Celebration at Lan-Oak Park starts at 5:00pm, with fireworks at 9:30pm
by Katie Arvia
LANSING, Ill. (June 28, 2018) – Each year, thousands of Lansing residents attend the annual Grande Ole Fourth of July celebration, an event that includes music, food, and, of course, fireworks. For many years, the Lan-Oak Park District has partnered with the Village to put on the display. However, with the 2018 celebration comes an opportunity to review the partnership.
Sharon Desjardins, Senior Superintendent of Strategy & Operations for the Lansing Park District, explained, “The current contract with the fireworks provider ends with this year’s display. For the new contract, the Village expressed financial concern and has not yet committed to helping with the cost of the fireworks.”
“For us, it’s about looking at what makes sense financially [that] we can contribute under our community relations budget,” said Ken Reynolds, Communications Director for Lansing. Putting on a really good fireworks display costs thousands of dollars, and the end of the current contract gives the Village an opportunity to consider whether they should be using those dollars to get even more bang for their buck, so to speak.
This budget reevaluation does not, however, mean that the Village plans to withdraw completely from the Fourth of July celebration. Reynolds recognizes the importance of the annual festivities and believes that the park district has done an excellent job of putting on a quality show for Lansing residents. He stated that the Village “definitely wants to be a part of the Fourth of July.”
In the past, the village not only paid for most of the fireworks, but also provided services such as the police department, fire department, and public works.
“The park district pays for a small portion of the fireworks and music, organizes the food vendors, pays for the attractions, organizes and runs the family games, and provides staff for all of those functions,” Desjardins said, who has been with the park district for the past 15 years.
With the possibility of a smaller financial backing from the village, Desjardins said there will be a significant increase in costs for the park district—the fireworks display alone costs approximately $17,000 each year. While the park district will look for new sponsors for the annual celebration, they plan on “shouldering the cost alone if necessary.”
Although some details of the partnership may change, Reynolds stressed the importance of working together to provide for the Lansing community.
“We’ve had a very good relationship, a very open relationship with the park district. We definitely believe that the two municipal forms of government need to work as closely as possible to provide quality services to our residents,” Reynolds said.
As for future Fourth of July celebrations, Desjardins said that not much will change. A new three-year contract with fireworks provider Melrose Pyrotechnics was signed. In fact, Desjardins said that the fireworks display is perfect and has no plans to make changes—other than planned design elements by the providers to ensure that each year is different.
“The park district had the option of shortening the display for the coming three years in order to save money [but] chose not to,” Desjardins said. “Our community deserves the finest display we can give them.”
Despite the significant cost of the Fourth of July celebration, Desjardins stressed the importance of carrying on a long-standing Lansing tradition.
“The Lansing community has looked forward to and comes together to celebrate in a spectacular way for decades,” Desjardins said. “Events such as the Grande Ole Fourth make family memories that last a lifetime. Can you really put a price on that? The park district doesn’t think you should and will carry on this important Lansing tradition, hopefully for years to come.”
This year’s fireworks display and Grande Ole Fourth of July celebration will be held at Lan-Oak Park, located at 180th and Arcadia. Food vendors will open for business at 5:00pm, the band will begin at 5:30pm, and “old-fashioned” family games will start at 5:45pm. The fireworks display will begin promptly at 9:30pm.