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Joliet offers lots of fireworks for the July Fourth weekend

Onlookers see the finale to the fireworks display at Billie Limacher Bicentennial Park in 2007. The park will bring back the fireworks this weekend for the first time since 2011.
Onlookers see the finale to the fireworks display at Billie Limacher Bicentennial Park in 2007. The park will bring back the fireworks this weekend for the first time since 2011.

JOLIET – Joliet becomes a two fireworks town again this weekend – actually three if you count the post-game festivities at Silver Cross Field.

Fireworks will return to Billie Limacher Bicentennial Park for the first Independence Day holiday since 2011.

Fireworks will be at the park at 9:30 p.m. Saturday, topping off an event that begins at 6 p.m. and includes live bands, food vendors and kids’ games.

On the same night, the Joliet Slammers are shooting off fireworks after their game at Silver Cross Field, not far from the park on the other side of the Des Plaines River.

“If we time it right, we’ll have fireworks in stereo,” said Deanna Opsahl, office assistant at Bicentennial Park.

Then on Monday, July 4, the traditional fireworks show will be held at Memorial Stadium.

Mary Jaworski, a member of the Joliet July 4th Celebration Committee that raises money and organizes the stadium fireworks, noted that the event is in its 70th year.

“This started in 1946,” she said. “To keep something alive with fundraising for that long is pretty incredible.”

The fireworks in Bicentennial Park had been held for several years on July 3 before the show ended after 2011 amid city budget cuts.

The return show this year was originally scheduled for July 3, which would have been Sunday.

“But we thought about it and said, ‘Let’s take advantage of the Saturday,’” Opsahl said. “People who are downtown at the restaurants can come out and see the fireworks.”

Opsahl advised people to bring blankets or chairs for lawn seating. The fireworks will last 20 minutes.

The event begins at 6 p.m. Two bands will play at the park pavilion. Hot Mess plays from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Junkyard Dawgs play from 8 to 10:30 p.m. Five food vendors will be at the event.

Major sponsors are the Will-Joliet Bicentennial Park Inc. Board, which does fundraising for the park, and the city of Joliet, which is providing police security.

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