DOWNERS GROVE – Whether you side with the political philosophies of Alexander Hamilton, or his ideological rival Thomas Jefferson, it's hard to deny Hamilton as the embodiment of the American dream.
For that reason, speaker Terry Lynch chose Hamilton as the Founding Father to portray this year at Fishel Park following the Fourth of July Parade in Downers Grove.
The free patriotic portrayal and speech will go about 25 minutes, and begins at 3 p.m. Thursday.
"I found he's a pretty fascinating character – warts and all," Lynch said. "But he truly was the American dream of someone who had nothing and rose to have quite a bit. He's someone that epitomizes what we all look to do."
Born out of wedlock in the West Indies, Hamilton served as George Washington's chief advisor during the Revolutionary War, and then as Washington's Secretary of the Treasury.
He founded the nation's financial system and the Federalist Party, the U.S.'s first political party, before famously dying in a duel with Vice President Aaron Burr in 1804.
Lynch, 49, has performed annually as a different Founding Father or other historical American for Downers Grove residents on the Fourth of July since 2004.
As Hamilton, he dresses in a darker outfit with a gold vest, showing some of the sartorial flamboyance for which he was known.
"My favorite thing about him is the whole arc of his story, of not giving up," Lynch said. "And realizing that if people disagree with you or think you're doing the wrong thing – the tenacity of sticking with it made him successful."
A list of Lynch's programs and portrayals are available at hfkpresents.com.
Fourth of July fireworks begin at 9:30 p.m. at 75th Street and Lemont Road.
The annual fireworks celebration is funded by the villages of Downers Grove and Woodridge. Residents are invited to gather in the parking lots at the intersection to watch the show.
The villages have planned for the fireworks to last about five to 10 minutes longer than past years. The best views of the display can be seen from parking lots along 75th Street, officials said.
The Downers Grove Fourth of July Parade begins at 1 p.m. Thursday. The parade steps off from Main and Grant streets and heads south on Main Street, ending at Warren Avenue.
The Woodridge Special Events Committee is hosting its Fourth of July picnic for all residents from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Thursday.
The celebration will be held at Castaldo Park, 3024 71st St., with free pony and train rides for kids. Hot dogs, brats, chips, pop and water will be available, along with beer for adults.
The 45th annual celebration will also include music by The Music Company.