CLINTON — Local organizations have pulled out all the stops for the upcoming Fourth of July Festival. With a slate of free activities carrying attendants through the entire day, organizers are expecting their largest crowd yet in Year Three of the event.
“The community as a whole has stepped up to help provide this for everybody,” said Emily Steenhard, co-owner of the Painted Rooster and chief event planner.
“It’s about this community,” added her sister, Erin George. “We’d like to do something for the community. Something everybody can come out and enjoy as a community with little to no cost.”
After a year spent fundraising, George and Steenhard have raised more than $35,000 to run the occasion — an all-time high since the inaugural festival in 2012. That amount should increase after T-shirt and button sales.
This has propelled July 4 to an annual boon for Clinton, in their minds, aided by 32 business sponsors. The day serves equally as a showcase for the riverside offerings.
“We’ve worked with the LumberKings and the Showboat since the very beginning because we want them to succeed on the Fourth of July also,” Steenhard said.
The event is intended to foster a “family friendly” atmosphere at Riverview Park. This year’s activities include the annual parade at 1 p.m. along Riverview Drive; a hot dog eating contest; two live bands; firefighter water battles; free food; face painting; and a petting zoo. More giant inflatable slides and carnival games also were added for this year.
When those events conclude at 6 p.m., Ashford University Field takes over. The Clinton LumberKings will host the Kane County Cougars at 6:30 p.m. after skydivers land in the stadium. Family activities will take place throughout the ballpark with a fireworks show following the game. The Showboat also will showcase its live performance of “The Wizard of Oz” at 6:30 p.m.