Fireworks and more for July 4

Pam Monson

    The Mad Bomber has penciled the city of Wilmington in for an Independence Day weekend fireworks show, and local organizations are making a day of it.
    City officials moved the fireworks display to Friday during Catfish Days in 2015 due to safety concerns related to  repairs on the Baltimore Street bridge over the Kankakee River. The move allowed the city to get “more bang for its buck” because fireworks displays on the national holiday generally cost double.
    However, the Wilmington City Council agreed with Mayor Roy Strong’s proposal last week to return the show to the holiday weekend.
    The mayor’s fiscal year 2018 tentative budget includes $10,000 for community festivals. Those funds have been earmarked for fireworks. Mayor Strong hopes the city will not have to spend those dollars, and that donations from local businesses and corporations will cover most of the cost of the show.
    “We’ve got some letters out, we should get most of it reimbursed,” Strong said.
    The city’s fireworks show will be held Saturday, July 1, beginning just after dusk, in the North Island Park. In the event of rain, the fireworks display will take place on Sunday, July 2.
    The celebratory weekend starts earlier that day. The Downtown Merchants’ Association will host its monthly Flea and Farmer’s Market on North Water Street from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Vendors will be offering antiques, collectibles, home decor, crafts, repurposed items and vintage items.
    From 6 to 8 p.m., the Rotary Club takes over the downtown district with its Cars for a Cause fundraiser car show. Instead of prize packages, the cream of the crop of classic cruisers will generate funds for military-minded charities, explained Steve Francis, president.
    “I think it’s a good, positive change,” he commented.
    The owner of the car that takes first place will receive a framed photo of their car, and a donation of $700 will be made in their name to the Manteno Veterans Home.
    The second place winner receives a framed photo and a donation of $500 will be made in their name to Hire Heroes USA, while the third place winner takes home a framed photo, with a $300 donation going to the Wilmington VFW Post 5422 in their name.
    Francis said the show usually attracts about 100 vehicles. The Rotary Club is also planning to have live music during the event.