Oak Park residents to celebrate 4th of July in style

July 1, 2013 by  

People all over the United States enjoy celebrating the 4th of July, but residents of Oak Park are perhaps more enthusiastic than most. They are planning a block party that continues a tradition that began in 1963.

The residents of South Kenilworth Avenue’s 800 block are getting ready for the 50th Independence Day party in their neighborhood. The tradition began when residents of the 800 block, along with neighbors on another street, got permits to hold a block party. It turns out that 4th of July was the first-ever block party in Oak Park, and it was a casual affair, with a keg of beer for adults and games for children. It was so much fun, however, that the residents decided to do it time and time again.

Over the years, neighbors have come up with ideas for additional activities, so that now the celebration lasts the entire day. Some of the suggestions have worked out well, while others have come and gone; a chicken feather plucking competition was one of the ideas that had a relatively short run. Those that have become traditional include having a couple dress up as Miss Liberty and Uncle Sam to lead the parade, and several variations on eating contests, including watermelon eating, seed spitting, and pie-eating. There will also be a Bocce Ball tournament.

Block residents might get together with a flyer printing expert to work up a fun handout listing the contests and events for the day.