WOODRIDGE – For the 46th year, Woodridge will mark Independence Day with its annual Fourth of July Picnic followed by an expanded fireworks show.
The picnic will kick off the patriotism from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Friday at Castaldo Park, which is located on the north side of 71st Street just east of Route 53, while fireworks will launch around 9:30 p.m. at Zigfield Troy Golf Course.
After a brief absence, Darien has rejoined Woodridge and Downers Grove in hosting the fireworks display, and Downers Grove Emergency Management Coordinator Mary Pratt said the show will be bigger than last year.
"We were all be to put more dollars into it," she said. "It's a little longer this year, it should be a larger show. We're very happy to be partnering with both communities."
She said it should run about 25 minutes. For the best view of the show, organizers recommend staking out a spot from the parking lots along 75th Street west of Lemont Road.
This year's picnic in Woodridge will have a special feature as the village and park district will celebrate their 55th and 45th anniversaries at the picnic, respectively, with prize giveaways.
The picnic will also feature a performance by The Music Company, a birds of prey show and free pony and train rides for small children. Hot dogs, bratwurst, chips, soda, water and ice cream treats will be available for a nominal charge, as will beer for adults.
Food tickets for the picnic will be sold in advance today and July 3 from noon to 4 p.m. in the lobby of Village Hall, 5 Plaza Drive, for those who would like to avoid lines on picnic day.
Across town, the District 99 Marching Band will be part of Downers Grove's annual Fourth of July Parade, which is scheduled to step off at 1 p.m. at Main and Grant streets in Downers Grove.
Vietnam veteran David Sapyta and his Dutch Shepherd, Lucy, a veteran bomb-sniffing dog from Afghanistan, will lead the Downers Grove parade as grand marshals.
David and his wife Lynn Sapyta adopted Lucy about two years ago after a philanthropist flew her back to a private facility in the U.S. following her tour of duty, which had her alerting soldiers to land mines or explosive devices by laying down and blocking their path.
The Woodridge Special Events Committee is in need of residents to help out with the annual Fourth of July Picnic this year.
Volunteers are needed for two-hour shifts to serve food and beverages at the picnic, scheduled for 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Friday at Castaldo Park. Those interested can contact Ron Dilger at 630-963-4262.