Planning a blast, Fourth of July organizers in Barrington, Lake Zurich prepare for months

Before the festivals begin and fireworks light up the night sky on the Fourth of July, village staff members from both Barrington and Lake Zurich, along with numerous volunteers, spend months planning their respective holiday celebrations.

The Barrington Fourth of July Parade Committee usually sits down in March to begin planning its parade and coordinating the roughly 70 community groups that usually participate in the annual street procession, said committee member Kristin Leese, of Lake Barrington. The parade this year begins at 10 a.m., July 4, when the groups march east down Main Street from Barrington High School to the downtown Metra station.

"The Fourth of July is traditional in Barrington. People dress up in July Fourth outfits and come out to see each other," she said. "It's a fun way to celebrate."
As in past years, a food drive will benefit two pantries — the Barrington Area Food Pantry and Cuba Township Food Pantry. Leese said volunteers with Heinen's Fine Foods will collect non-perishables and cleaning items while pushing shopping carts in the parade.

The parade grand marshal this year is Clyde McComb, a Barrington resident since 1963 who has volunteered at community events and has served on the parade committee for 23 years, according to event organizers.
The Barrington Lions Brat Tent, a four-day Fourth of July festival hosted by the local club, kick starts the holiday celebration in Barrington a few days before the parade begins. Located in the north commuter lot of the downtown Metra station, the outdoor gala features live music, food and other entertainment beginning at 11 a.m. July 1 and lasting through the afternoon of July 4.
Later that day, the Fourth of July fireworks display begins at dusk at Barrington High School, 616 W. Main St. Parking is available at the high school, and music bands will play before the show.
In nearby Lake Zurich, village officials handle the local Fourth of July festivities, and staffers typically start planning a festival and fireworks show in late fall, said Bonnie Caputo, recreation manager for Lake Zurich.
A major holiday in Lake Zurich, the Fourth of July events last year in the village attracted about 8,000 people, she said.
"The village does a bunch of events, but the Fourth of July is one of our premiere events," Caputo said. "It's a patriotic, friendly celebration for everyone."
The preparations for the annual festivities usually start with staff members' evaluating how the festival and fireworks show unfolded the previous year. Village officials will even see bands perform firsthand before inking contracts with them.

"We look and listen to their websites or sometimes we'll go see them perform," Caputo said. "We saw the LAVA Rock band, and they were fabulous."
The Fourth of July festival in Lake Zurich starts at 10 a.m. July 4 at Paulus Park. Eight local vendors, a part of the "Taste of Summer" food tent, begin selling items at 11 a.m., according to Caputo.

Live music starts at 1:30 p.m. with Sonic 7, followed by Keith Sample at 4 p.m. Classic rock band LAVA Rock performs on the fest grounds from 7 to 8:30 p.m.
The daylong festival culminates with a fireworks display over the actual Lake Zurich, adjacent to Paulus Park. The Lake Zurich Fire Department again will launch the fireworks from pontoon boats on the lake, something it started doing about three years ago, Caputo said.

"There's a lot of security guidelines in shooting off fireworks, so putting it out on Lake Zurich avoided us from shutting down part of the park in previous years," she said.




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