The Run Down


This is a special July 4 guide to get us ready for fireworks in the city. While big crowds will gather along the lake front to catch the fireworks show at Navy Pier, the real fun is happening in Ravenswood at an annual illegal fireworks show.  Here are the details.

1. Where to Set Up
2. What To Bring

1. Where To Set Up

For this event, we’re headed to Winnemac Park to attend this annual illegal fireworks show. This isn’t a sponsored event, nor is it put on by any particular group. Rather, it’s just a bunch of people from the neighborhood and across Chicago that converge on this park once a year with portable grills, drinks, and an arsenal of fireworks.

Here’s a satellite view of the park. The fireworks launch sites are at the center of each of the five baseball diamonds.  Most folks were around one of the three baseball diamonds along the Southern edge of the park.

During the day people will start to filter in and find spots somewhere near the baseball diamonds with unobstructed view of the launch sites. Here are a few shots of picnic goers lined up in the outfield. While there are plenty of people here, it was still pretty easy enough for us to find a space in the late afternoon.

2. What To Bring

If you’re planning on spending most of the day here, then consider bringing a portable grill and doing it big. Here are some things to keep in mind.

– Coal grills are allowed.
– After you’re done, you need to douse the coals with water and dump it into one of the bins designated for coal.
– There’s a Mariano’s just a few blocks away for any last minute provisions.
– There’s a lot of green space in the park, so any lawn games, footballs, frisbees, and those sorts of things would be good to bring.


What about fireworks? If you don’t bring any yourself, that’s okay. You can always count on folks to bring out a whole stockpile of them. I’m not talking about roman candles and other dinky stuff, you got people bringing borderline, professional grade fireworks.

Here are a few shots during the fireworks show that lasted well into the night.