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North Avenue Beach in 2018. (Frank Fujimoto / Flickr)

Chicagoans hoping to beat this week’s oppressive heat and humidity won’t be able to head to Chicago’s beaches to cool off “any time soon,” Mayor Lori Lightfoot said Monday.

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President Donald Trump smiles at Mount Rushmore National Memorial, Friday, July 3, 2020, near Keystone, S.D. (AP Photo / Alex Brandon)

As coronavirus cases spike, public health officials are pleading with Americans to avoid large crowds and hold more muted Independence Day celebrations, but subdued is not President Donald Trump’s style.

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 People purchase fireworks on Thursday, July 2, 2020, in Dublin, Calif. (AP Photo / Ben Margot)

Saturday will be unlike any Independence Day in recent memory. From Atlanta to San Diego, hundreds of fireworks shows have been canceled as officials restrict large gatherings during the coronavirus pandemic, especially as infections surge across the U.S.

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Waterfall Glen is one of the Chicago region’s natural wonders. (Robert Martinez / Flickr)

Openlands’ searchable guide to parks, preserves, prairies, woodlands and more is a great resource for nature lovers. 

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Flags line the beach in Belmar, N.J., on June 28, 2020. With large crowds expected at the Jersey Shore for the July Fourth weekend, some are worried that a failure to heed mask-wearing and social distancing protocols could accelerate the spread of the coronavirus. (AP Photo / Wayne Parry)

With confirmed cases climbing in 40 states, governors have ordered the wearing of masks in public, and families were urged to celebrate their independence at home. Even then, they were told to keep their backyard cookouts small.

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“This is a make-or-break weekend for you,” the mayor said ahead of the holiday weekend.

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Diners take advantage of expanded outdoor seating along a stretch of Broadway in Chicago on Friday, June 12, 2020. (WTTW News)

Mayor Lori Lightfoot had clear words for bar and restaurant owners who refuse to follow the city’s coronavirus guidelines during the Fourth of July weekend: You will be shut down and you will not reopen soon.

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Millennium Park’s Great Lawn is dotted with social distance circles. (Chicago Mayor’s Office)

Millennium Park’s Great Lawn is open to visitors again, with painted-on circles in place to emphasize social distancing guidelines. 

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In this Friday, June 19, 2020 photo, fireworks explode during Juneteenth celebrations above the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood in the Brooklyn borough of New York. (AP Photo / John Minchillo, File)

They’ve become a nightly nuisance ringing out from Connecticut to California, angering sleep-deprived residents and alarming elected officials. All of them want to know: Why the fascination with fireworks?

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Grilling will be allowed again at Forest Preserves, as of July 9. (Pixabay)

The Forest Preserves of Cook County announced it will reopen Swallow Cliff Stairs, nature centers and bathrooms, plus allow grilling and lift restrictions on parking lots at popular sites — but not until after the Fourth of July.

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Navy Pier summer fireworks in 2011. (Michael Mayer / Flickr)

The annual display gives way to some virtual celebrations in 2020. Not that the holiday will be short of illegal booms, crackles and pops, if recent weeks are any indication. 

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2017 Chicago Blues Festival in Millennium Park (Photo credit: City of Chicago, DCASE)

With Lollapalooza and other big summer events now officially canceled in Chicago, some city residents may be wondering what their entertainment options will look like in the months ahead. How the city is going virtual.

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Registration for Park District summer camps starts this week. (Chicago Park District / Facebook)

For parents who’ve been strapped for child care during the coronavirus shutdown, relief is in sight. But there will be even less capacity than normal this year, so prepare to act fast. 

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(EMR / Flickr)

This year’s summer festival season will look a little different, with large outdoor festivals canceled or moved online, including Lollapalooza.

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Chicago is taking some of its popular music fests online. (Courtesy Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events)

The Millennium Park at Home series will deliver concerts online via YouTube and Facebook, kicking off Memorial Day weekend with a virtual version of the House Music Festival.

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Windy City Ribfest, 2018 (Courtesy of Special Events Management)

Summer in Chicago is synonymous with neighborhood street festivals, outdoor concerts and art shows. But what will the season bring in 2020? We asked some local organizers for their take on festival season in the COVID-19 era.

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