PLAINFIELD – Dark storm clouds and occasional lighting loomed in the horizon for much of this year’s Plainfield picnic, but that didn’t stop the crowds from pouring in to see the annual fireworks show.
Now in its ninth year, the Plainfield picnic tradition continued on in the parking lots and practice field of Plainfield Central High School campus.
Marketing Manager of the Plainfield Park District Corinne Vargas said $20,000 was spent by the Park District for the event which includes the firework display and the activities. Sponsorships were sold to help pay the bill.
Oversized board games, a patriotic bike race, bounce house inflatables and face painting were available for the kids. As well as “touch a truck," which allowed kids to explore and even sit in the local service vehicles.
The Larson family brought their two-year-old son, Benjamin, to the picnic.
“This is my first year going. We just moved to Plainfield three years ago. We’re excited. There’s a lot of things for the kids to do as we’re waiting for it to get dark,” Nicki Larson said.
An array of sponsored booths were also set up, including one to write thank you notes and holiday cards for deployed soldiers.
Local veterans and the Plainfield Fire Department came together and held two special flag ceremonies: raising of the flag at the end of the fire engine ladder, and retiring the colors ceremony where it is taken down and folded at sunset.
American Legion Marne Post Commander Greg Roach played the bugle for retiring the colors.
“This being the most important day on our country’s calendar, it’s important for us to be out here to talk to the community to talk to them and let them know what we’re doing for veterans and for the community,” Roach said.
The fun wasn’t just at the high school. Residents lined Route 30 and the surrounding residential area to view the fireworks.
The VanGessel family from Plainfield parked in the St. Mary Immaculate parking lot across from the field with their friends who are parishioners.
“You can see everything from over here. It’s a great view,” Lori VanGessel said.
Debbie Moore’s parents came to Plainfield from Cleveland, Georgia for a family reunion. They enjoyed the view from the District 202 administrative building parking lot.
“Every year we’re in the same exact spot. All our friends know where we are and meet us,” Moore said.
Some sit out as early as 4:30 p.m. to save their spot, like Joliet resident Frank Critanovich. His family calls the Plainfield picnic a tradition.
“They do a good job. They have really nice fireworks,” Critanovich said.
Roughly 7,000 to 10,000 people attend every year the Plainfield Park District estimates.
“The picnic brings the community together to celebrate it as a community. It’s a great way to get family together and enjoy the parks and recreation,” Vargas said.
Although the rain held off and the fireworks show went off without a hitch, the Park District said that there were precautions in place if the crowd needed to be evacuated or moved into the school for safety if severe inclement weather occurred.