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Evanston July 4th committee still deciding how to move forward after cancellations

The volunteer and community-funded group that organizes Evanston’s July 4th celebrations will meet next week to discuss rescheduling the Palatine Community Band concert and evening fireworks show canceled in the wake of Monday’s shooting in Highland Park.

By Debbie-Marie Brown
Word count: 480

The volunteer and community-funded group that organizes Evanston’s July 4th celebrations will meet next week to discuss rescheduling the Palatine Community Band concert and evening fireworks show canceled in the wake of Monday’s shooting in Highland Park.

“It is not possible to reschedule the parade,” said Jamie Black, who serves as celebration manager for the group. “But we would still like to do our fireworks show and have the evening concert. A nice evening out, down by the lake for everyone, is still a possibility. But we have to talk about it.”

The reviewing stand at Ackerman Park on Central Street at McDaniel Avenue. Credit: Richard Cahan

Black says the committee can’t be sure of the details of when the event might take place or what it will look like. First, they have to work with the City of Evanston to plan it.

Black told the RoundTable that before committee members knew the parade was canceled, they were reeling from the shock of the mass shooting in which 7 people were killed and dozens more hospitalized with injuries.

The committee started getting calls from police informing them that they were going to meet to decide how to proceed; the authorities told the committee to be on standby.

“Eventually, we got the call saying that the parade and fireworks were canceled,” Black said. “Everybody was disappointed, terribly disappointed because it’s the day of, you know. Everything was in motion already.”

When Evanston police gave the call to cease festivities, the morning games had already taken place and attendees were in the middle of the “fun run.” Black and his associates were waiting for all of the parade units to arrive, and for those who already had, he informed them the parade was canceled.

Barricades are picked up along the parade route. Credit: Richard Cahan

Monday evening, the celebration manager went to the house of another parade marshal and just sat and talked, trying to process everything.

“Once the parade and fireworks were canceled, everybody was kind of like, ‘What do we do now?'” Black said.

This year was the committee’s 100th anniversary and the group decided to disseminate anniversary programming booklets on the abandoned chairs along Central Street. The City started putting out chairs for the celebration on July 1st, and Black and others left programs on chairs, hoping they would end up in the hands of those who came later.

Some people had already come out, so they were able to give the program, which contained articles and other information, to a few Evanstonians.

“I’m angry, I’m sad. I’m disappointed. I’m just a bunch of emotions and still, going, does this actually happen? I mean, it just, it just doesn’t seem like something that should happen,” Black said of the shooting. “Highland Park seems like the least likely place that it would happen.”

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