Instead of traditional parade downtown, Aurora to host Fourth of July procession through city – Chicago Tribune

The city of Aurora’s Fourth of July celebration will look different this year than in years past, with a procession to be held around the city instead of the traditional parade downtown.

Several Aurora parade volunteers received emails from the city’s community events manager stating “due to a variety of factors and after careful consideration,” the city is shifting the parade to a vehicular procession composed of mainly city-related vehicles. The memo said they will not need any volunteer assistance the morning of the parade.

Aurora officials said in order to reach a broader community, including senior citizens in nursing homes, the city is moving from its traditional downtown parade route to a community procession including public safety vehicles and a “trolley of heroes” filled with local veterans.

The city previously used this format in 2020 due to the pandemic, but returned to the downtown parade in 2021.

“While the Fourth of July parade returned to downtown last year, participation was lower than desired, but consistent with declining spectator participation before 2020,” a statement from the city Wednesday afternoon said. “After further consideration on community impact and cost savings, city officials have decided to return to the procession model this year by bringing the parade to the residents.”

Dozens of Aurora residents posted about the parade change on Facebook Wednesday morning in outrage. Aurora resident Casildo “Casey” Cuevas said he migrated to the United States and feels like the rug was taken out from underneath him as far as celebrating America.

“I’m at a loss for why something this great that has such a meaning of patriotism isn’t happening,” Cuevas said of the traditional parade. “It’s like apple pie to the USA. It’s something so instilled in us that why would they veer off and not have what people look forward to? From the marching bands and the not-for-profit organizations, we want to celebrate this country and the city isn’t allowing people to do that.”

In South Elgin, the city opted to cancel this year’s Fourth of July parade in favor of a concert and picnic after only 26 units registered for the parade. Prior parades had 60 to 80 units participating and staff was surprised so few groups had signed up, a South Elgin spokesman said.

News of the change concerning the Fourth of July parade in Aurora comes after the city already struggled to host the Pride parade earlier this month after having problems finding enough police officers willing to work overtime to staff security at the event.

The city three days before the event offered triple overtime pay to police officers who would work the parade on their own time to help provide the needed security for the Pride parade.

The Fourth of July parade is a city-run event that the city budgets for each year under its special events fund. In 2022, the city has budgeted $1.8 million for all of its special events.

This year’s Fourth of July procession will begin at Phillips Park on Aurora’s East Side at 10 am and travel past Sunnymere Nursing Home before going through downtown. The procession will continue through the West Side of Aurora and travel back east on Indian Trial Avenue to the Far East Side before heading south on Eola Road. The procession will conclude at Aurora Fire Station 12 at Eola Road and Hafenrichter Road.

The route will have designated “candy zones” where the procession will slow down and candy will be distributed to spectators.

City officials said the full route will be posted online this weekend at www.aurora-il.org/FourthofJuly.

The annual Fourth of July fireworks celebration will be held later in the evening at RiverEdge Park and McCullough Park, with fireworks beginning at 9:15 pm RiverEdge Park will feature DJ Suavesmooth and food vendors. McCullough Park will feature DJ Pena and family-friendly entertainment, city officials said.

Food trucks will also be available at the new Wilder Park Promenade.

mejones@chicagotribune.com

slord@tribpub.com

Leave a Comment