BATAVIA – Eyes will be trained skyward for one of the most popular fireworks shows in the Fox Valley, the Fourth of July Sky Concert in Batavia.
It’s a labor of love for the fireworks committee, whose volunteers meet 10 months of the year to pull all the elements of the long-running Batavia tradition together. The night will include the band Orange Star performing at 6 p.m., followed by the Batavia Community Band playing patriotic favorites at 8:15 p.m.
The event also features food from a variety of vendors, including Bernie’s Bully Dogs, Team FIB BBQ, Fernando’s Street Kitchen, Andres Restaurant and others, with the grounds opening at 5 p.m. and festivities kicking off between 5:30 and 6 p.m. People can bring picnics, but no alcohol is allowed, and one should not take dogs.
Illinois’ approaching bicentennial in December provides the musical theme for this year’s fireworks display synchronized with the aerial effects, said Capt. Mark Davis, who manages Batavia’s Emergency Services and Disaster Agency and has chaired the fireworks committee for the past nine years.
“We’re celebrating the 200th birthday of Illinois,” Davis said, explaining the committee picked music that is either linked to Illinois artists or about the state’s cities.
Returning to orchestrate the half hour of computerized fireworks will be Melrose Pyrotechnics. Prime viewing and listening can be found at Engstrom Park, where the band is playing, as well as the high school athletic practice fields between Main and Wilson streets, Davis said. The half-hour show is set to begin at 9:30 p.m., and some people stake out space as early as the day before.
While the city of Batavia provides police and fire protection for the event, all other costs are paid for by donations from the community and sponsorships, Davis said. His committee has been working to raise about $40,000 for this year’s show, including fundraising efforts such as the citywide garage sale and the recent Batavia Flag Day Ice Cream Social.
Proceeds from a $5 parking donation at the high school on July 4 will help the cause, and volunteers will pass buckets among the crowd. One also can go to the website to make an online donation.
A raffle will wrap up the show, with winners receiving teak benches or teak outdoor furnishings donated by Barco Products of Batavia. People can buy raffle tickets that day at a tent near the food vendors.
“[It’s] totally privately funded – we have to raise all the money,” Davis said of the fireworks show. “We have corporate sponsors and private sponsors.”
The Sky Concert will affect traffic that day. Davis said Millview Drive will close at noon, and Main Street will close at 8 p.m.
if you go
WHAT: Batavia Sky Concert
WHEN: Grounds open at 5 p.m. July 4, followed by food and music before fireworks at 9:30 p.m.
WHERE: Engstrom Park, 326 Millview Drive, Batavia
COST: Admission free, with donations requested