“Hurrah for the flag of the free. May it wave as our standard forever,” (cue the wicked piccolo solo).
You’ll be humming everyone’s favorite Sousa ‘smash single,’ (Stars & Stripes Forever) as you scour through our 2018 guide to the Fourth of July in Lake County.
We all live for that moment when we look to the sky and anxiously await our favorite brand of boom and color spatter from a Lake County fireworks show. Then viewers their starry-eyed “ooh’s and ahh’s,” (some of us get 3D glasses to see if they work, but they never do) as we hope our favorite kind of firework will be the next one to light up the smiling faces around us. (Mine are those white ones that look like fairy dust and make that uber-loud bang! I also like the weeping willow style of cracker that blossoms in assorted colors in the sky).
From neighborhood block parties and backyard cookouts to community festivals to parades, to live music and fireworks, honor Independence Day by donning your red, white and blue garb in Lake County.
Lake County loves to party, and we always do it the good ole “‘Murrican” way.
Here is your 2018 Guide to the Fourth of July in Lake County.
Marquee Fourth of July Festivals
Celebrate Independence Day at the Gurnee amusement park. Besides the exciting 16-roller coasters, the splashtastic slides at Hurricane Harbor and other fantastic thrills at Six Flags Great America, the five-day fest will feature a Coca-Cola® July 4th Zone with a live DJ, delicious eats, dance contests, live performances and fireworks display each night before the park closes.
Yankee Doodle went to Lincolnshire riding on a pony. His adventure to the Lake County village ended when he arrived at the Red, White and Boom Fest (sans the cap, feather and macaroni). This annual celebration’s Sunday festivities include live entertainment, food & beer tent, a carnival, a variety of games and a classic car show. The Monday schedule is highlighted by a pancake feast, 5K, the annual parade, the cardboard regatta, more live music and more fun. The fest ends with a stunning fireworks extravaganza.
The Morale, Welfare and Recreation Department would like to extend an invitation to all families, friends, Veterans and the general public to the Naval Station Great Lakes to be a part of the 2018 4th of July Celebration on historic Ross Field from 3-11 p.m. on Tuesday, July 3 and 3-10 p.m. on Wednesday, July 4. The spectacular two days of ‘fire-cracking’ festival fun is one of the biggest Independence Day celebrations in the area. On Tuesday, the main stage is otherwise known as the Rock, White & Blue (RWB) Stage features headliner Theory of a Deadman, treating concert-goers to their masterful performance and riveting music. An RWB VIP package is available that includes exclusive access to the front row section of the Main Stage. On both days, there is the main stage with national, regional and local bands performing and thrilling carnival rides and games; as well as an abundance of delicious festival food and refreshing beverages (from local area vendors). Children of all ages will have plenty to do in the award-winning Kids Zone, featuring tons of exciting “hands-on” activities including SeaPerch/Stem building, a petting zoo, an indoor rock wall, as well as a full line-up of live entertainment acts. Festival-goers will also enjoy bingo for prizes, pro wrestling, a paintball arena, military exhibits; plus roving performers and costumed characters that will be on site working the crowds! Both nights conclude with spectacular fireworks that will be choreographed to music beginning at 9:30 p.m. on the third and 10:45 p.m. on the fourth. For more details, go to www.mwrgl.com or visit the Naval Station Great Lakes 4th of July Facebook page.
Lake County Festivals with Fourth of July Celebrations
The event includes musical performances, food, drinks, arts and crafts, car show, carnival, a parade, activities for kids and adults and much more. There will also be a parade and much more fun. The Independence Day Fireworks Show is held on July 3 at 9:30 p.m. The Mundelein Community Days musical entertainment lineup includes Kasmir, 7th Heaven, Bella Cain and more.
It’s a celebration of the sweet treats from Jelly Belly as the Pleasant Prairie factory hosts their annual summer carnival. For three days, attendees can enjoy summer with carnival rides, midway games, the factory tour, face painting, balloon art and a magician. From noon-4 p.m., guests can experience unlimited carnival rides for $20 per person. Don’t forget to take advantage of the ‘belly flops deal.’ If visitors purchase three bags of jelly beans for $30, they get two bags free. Be one of the first 500 adult carnival goers and receive a free two-pound bag of jelly beans.
