Where Should Joliet Hold Their Fireworks? I Have Some Ideas!
For over 70 years, if you wanted to see fireworks on the Fourth of July in the city, you were in or around Memorial Stadium. Last year, it was moved from the Stadium to Joliet Junior College to prevent damage to new field turf installed at the adjacent softball complex. Ironically, that’s what also forced the move of Naperville’s Ribfest out of Knock Park.
Is Field Turf the enemy of fireworks celebrations?! A topic for another time, I suppose.
JJC was actually a great spot for the fireworks because of much better parking situation than Memorial Stadium and more open areas around the campus for viewers to park their lawn chairs.
According to the article in the Herald News, Plainfield School District officials have agreed to let Joliet use the grounds of Plainfield South High School. A nice gesture, but not a long term solution.
The article by Bob Okon notes that Joliet will continue their secondary fireworks show at Billie Limacher Bicentennial Park, which also features a concert.
These Independence Day fireworks have been a pesky issue in Joliet for a few years. The show was typically funded by a private group of volunteers, but after help and money dried up the city took it over to ensure the tradition would continue. However, the pandemic has made volunteers and funds hard to come by.
One option is to not have them at let the show at Bicentennial Park be the only show. Not a great option because of the space limitations, but it is an option.
South or Central high schools would be solid options given the amount of space and parking available, but it appears the school district doesn’t want to be a part of that long term.
I think having fireworks at the Old Joliet Prison would be pretty cool! Again…parking will be an issue, as it always is, but as the historical society continues to refurbish the prison site, this could just be another cool event to stack on the list of growing attractions at the famous prison.
Another option would take some convincing of the Joliet Park District, but there are three golf courses around the city. Perhaps arrangements could be made to have them there. I could easily picture families spread out on blankets on several fairways while the kids run around having fun before the fireworks start…likely shot off from a parking lot to avoid turf damage.
Another option would be the Louis Joliet Mall. They have TONS of room there, for sure. I could see a scenario where they cordon off a portion of the parking lot to fire off the mortars as people sit in their cars, listen to synchronized music over their radios, and watch the show that way.
Much like the mall, Chicagoland Speedway has a TON of space that no one is using right now. The area is literally built to house many many people and get them in and out in an orderly fashion. People can roll in, take a seat in the stands for the show, and roll out. Just make sure you have them seated opposite the wind! If logistics are your issues, the Speedway is likely your answer.
I know there issues at each one of those locations, some I know, some that would only be known to organizers. Like everything related to government, it will come down to relationships and who will be willing to sacrifice a bit of work and money to continue the tradition.
I have no doubt that someone will step up and the tradition will continue.