July 4 Parade Draws Large Numbers, Smiles, and Some Neigh-Sayers

Ashton, age 4, representing the Wolfpack of Park Forest Baseball at the 2021 July 4 parade.
Ashton, age 4, represented the Wolfpack of Park Forest Baseball. Ashton walked the entire parade route, still smiling at the end. (Photo: Gary Kopycinski)

Park Forest, IL-(ENEWSPF)- Barack Obama once said, “In the unlikely story that is America, there has never been anything false about hope.” That hope and joy was on full display as Park Foresters turned out in large numbers for the first July 4 parade since the beginning of the pandemic. The smiles were on display even as the late afternoon heat approached 90 at the start of the march. The humidity, while evident, was neither thick nor oppressive.

Members of the Village Board rode in separate vehicles near the start of the parade, State Rep. Anthony DeLuca and State Sen. Patrick Joyce represented the state of Illinois. And numerous residents and Village personnel represented Park Forest: businesses, organizations, Police, Fire, and, this year, even Public Works was on full display with an impressive display of equipment.

Officials said this was the largest number of participants in many years, with the PFPD commenting on social media, “it was the longest in recent memory!”

Cub Scouts from Park Forest Pack 148
Cub Scouts from Park Forest Pack 148 march together. (Photo: Gary Kopycinski)

There were children — lots and lots of children — some as young as four-years-old who walked the entire route. One young lad, Ashton, age 4, who played with the Wolfpack, was one of many who represented Park Forest Baseball. Ashton marched with a beaming smile, and was still smiling as he marched the end of the parade.

The Robinsons bid you welcome.
The Robinsons bid welcome to passers-by near the start of the parade. (Photo: Gary Kopycinski)

It was as if all were emerging from a long hibernation for this event. While residents turned out in large numbers for the return of Main Street Nights, this July 4 parade seemed to have an electricity uniquely its own. Perhaps this was indeed because it had been so long since people saw each other as a community.

Six steeds march tall along Lakewood Boulevard Sunday.
Six steeds — one visible behind the two on the left — march tall along Lakewood Boulevard Sunday. (Photo: Gary Kopycinski)

The parade did have its share of neigh-sayers, however. For the first time in this writer’s memory, the parade took an equestrian turn with the appearance six impressive steeds that towered along the route as their riders guided them down Village streets.

There are over 200 photos from Sunday’s event in our gallery below. Please take to view them, or visit and subscribe to our Flickr page separately.