Fourth of July fireworks light up the end of a long day

Ben Fagell, Didi Jin, Joseph Ramos, and Andrew Katz (from left to right) Photo by Dani Lubezki

“Ptttzzzzz” went the fireworks over the heads of cherubs sprawled out across the grass of the Lakefill. It’s easy to enjoy fireworks, and it’s even easier to enjoy fireworks after you’ve been walking for 10 miles to report for a story on a sweltering Fourth of July. 

The City of Evanston puts on a pyrotechnic display on the lakefront after its famous parade to celebrate the nation’s founding, and cherubs flock every year to the lakefront to witness the colorful sight.

Facing south on the Lakefill lets people see not only Evanston’s fireworks, but also displays in Chicago, Glencoe and Winnetka. Cherubs sit on the grassy area lined with large rocks, engulfed by the sound of waves crashing onto the shore.

J.J. Post of Mountainside, New Jersey, said it took him five minutes to find a place to sit. He saw different U.S. flag-themed outfits, including a tank top, shorts, and an actual flag draped around someone’s back. 

“Undoubtedly I had the best outfit with my USA onesie,” Post said. 

Kate Hennessey, Grace Roeshot, Caroline Brew, Brynn Winkler, Eva Wu (from left) pose after fireworks. Photo by Makayla Boxley

“It’s a real bonding moment, especially if you have the Fourth of July in your first week, which you did this year,” community associate Eli Karp said. “It’s a real nice culmination of a really hard day.”

Two years ago, Karp watched the sizzling lights pop in the sky as a cherub himself, and this year it was a new group that had the chance.

Morgan Tinsley of Los Gatos, California, said she just liked sitting down at the end of the day because her feet hurt. (Parade day step count: 25,096)

Tinsley said she normally watches San Jose’s fireworks from her hilltop house. The fireworks are a 30-minute drive away.

“This is the first time that I’ve seen close-up and really big fireworks since probably 2008 in Kentucky when I would visit my grandparents,” Tinsley said. “So, yeah, that was really cool.”

Fireworks fill the Evanston sky. Photo by Annie Rubinson

Certain styles of the lights stood out more than others. Clara Koritz Hawkes of Bethesda, Maryland, said the gold sparklers reminded her of “champagne popping.” 

Koritz-Hawkes said she liked that the pyrotechnics happened over the water because it helped give a pleasant ambience to the night. 

“They were so good that every three minutes we thought it was the finale,” she said. “So I personally thought it was the finale at least four times.”

For some, the beauty of the lights was enough to counteract physical discomfort.

Emma Rosenbaum of Bedford, New Hampshire, said, “The fireworks were so pretty that even though my butt really hurt from sitting on the jagged rocks, I stayed and watch them anyway.”