Firefighters grand marshals of Elgin's dinosaur-themed parade

As the nation celebrates Tuesday morning, dinosaurs and firefighters will be key features of Elgin’s Fourth of July parade.

Elgin Area Chamber of Commerce Director of Marketing and Special Events, Jason Pawlowski, said the city’s Special Events staff and Fourth of July parade committee came up with the prehistoric creatures theme for this year’s parade to celebrate Gail Borden Public Library’s Dinosaur Giants exhibit, which runs through September.

“The grand marshals are the members of the Elgin Fire Department who are celebrating 150 years of service this year,” Pawlowski said.

For the occasion, Fire Chief Dave Schmidt said the parade will feature an old steamer fire engine being pulled by a team of horses.

According to information posted on the city’s website, parade-related activities are set to run on the northeast side from 9 a.m. until noon along Douglas Avenue, from Slade Avenue, not far from Advocate Sherman Center Street Campus, to Highland Avenue at the north edge of downtown.

Pawlowski said there are about 85 units in the parade. Things get underway at Slade and Douglas with the Star Spangled Banner at 9 a.m., followed by a dog parade.

On Tuesday, parts of four streets will be closed to traffic from 8 a.m. until 11:30 a.m., and, prior to that, all vehicles parked on these streets after 6 a.m. will be towed.

Those closures include Kimball Street from Dundee Avenue to North Grove Avenue; Douglas Avenue from River Bluff Road to East Chicago Street; Highland Avenue from Spring Street to North Grove Avenue; and Symphony Way from Douglas Avenue to Spring Street.

“We recommend that people park in one of the downtown parking decks or in one of the many surface lots available throughout downtown Elgin and then walk to the parade route along Douglas Avenue,” Pawlowski said.

For those who can’t make it, Pawlowski said that Jeff Myers and Kyle Bault will be covering the parade which will be shown on Channel 17/99 on Elgin cable systems throughout the month of July. Downtown Elgin-based radio station WRMN 1410 AM will be carrying the parade, too, with Mark Bialek broadcasting live from the event.

Past the parade, Pawlowski said that Side Street Studio Arts, 15 Ziegler Court, will be hosting its Americana Jubilee from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m.

“There will be a dunk tank, pie tasting, art and lots of family fun as well,” Pawlowski said of the jubilee.

Pawlowski noted that the Elgin Area Convention and Visitors Bureau put together a list of downtown Elgin restaurants that will be open on the holiday, as well as their hours, at

As for his own role in the parade, Pawlowski said he’s been working as a resource for the city’s Barb Keselica and the Special Events staff and helping with some marketing and parade staging logistics.

“At the event, I’ll be a gatekeeper as well as the public address announcer near the judges’ stand, along with pretty much anything else Barb needs me to do,” Pawlowski said.

That includes being onsite at 6 a.m. with a team of volunteers that keep watch over portions of the route.

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