Along with containing one of the largest fireworks displays in central Illinois, Ottawa and the surrounding area host a variety of activities for families to enjoy throughout the day.
At the center of Ottawa’s Fourth of July celebration is the famous fireworks show. The fireworks are lit from the Ottawa Township High School at dusk, around 9:30 p.m. The amazing show can be viewed from the high school bleachers all the way to the bluffs along the Illinois & Fox Rivers. People can even watch the show from the comfort of their boats while cruising along the river.
Even though the fireworks do not begin until dusk, be sure to arrive early for a performance from the winners of Ottawa First Has Talent and an incredible air show from the Skydive Chicago skydivers. The divers will land on the high school field right before the first fireworks are set off by the winner of Ottawa First’s Wiley Rabbit coloring contest, Emma Stempft. Performances and beautiful fireworks make this a must-see event.
For activities before the fireworks show, check out a few of the other events taking place around Ottawa. Enjoy a full morning and afternoon of Fourth of July festivities in the neighboring cities of LaSalle and Streator. LaSalle’s celebration begins with a parade at 11:00 a.m, featuring floats crafted by local businesses and organizations. With impressive floats and the chance to collect candy, the parade is the perfect way for families to start their holiday fun. After the parade, head over to Streator, a town about 15 miles south of Ottawa, for one of the best carnivals in the area. Rides, classic carnival games, food and entertainment offer activities for everyone.
When the family is tuckered out from the carnival, return to downtown Ottawa for a delicious meal before the fireworks. Bianchi’s Pizza is a particularly popular eating locale on the Fourth of July. In the past, Bianchi’s Pizza had provided food for Ottawa’s Christmas in July Pizza Party, a pre-fireworks fundraiser for the Red Stocking drive, which gives toys and food to families in need. The pizza party is not taking place this year, but Bianchi’s Pizza is keeping the fundraising portion alive by donating a percentage of its July 4th sales to Red Stocking. People are encouraged to grab a slice of pizza and help Red Stocking before heading to the high school for the fireworks. Or you can always stop out to The Red Dog Grill and grab a bite too!
An amazing fireworks display, parade, carnival and local entertainment make celebrating the Fourth of July in Ottawa, IL an unforgettable experience. The wide variety of activities provides something fun for everyone to enjoy and keep people coming back year after year.