Friday, June 24, 2011

July 4: Independence Day in Aurora

Aurora will be painted red, white and blue Monday, July 4 with a full-day of activities for the whole family.

Independence Day will begin with a downtown parade presented by the Roosevelt-Aurora American Legion Post 84 in partnership with the City of Aurora.

The event will start with a patriotic ceremony at 9:15 a.m. outside the Paramount Theatre, 23 E. Galena Blvd. The parade will step off at 10 a.m. at the corner of Benton and River streets, marching east to Broadway Avenue, north to Galena Boulevard, west to Stolp Avenue, south to Downer Place and conclude heading west to Middle Avenue.

Father Jerome “Jerry” Leake, pastor of St. Joseph’s Church in Aurora, has been named the 2011 Fourth of July Parade Grand Marshal. Father Leake has become a popular figure in Aurora by performing chaplain duties for the City’s Police Department and the community for decades. He has logged more than 30,000 hours on ride-alongs with Aurora police officers and has provided counseling, ministry and comfort to victims and offenders in the aftermath of traumatic situations.

After being severely injured in a police ride-along accident in December, Father Leake completed a rigorous rehabilitation schedule to once again serve the students and more than 800 parishioners at St. Joseph School and Church. He also is back in the squad car on the streets with the Aurora Police Department.

Before coming to St. Joseph Church 14 years ago, Father Leake served as a teacher, coach and assistant principal at Aurora Central Catholic and Rosary high schools.

Groups scheduled to march in the parade include the American Legion Post 84 Band, Chicago Highland Rifles, East Aurora and West Aurora high school marching bands and local Boy and Girl Scouts. Bill Baker will serve as the parade emcee, and the Legacy Girls will perform in the pre-parade ceremony.

For more information on the Fourth of July Parade, visit the American Legion’s website at or the City’s website at

The fun continues in the evening with the Independence Day fireworks program starting at 6 p.m. at the Illinois Math & Science Academy, 1500 W. Sullivan Road. The event is being sponsored by the City of Aurora and the Village of North Aurora.

The entertainment schedule includes:
· 6 to 9:30 p.m. – Food vendors, Inflatables and live entertainment

· 6 to 7 p.m. – Circus Boy (Juggler and circus acts)

· 7 to 8 p.m. – Second Time Around (Popular hits from the past 50 years)

· 8 to 8:15 p.m. – Patriotic Ceremony

· 8:30 to 9:30 p.m. – American Legion Post 84 Band

· 9:30 p.m. – Fireworks

With parking near the school being limited, residents are strongly encouraged to arrive early or use the free shuttle bus service.

Parking will be available at the Illinois Math & Science Academy; Aurora Central Catholic High School, 1255 N. Edgelawn Drive; Hyundai, 1705 Sequoia Drive; Milgard Windows & Doors, 1785 N. Edgelawn Drive; Kraft/Excel, 1700 N. Edgelawn Drive; Fox Valley Park District’s Vaughan Athletic Center, 2121 W. Indian Trail Road; and Rosary High School, 901 N. Edgelawn Drive. Handicapped parking is available at the Illinois Math & Science Academy, Aurora Central Catholic High School and Randall Park, 1500 W. Indian Trail Road.

The park and ride shuttle service begins at 6 p.m. and will provide roundtrip transportation at seven locations including:

Blue Route: Indian Trail and Orchard roads
· Home Depot, 1250 N. Orchard Road

· Lowe’s, 2372 W. Indian Trail Road

Red Route: Galena Boulevard
· West Aurora Plaza, 1901 W. Galena Blvd.

· West Aurora High School, 1201 W. New York St.

Green Route: Lake Street and Indian Trail Road
· Cermak Fresh Markets, 1250 N. Lake St.

· Provena Mercy Medical Center Outpatient Lot, 1325 N. Highland Ave.

Purple Route: Orchard Gateway at Hansen Boulevard
· Woodman’s Market, 151 Hansen Blvd., North Aurora

Lawn chairs and small hand-held coolers are permitted at the fireworks festivities. Large coolers, alcohol and smoking are prohibited on the shuttle buses. Aurora police officers will be writing citations for anyone possessing or setting off illegal fireworks at the event.

For more information on the fireworks program, visit

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