Highland Park to Resume Fourth of July Parade This Summer, 2 Years After Mass Shooting

(WTTW News)(WTTW News)

The city of Highland Park is planning to resume its annual Fourth of July parade — two years after a gunman opened fire on attendees, killing seven and wounding dozens more.

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Officials this week announced that after skipping the parade last year, it will return this July, along with a morning remembrance ceremony and a family-friendly 4th Fest.

“Independence Day has traditionally been a special opportunity for our community to come together with beloved traditions,” Highland Park Mayor Nancy Rotering said in a statement. “As we continue our journey as one Highland Park, we do so with respect, compassion, and support for all whose lives were forever changed on July 4, 2022, while maintaining the community spirit that has always been a hallmark of Highland Park’s Independence Day events.”

During the 2022 parade, Robert Crimo III allegedly climbed atop a local business and fired more than 80 rounds from a semi-automatic rifle at paradegoers below, striking more than 50 people.

The seven people killed in the shooting were: 64-year-old Katherine Goldstein of Highland Park; 35-year-old Irina McCarthy and her 37-year-old husband Kevin McCarthy, both of Highland Park; 63-year-old Jacquelyn Sundheim of Highland Park; 88-year-old Stephen Straus of Highland Park; 78-year-old Nicolas Toledo-Zaragoza of Morelos, Mexico; and Eduardo Uvaldo, 69, of Waukegan.

City leaders said they decided to bring back the parade after discussions with community residents as well as with victims and their families. The city also cited recommendations from mental health clinicians who worked with people impacted by the shooting and the Department of Justice Office of Victims of Crime.

“The City understands from mental health clinicians and experts in the aftermath of violence incidents that reclaiming traditions and restoring a sense of familiarity is a benefit to the community’s long-term resiliency, particularly as it pertains to holidays,” the city said in a statement.

Last year, the annual parade was replaced by a remembrance walk along the typical parade route. The city will hold another remembrance ceremony on July 4th at 10 a.m., which will be followed by a “community-focused parade” beginning at 1 p.m., which will run along a new route through downtown Highland Park.

Following the parade, attendees can enjoy entertainment, rides, carnival games, a petting zoo and other activities at Sunset Woods Park as part of 4th Fest, which will be held from 1:30-4:30 p.m.

“While our community was forever changed by the events on July 4, 2022, this Independence Day, we can start a new chapter by coming together in love and kindness for one another,” Terry Grossberg, president of the Park District of Highland Park Board of Commissioners, said in a statement.  “Celebrating this national holiday with our loved ones is crucial to our community’s identity. Let’s come together, share this special moment with our neighbors and friends, and create cherished memories.”

Crimo remains in custody as he awaits his trial on numerous charges, including 21 counts of first-degree murder. His trial is scheduled to begin next February.

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