Planners ensure festive Fourth
Evanston, IL 6/22/12 Joan Ducayet meets up with young helpers Madeline Jacque, 10 of Evanston and her brother Zachary, 8, and distribute 4th of July posters to businesses along Central Ave. Madeline Jacque, 10 of Evanston and her brother Zachary, 8, hang a 4h of July poster at Great Grains. | Rob Dicker~Sun-Times Media
What are your Fourth of July plans?
Evanston Fourth of July Celebration
When: Wednesday, July 4.
Main Events: Playground sport events run during the morning, from 9 to 11 p.m.
The parade starts at 2 p.m., at Central and Central Park, and proceeds down Central to Ryan Field at Ashland. It’s a great place to spot political celebrities and groups making strong political statements in line with Evanston’s liberal reputation.
As many as 140 entries are expected.
The band concert runs from 7:30-9 p.m. at the Dawes Park Lagoon, at Church Street and the lakefront. The Palatine Concert Band will perform. The fireworks show begins at 9:15 p.m.
To tune in go to 90.5 FM.
For more information, visit evanston4th.org
Updated: July 29, 2012 4:43PM
Carrying a metal pole normally used to wash windows, Joan Ducayet, president of the Evanston Fourth of July Association, looked across Central Street on Friday afternoon and spotted a problem.
One of the Fourth of July Association’s flags had bunched up on a light pole. Ducayet, wearing a khaki hat and a neon day-glow vest, threaded her way between traffic on the busy street.
At the pole, she reached up and hooked the flag at an edge, moving it this way and that until it unfurled.
“Our flag is our most visible expression of the association,” she said, the job done.
Starting around Flag Day, Ducayet and volunteers put up around 190 flags along the Central Street parade route that runs from Central Park Avenue to Ryan Field.
The flags are one of the early signs that one of the country’s best Fourth of July celebrations is not far away.
Organizers have chosen the theme “Unity Through Diversity’’ for this year’s parade.
In line with that theme, association members have paid particular emphasis on broadening the scope of the celebration, “hoping that it includes all Evanston neighborhoods,” said Ducayet.
Along those lines, a new site, Baker Park, at Keeney Street and Forest Avenue in southeast Evanston, has been added as one of the six sites to host morning playground games.
The parade which kicks off at 2 p.m., is famous for its diversity, blending popular standbys with some new elements, said Hillary Bean, parade director.
Bean has high hopes for this year’s parade, which at 114 entries, is slightly higher than last year’s figure.
“I hope it comes off as good as it looks on paper,” she said.
Entry No. 86 is Peter Sagal, riding on “We the People,’’ a Harley Road King motorcycle.
Sagal is not only participating in the event, but also is picking up color for a documentary on the U.S. Constitution as a living document that he is working on for public television.
The parade has added some music and dance groups. Evanston’s Armenian Church, at entry No. 75, will bring along members who will perform authentic Armenian dances.
The Evanston Escola De Samba, parade entry No. 29, will feature dancers in costume, doing the Samba, said Bean.
Sakuji Tanaka, the new president of Rotary International, based in Evanston, is the parade’s grand marshal.
He’s entry No. 16 in your program.
“He’s so excited,” said Bean.
What would be a Fourth of July parade in Evanston without some spicy political commentary?
An Evanston group concerned about genetically modified foods, the Evanston GMO , is parade entry No. 80.
Humbert the Giant, entry No. 56, is actually a woman, Margaret Nelson, dressed in a body suit. Her character conveys an anti-war message.
Following the parade, action moves to the lakefront. The Palatine Concert Band performs at 7:30 p.m. at the Dawes Park Lagoon, at Church Street and the lakefront.
The lakefront fireworks show, which is scheduled to start around 9:15 p.m., plans to be as bombastic as ever.
Longtime Fourth of July Association member Dave Sniader, the group’s lakefront and fireworks director, begins months before, putting together a musical program.
Much to celebrate
This year’s Americana theme will celebrate American Bandstand’s Dick Clark, the 50th Anniversary of a man in orbit, the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic, and the 100th anniversary of the Mark Twain Museum -- a hefty combination.
During the 20-minute fireworks show, Sniader works from a command post set up in the office at the lagoon and transmits information down to the fireworks pit at the Clark Street Beach.
The computer then receives the radio signals and launches shells according to music programmed by Melrose Pyrotechnics, working with Sniader.
It’s a long way from the early days when “you would light a fuse and run,” Sniader recalled.
The Fourth of July Association bears the cost for the show, which runs more than $1,000 a minute.
For that matter, except for the overtime costs of fire and police personnel paid by the city, the association bears all the production costs for the day -- costumers, fireworks, “right down to the Porta Potties,” said Ducayet.
Residents who wish to help the Fourth of July Association defray some of those costs should visit the group’s website, Evanston4th.org.