Strike up the band, bust out your American flags and break out the (legal) fireworks, the Mokena Chamber of Commerce Fourth of July celebration is nearly here! The annual event, which the Chamber touts as the largest and most popular in the Southland, steps off at 10 a.m. on the Fourth, and will proceed from the Mokena Community Park District to Wolf Road, and then north to Granite Drive.
“It's the same route we've been using for the last couple of years, it starts pretty much at the park district because that's where everyone stages,” said Melissa Fedora, Chamber of Commerce Administrator.
The theme for this year's parade is Patriots and Pioneers, which was the winning entry in the park district's Name the Parade contest. Marybeth Windberg came up with the name.
This year, Fedora said that there should be just about 80 participants in the parade, including local businesses, non-for-profit organizations and local school bands. Leading the way this year, will be parade Grand Marshall Ted Golden, former Mokena Fire Protection District Chief.
“He's never put himself first, he's always put the community and his job first,” said Cindy Gamboa, chairperson for the parade. “Everybody automatically thought of him. It's just a cool thing for him.”
Chief Golden plans to lead the parade in a 1930s era fire truck, which has been used in previous events in Mokena, instead of the customary convertible.
“He said, 'Oh no, absolutely not. I want the fire truck,'” Gamboa said with a laugh.
Gamboa said that in the past 16 years she has seen her share of great parades and overcome several challenges chairing the parade committee, but that it's always worth it in the end.
“It's a great way to keep our hometown appeal for Mokena,” Gamboa said. “Also, it gives our businesses and other people a chance to advertise, or promote themselves.”
For more information about the parade, visit the Chamber of Commerce's website, or call (708) 479-2468.
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