Wed May 27, 2020
DeKalb, IL- The Fourth of July holiday embodies so much of what America represents: family, friends, patriotism, good food, and more. It commemorates the signing of the Declaration of Independence and our freedom as a nation from the British colonies. It is a pinnacle celebration that fills us with the nostalgia of summer.
Families and friends alike have been attending the fireworks at Hopkins Park or locations throughout the city for decades as part of their holiday tradition. Bringing their blankets, chairs, and picnics to gather to listen to the Municipal Band perform and enjoy the fireworks at dusk, which are co-sponsored by the City of DeKalb and the DeKalb Park District.
Unfortunately, these unprecedented times are challenging our traditions for the greater good of keeping our community safe. Like all other holidays these past few months, COVID-19 has altered our ability to safely celebrate in the traditional sense. Fourth of July is no exception. Even if our region is permitted to enter Phase 4, the ‘Revitalization’ phase, only gatherings of 50 people or fewer are advised. After much discussion and collaboration between our two organizations, the fireworks have been postponed at this time with hopes to showcase them sometime in the fall.
“We can’t wait to welcome the return of our wonderful community celebration of Independence Day at Hopkins Park for the summer of 2021, especially to celebrate with our residents all of the things that make this country a wonderful place to live,” stated Phil Young, Park Board President. “In the meantime, we hope that our residents continue to celebrate the freedoms that were fought for and that we all enjoy in our great country.”
"The City concurs fully with our Park District partners on the July 4 decisions. We realize that folks want to get back into Hopkins Park for these community celebrations, including our band concerts, but we must be cautious in aligning ourselves with the State's phasing plans," stated DeKalb Mayor, Jerry Smith.
One 4th of July tradition that we hope to continue should DeKalb County enter Phase 4 by Saturday, July 4th, is the annual Independence Day 5K Run/Walk. Also hosted at Hopkins Park, located 1403 Sycamore Road, the 5K will be offered with modifications that comply with Phase 4 safety restrictions.
There will be online registration only through ‘SignMeUp.com’ and race bag pick-up day-of only. Runners will be separated into two groups of 40 and begin the run one hour apart, at either 7:30 or 8:30 am. There will be no award ceremony, however, participation medals will be included in each race bag and placement awards will be sent in the mail to the winners. Congregating of any kind, including spectators or vendors, will not be permitted at the park. Participants are encouraged to dress in red, white, and blue.
If runners do not feel comfortable attempting the in-person 5K, a virtual 5K will be offered and serve as an alternative back-up plan should our region not reach Phase 4 by July 4th. They can use any step-tracker device of their choice to submit their run/walk times, however, they will not be eligible for placement awards. The fee to participate is $25 and the race bag includes a custom t-shirt, bib, and participation medal.
To learn more and sign up for the Independence Day 5K, virtual or in-person, or see suggestions on other ways your family can safely celebrate Fourth of July this summer, visit dekalbparkdistrict.com.