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Small town to still celebrate 4th

The fire department clowns at a previous Chenoa 4th of July parade / CIFN file photo.

CHENOA – One area town hopes to bring a sense of normalcy to Independence Day this year.

The long running Chenoa 4th of July celebration is still planned, even though a number of other communities have called-off events surrounding the nation’s birthday due to COVID-19.

“We’ve had people message the page and call or text to suggest ideas,” explains Chenoa 4th of July committee member Dalton Campbell. “We’re doing the best we can, trying to keep everything normal but adhere to all of the rules and regulations.”

While decisions aren’t always easy these days, the committee decided to leave some of the festivities in place while canceling others. There will be no street dance, flea market or car show but other staples remain like the road rally, parade and fireworks.

“Chenoa has done a 4th of July fireworks show for many, many years and we didn’t want to break that tradition,” Campbell said.

The annual road rally is Sunday (June 28) with registration from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. at the city park. The driver meeting starts at 12 p.m. with the first car leaving by 12:30. Groups of friends often hop in their cars, drive around to checkpoints and can win a trophy at the end. Entry fee is $30.00 per car and more information can be obtained by calling 815-848-1292.

Even though there is no street dance on July 3, the various establishments in town will be open giving residents the chance to support local businesses which have been shut down during the pandemic.

“We like seeing Chenoa thrive,” Campbell noted.

The full parade steps off at 2 p.m. on the 4th with the normal route. Organizers ask everyone to maintain social distancing as much as possible. A fireworks display happens at dusk which is strictly aerial with no ground display. This allows spectators to see the fireworks from several miles away along the country roads, various spots in town or even along Old Route 66.

“A lot of towns around here aren’t putting on a show and it’s not because they don’t want to, but it’s more of a funding issue,” explained Campbell.

Live online streaming is planned for the fireworks, flag raising and National Anthem.

Donation buckets will be available and the committee appreciates any assistance it can get. Also, they are selling raffle tickets for a 2019 EZ-GO golf cart to raise money for the celebration.

More information can be found on Facebook on the “Chenoa 4th of July” Facebook page. All of the major events are pinned to the top.

The Central Illinois Farm Network will have a live broadcast of the Chenoa 4th of July parade on Facebook starting at 2 p.m. on Saturday, July 4. Kent Casson and Mark Johnson will call the action!

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