the Lakeside Festival in Crystal Lake to enjoy some of the local food venues, bands, carnival rides, and games. We will probably also make an appearance at the 29th Annual Taste of Chicago, taking place in Grant Park June 26 through July 5. The crowds are daunting with more than three million people from all over the world who turn out for this event, but the 70+ food vendors featuring cuisine from popular local restaurants, along with dozens of bands, fireworks, and other forms of entertainment are well worth all the chaos.