“Ready. Aim. Chaaaarge,” on over to the Lakewood Forest Preserve to their annual Civil War Days. See the American heavyweight battle of the 1800th century as the Union and Confederacy converge in battle. The boom of the cannons, the crack of the rifles the gallop of horse hooves all provide that authentic experience for you and the family. The event also features an 1863 summer fair, a meet and greet with President Lincoln, kiddie games and a scavenger hunt and Civil War-era vendors selling memories of the experience.
The Chicago Botanic Garden Art Festival showcases the work of 95 unique artists in a pristine setting overlooking a lake, spectacular gardens and 385 acres of majesty. All of the artwork embodies a botanic theme, use or material. Festival-goers will have the opportunity to see the masters at work, with interactive art demos and booth chats taking place all weekend long.
‘The rocket’s red glare’ and ‘the bombs bursting in air’ appears early in Grayslake. The Taste of Grayslake festivities includes live entertainment, a moonwalk, carnival rides, face painting, an obstacle course, wall climbing and so much more. The June 30 fireworks show begins at dusk. Attendees will listen to live performances by The Complex and Mike & Joe.
Live tunes, Lake Michigan, libations and more, Harbor’s Edge throws their annual music festival before the holiday. The fest features bands like Student Body, Six String Crossing, D-Flo, the Eddie Van Zant Band and more. This is a free admission event that offers adult drinks for purchase.
Parade and festival in Waukegan’s Bowen Park is the place to be on July 1. This event features a petting zoo, pony rides, children’s activities, a skate expo and live music. The Waukegan Band will also be in attendance playing our favorite patriotic jams. On the Fourth of July, Waukegan will shoot fireworks above beautiful Lake Michigan.
Eats, drinks and fireworks over the Bangs Lake sound splendid. This family-friendly event in Wauconda is perfect for all ages.
Deerfield hosts its annual Family Days at Jewett and Brickyard Parks. The two-day celebration includes fireworks, a parade, arts and crafts tents, carnival rides, a petting zoo, the bike parade, a flower show, a rotary race, and a slew of other family fun-tivities. This Fourth of July, visit Deerfield to mingle, share, reacquaint and relish in the festivities. The fireworks show begins at dusk on July 3.
Visit Paulus Park in Lake Zurich to celebrate Independence Day. The festivities include live music and entertainment, kid games, inflatable rides, swimming and the Taste of Summer featuring local restaurants. The celebration concludes with a fireworks show launched by pyrotechnic experts from a barge on Lake Zurich.
The beloved fireworks display is set for dusk on July 4th at approximately 9:30 p.m in Butler Park. Preceding the fireworks will be a performance of patriotic tunes by the Libertyville Band at 7:30 p.m. in the Butler Lake Bandshell.
Celebrate our nation’s birthday at the Round Lake Beach Cultural & Civic Center. This event features games, family fun, live entertainment from the community band and HiFi Superstar. Round Lake Beach will provide a fireworks display at dusk.
This single day, multiple activity events start with the State Bank of the Lakes “Run for Freedom” and ends with the Annual Fireworks Show in downtown Antioch. In between, there is something for everyone, like sports tournaments, children’s games, food and beverage vendors, a parade, and lots of music. Once the parade is over, and everyone is at Williams Park to enjoy the many activities including a children’s fun fair, picnic and live music.
Vernon Hills throws a spectacular Independence Day celebration as the parade features marching bands, floats, clowns, costumed characters, stilt walkers, local merchants, pageant winners and civic leaders. The parade steps off at 9 a.m. Stick around for the evening as Century Park will showcase live entertainment. At 9:30 p.m. keep your eye on the skies as fireworks light up the sky over Big Bear and Little Bear Lake.
Other Holiday Weekend and Fourth of July Events
- KPMG Women’s PGA Championship Tournament (June 26-July 1) INFO»
- Jazz Concert at Grayslake Heritage Center & Museum (June 27) INFO»
- Navy Tails at the National Museum of the American Sailor (Through July 12) INFO»
- 2018 Firecracker at Zion’s Shepherd’s Crook Golf Course (June 29-30) INFO»
- Mundelein’s Annual Freedom Classic 5K and Fun Walk (June 30) INFO»
- Firecracker 5K and 2-mile Walk at Highland Park’s Sunset Woods Park (July 1) INFO»
- Tempel Lipizzan’s Matinee Performance (July 1) INFO»
- Waukegan’s July 4 Fireworks Show (July 4) INFO»