Winnemac Fireworks: It’s The Fourth

By Mike Fourcher | Thursday, June 30, 2011

Winnemac Park, July 4, 2010. Credit: Flickr/TheeErin

We heard from a few of you about this weekend’s upcoming fireworks in Winnemac Park, 5001 N. Leavitt St., and learned three things:

  • It’s always been on July 4th, regardless of what day of the week it falls on.
  • Everyone agrees the park looks like a complete disaster the next day.
  • Park neighbors are conflicted on whether the fireworks are a good thing or a bad thing.

Park neighbor Eric Rojas told us on Facebook, “How can we expect kids to obey any laws when a massive illegal fireworks show is held in a residential public park? As a two time homeowner within a half-block of the park, I’m sick of the park being trashed on one of my few days off with the family.”

Another neighbor, Jill Asher, told us via email that a fellow neighbor calls it, “little Mogadishu” (after the lawless Somalian capital) and that she thinks, “It’s scary, dangerous and fun at the same time.” She reports that local police park their patrol cars near the park and shut things down by midnight.

What do you think? Will you plan to go? Should the Chicago Police continue to turn a blind eye to our little local tradition? Tell us in the comments.

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  • Anonymous

    I love the Winnemac Park fireworks.  It feels like such a Chicago thing.  We live nearby and go every year.  Yeah, it’s a little lawless, but things never get out of control, and it’s quite an impressive display!

  • Anonymous

    This sounds amazing.  I will definitely pop by.  Does anyone know what time the festivities kick off or is it an all day extravaganza?

  • Anonymous

    I whole heartedly support the off-the-grid fireworks in Winnemac Park.  The day afterwards, people in our neighborhood always come to the park to help pick up the trash and spent fireworks. It may take some time to get everything picked up, but it gets done. Many different people in the neighborhood stop by throughout the day to pitch in.  It is a lovely local event, an impressive display, and I hope it continues. In answer to Courtney’s question.  The fireworks begin when the sun sets.

  • Anonymous

    ? for Eric Rojas:

    You take the 5th of July off?  Interesting.

    • I_Ron_Maiden_1

      I think he’s a R.E. broker. Brokers take whatever damn days off they want!

  • Pingback: Bring on the Unsanctioned Fireworks. Boom. « The Kate Silver's Very Important Blog

  • http://twitter.com/K8Silver Kate Silver

    Winnemac’s “Unsanctioned” fireworks display is the BEST. I’ve seen million-dollar “sanctioned” shows my whole life, and would choose Winnemac over any of them. It’s one of my favorite things about Chicago. (http://thekatesilver.wordpress.com/2011/06/30/bring-on-the-unsanctioned-fireworks-boom/)

  • Anonymous

    1. Neighbors in my alley have a huge fireworks display. One that is too dangerous for the location. They seem drunk. Still burning fireworks land the on the roof of our wooden house. Nobody answers calls to 911. They physically threaten us when we try to tell them to stop.  This is what lawlessness looks like.

    2. I’ve been biking when someone threw a M80 into traffic on a major street.

    Is this the way it should be?

    I do wish the police would be more active. Fireworks are pretty, but the more they let it get out of hand, the more dangerous it is.  We should feel safe in our homes and walking down the street.  It’s like a war zone around here on the 4th. Fireworks are not legal because it takes some certain level of care, intelligence, training, and sobriety to use them carefully. I really wish the police would crack down on people who are the worst offenders and start making the city safer on the 4th.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Dave-Lundy/1072698151 Dave Lundy

    Not to be a killjoy, but as a parent of two young children, I’m sick and tired of being forced to make travel plans so my six year old doesn’t cry for three straight hours.  It’s absurd.  It’s offensive.  It doesn’t end at midnight.  And it should stop once and for all.

    Dave Lundy

  • http://profiles.google.com/ericrojas2 Eric Rojas

    “cjlane”, what is your inference? Again, no need to single me out for my opinion concerning the fireworks with a intelligible question. As Jesse Jackson famously said on SNL, “The question is moot!”. The 4th of July was obsevered on Monday July 5th, 2010 (a Federal holiday) in which the park was trashed in the morning and afternoon regardless of people who did come and clean up throughout the day.   Secondly, this may be shocking, but many people own their own business or take time off around the holidays when they’re kids are on summer vacation. So, yes, some folks are off on the 5th and spend time with their family in the park.  I know, NUTS!  You can see my not so anonymous profile and blog post on the subject last year where other neighbors stated they feel the fireworks are getting out of hand and dangerous. http://chicagorealestatelocal.blogspot.com/2010/07/top-notch-fireworks-at-winnemac-park-in.html  I watched the show from my old condo parking lot. 
    Bottom line, fireworks and the use of the park for a fireworks show are illegal so my personal opinion one way or the other does not matter.  I
     think the fireworks supporters should petition for a city permitted and regulated show rather than make derogatory remarks towards those that do not agree with the display in the park. 

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1643961238 Eric Pancer

      Eric Rojas: your opinion doesn’t really matter. Stop spamming us with your awful blog, as well.

  • Anonymous

    As a resident and home owner near the park, I think we should continue the tradition.  If the residents are not allowed to display their fireworks in the park then they will display them elsewhere in the area. With that being said, the trash left over will be all over our area instead of being concentrated in a smaller contained area.  Not all people in the area are going to clean up the alleys through-out the ward. 

    Second if the people are not allowed to set the fireworks off in the vast area of the park, they will set them off in the alley or anywhere else they feel like setting them.  This could cause much more problems then loud noise and trash in the park for a few days.  The more concerning problem could be the area homes and businesses potential of being burned down because there is no longer a controlled area that the residents could use to set off the fireworks.  Restricting the use of the area will not prevent people from buying and setting of fireworks!  The only thing it will do is expose many more property owners to the great prossiblity of their investment being burned to the ground.

    Just my two cents worth!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Dorothe-Wiedle/1494842510 Dorothe Wiedle

    I’m in favor!  I’ve lived down the block for 15 years and have attended almost every year and have yet to hear a report of any injuries or violence.  It’s so nice to not have to travel downtown (we know how safe THAT is) to see a fantastic show.
    I love how the 3 or 4 “corners of the ring” seem to compete with each other on who has the best fireworks.  When one show trails off, the guy in another corner starts his and I truly appreciate how much money the fireworks cost.   In terms of the trash, I’ve gone to the park the morning after and yes, there’s debris but the park district employees do a mighty fine job of picking up whatever is left over.   The only thing I am afraid of is that we publicize how great this show is and too many outsiders may start coming by.   Shhhh!

  • Anonymous

    We’ve been going to Winnemac Park for the fireworks for the last 4 years and love it. It’s a great show, it never gets out of hand, and the sketchiness adds to the feeling in the air and feels very Chicago.

  • I_Ron_Maiden_1

    I’ll be there!

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