Best Bets: Fourth of July Weekend

  • Navy Pier fireworks. (Chris Smith / Flickr)

    Navy Pier fireworks. (Chris Smith / Flickr)

  • Navy Pier fireworks. (Marit & Toomas Hinnosaar / Flickr)

    Navy Pier fireworks. (Marit & Toomas Hinnosaar / Flickr)

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  • Navy Pier fireworks. (Paul Morgan / Flickr)

    Navy Pier fireworks. (Paul Morgan / Flickr)

  • Navy Pier fireworks. (Aurimas / Flickr)

    Navy Pier fireworks. (Aurimas / Flickr)

The big event

This weekend, the sights and sounds of Fourth of July celebrations will be hard to miss. Below, a condensed list of fireworks displays in the city and select suburbs if you want to go out with a bang.

Fireworks at Navy Pier take place as usual on Saturday night (10:15 p.m.) and go full throttle on Monday night (9:30 p.m.) for the official holiday celebration. In Evanston, fireworks on Monday (9:15 p.m.) at Dawes Park (Sheridan Road and Church Street) include live music starting at 7:30 p.m.; a parade steps off at 2 p.m. at Central Park Avenue and Central Street. In Orland Park, fireworks on Monday (9:15 p.m.) at Centennial Park (15600 West Ave.) follow a two-hour concert starting at 7:15 p.m. In Oak Park, fireworks get under way at dusk Monday at Oak Park and River Forest High School (201 N. Scoville Ave., Oak Park). A parade steps off at 10 a.m. from Longfellow Park (610 S. Ridgeland Ave.).

Bucking the Monday trend is Arlington International Racecourse (2200 W. Euclid Ave., Arlington Park), which celebrates a night early with Sunday fireworks at dusk following an afternoon of races, live music and family activities ($20; $4 for kids ages 4-17). More suburban fireworks details included below.

Free pick of the week

Summer Workouts (Saturday, ongoing)
Millennium Park, Great Lawn, 201 E. Randolph St. 
A three-day weekend means you can finally squeeze in a workout, right? Skip the stuffy gym and stretch your limbs to live music instead at this ongoing, twice-weekly event that starts with tai chi (7 a.m. – no music for this one), yoga (8 a.m.), Pilates (9 a.m.) and closes with heart-pumping Zumba with live drumming (10 a.m.). Free.

Also on tap ...

(Courtesy International Festival of Life)(Courtesy International Festival of Life)

International Festival of Life (Friday-Monday)
Union Park, 1501 W. Randolph St.
The 24th annual party includes two stages of live music and cultural performances, food vendors, youth soccer and basketball tournaments, a talent contest, and arts and crafts. Music highlights include Slique Jay Adams (Friday), Luciano (Saturday), Etana (Sunday) and Beres Hammond (Monday). Don't miss a tribute to Prince on Sunday. $15-$25; $10-$15 for seniors; $45-$100 for four-day pass; free for kids ages 12 and under (kids must be accompanied by an adult).

Chicago Botanic Garden Art Festival (Saturday-Sunday)
Chicago Botanic Garden, 1000 Lake Cook Road, Glencoe
Browse works by 100 artists at this sixth annual juried art fair that features a botanic theme. Paintings, photography, ceramics, metal, jewelry and more are on display. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Free admission; regular parking fees apply.

Windy City Ribfest (Friday-Sunday)
Lawrence Avenue and Broadway
Get sauced in Uptown with rib vendors from the city, region and beyond, including Rancho Mateo, BBQ King Smokehouse and Aussom Aussie Australian BBQ. Live music highlights include Too White Crew (Friday), Think Floyd (Saturday) and Trippin' Billies (Sunday). Extras include kids activities and arts and crafts. Noon-10 p.m. Friday-Saturday; noon-9 p.m. Sunday. $5 suggested donation.

Josh Seiter of "The Bachelorette" appears Friday at Under the Gun Theater. (Courtesy Under the Gun Theater)Josh Seiter of "The Bachelorette" appears Friday at Under the Gun Theater. (Courtesy Under the Gun Theater)

'Will You Accept This Rose?' (Friday, ongoing)
Under the Gun Theater, 956 W. Newport Ave., 2nd Fl.
Yeah, we know: The PBS crowd's tolerance for reality TV starts and ends with "Antiques Roadshow." But that makes this parody of a popular guilty pleasure all the more appealing. The show, "Will You Accept This Rose? An Improvised Parody of 'The Bachelor,'" features actual participants from past seasons of the real show, including Josh Seiter on Friday, who appeared on Kaitlyn's season of sister show "The Bachelorette." (Not that we expect you to know who she is, because we know you don't watch this stuff. And even if you do, we understand that it's purely to support your interest in cultural anthropology.) 9 p.m. $12. 

Ribfest (Friday-Monday)
Knoch Park, 724 S. West St., Naperville

Barbecue ribs, pulled pork and chicken highlight this annual suburban food-and-music festival. Headlining acts include 3 Doors Down (Friday); Sheryl Crow (Saturday), Lee Brice (Sunday) and Gin Blossoms (Monday). Fourth of July fireworks take place at 9:30 p.m. Monday. Special programming for kids and families includes carnival rides, a petting zoo, inflatables and more. Noon-10 p.m. daily. $20-$25; VIP packages available.

Lake Forest Festival and Fireworks (Monday)
Deerpath Community Park, 400 Hastings Road, Lake Forest
Sing along to Michael Jackson hits with Vegas-based tribute band MJ Live (8 p.m.), featuring two performers who take the lead as the late King of Pop. Opening act Boy Band Review starts at 6 p.m.; fireworks begin at 9:40 p.m. 6-10 p.m. $15-$20; free for kids under age 5; VIP packages available.

(Eyes to the Skies Festival / Facebook)(Eyes to the Skies Festival / Facebook)

Eyes to the Skies Festival (Friday-Sunday)
Community Park, 1825 Short St., Lisle
Daily hot-air balloon launches (5:30 a.m. and 6:30 p.m., weather permitting) and nightly fireworks displays (9:45 p.m.) and "balloon glow" shows (8 p.m.) highlight this west suburban mainstay, now in its 34th year. See more than 20 balloons in all. Tethered rides ($20, weather permitting) are also available on a first-come, first-served basis. Dozens of food vendors, a craft fair, kids entertainment, carnival rides and live music on two stages round it out. Noon-11 p.m. daily. $8; free for kids ages 6 and under.

Frontier Days Festival (Thursday-Monday)
Recreation Park, 500 E. Miner St., Arlington Heights
A July Fourth parade (10 a.m. Monday) highlights the annual suburban event. Two stages of live music feature Semple Band (Thursday), Plain White T's (Friday), The Wallflowers (Saturday), Here Come The Mummies (Sunday) and American English (Monday). Food vendors, carnival rides, family games and activities, and a craft marketplace (Saturday-Sunday only) round things out. 4:30 p.m.-11:30 p.m. Thursday; 4:30 p.m.-12:30 a.m. Friday; 11:30 a.m.-12:30 a.m. Saturday-Sunday; 12:30 p.m.-10:30 p.m. Monday. Free entry.

4th on 53rd (Monday)
Nichols Park, 1355 E. 53rd St. 
Billed as an "old fashioned Fourth of July," this 25th annual, volunteer-driven celebration includes a community parade, picnic and concerts.

Events listed are subject to change. We recommend double-checking times and locations before you head out the door. Want to share your upcoming events with us for consideration in a future roundup? Send us an email.

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