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Independence Day 2024

Highland Park, IL Announces Plans for Independence Day 2024
City, Park District partner to host Independence Day events

April 17, 2024 – The City of Highland Park (City) and the Park District of Highland Park (Park District) announce plans for community events on Independence Day 2024. The schedule of events is intended to balance the diverse needs within the community by providing space for remembrance as well as familiar traditions. This will include a morning remembrance ceremony, an afternoon parade along a new route in Downtown Highland Park, and the return of the family friendly Fourth Fest.

View the event Q&A. 

“Independence Day has traditionally been a special opportunity for our community to come together with beloved traditions,” said Mayor Nancy Rotering. “As we continue our journey as one Highland Park, we do so with respect, compassion, and support for all whose lives were forever changed on July 4, 2022, while maintaining the community spirit that has always been a hallmark of Highland Park’s Independence Day events.”

 “While our community was forever changed by the events on July 4, 2022, this Independence Day, we can start a new chapter by coming together in love and kindness for one another,” said Terry Grossberg, president of the Park District of Highland Park Board of Commissioners.  “Celebrating this national holiday with our loved ones is crucial to our community’s identity.  Let’s come together, share this special moment with our neighbors and friends, and create cherished memories.”

The City and Park District have undertaken a trauma-informed approach to planning Independence Day events, with guidance from the Department of Justice – Office of Victims of Crime and community-based mental health clinicians who have been working in Highland Park over the past nearly two years. The schedule of events recognizes the importance of providing structured and unstructured opportunities for reflection and remembrance while reintroducing the Independence Day parade and Fourth Fest event, which community members identified in 2023 as beloved community traditions that are important for Highland Park to reclaim.  A Q&A regarding events is available. 

The slate of events includes:  

Remembrance Ceremony

The City will host a remembrance ceremony at 10:00 AM. The program will be available in English, Spanish, and American Sign Language, and will include remarks from Mayor Nancy Rotering, faith leaders, and music. The remembrance ceremony will be open to the public via advance registration to ensure venue capacity. To protect the privacy of individuals in attendance, the ceremony will be held indoors. In addition to the in-person remembrance ceremony, a remembrance video message will be available to view the morning of  July 4, 2024. Learn more about the remembrance ceremony and register to attend.

The temporary memorial, located in the Rose Garden adjacent to City Hall (1707 St. Johns Avenue), is always accessible to the public, and will be available on July 4, 2024. Visitors who may be concerned about re-traumatization from patriotic décor, floats, etc. related to the parade itself are encouraged to avoid visiting the memorial between 11 AM – 2 PM.

Click here to register for the Remembrance Ceremony.

Independence Day Parade

The City and Park District present “Sweet Home Highland Park,” a community-focused paradSweet Home HP FINALe kicking off at 1 PM along a new route through Downtown Highland Park. The theme invites participation from residents, community organizations, and businesses encouraged to showcase their love for Highland Park with float design and festive décor that spotlight something special about the city. To emphasize Highland Park’s spirit of community, neighborhoods are encouraged to collaborate on a shared float or parade entry. In keeping with the Highland Park tradition of a festive children’s bike and pet parade, families are invited to register to participate as part of the parade with decorated children’s bikes and pets in their patriotic best. The parade entry that most creatively embodies the “Sweet Home Highland Park” theme will be awarded “best in show” in three categories: neighborhood, community groups, and businesses. Participants are encouraged to draw inspiration from Highland Park’s natural resources, landmarks, history, and traditions in planning their entries. Parade participation sign-ups are now available, 2024; all parade participants, including families, neighborhoods or walking groups, must register in advance

Fourth Fest

Following the parade’s conclusion, community members will enjoy entertainment, rides, carnival games, a petting zoo, and other family-friendly activities at Sunset Woods Park as part of Fourth Fest, presented by the Park District of Highland Park from 1:30 to 4:30 PM. Main stage entertainment will feature the popular band Radio Gaga and other entertainers. Food trucks will be available on site. Additional details will be available at

There will not be a City or Park District-sponsored evening event on July 4, 2024.

Additional Information

The City recognizes that community members may benefit from professional support in considering participation in Independence Day activities. The City’s Resiliency Division provides assistance including short-term counseling, resources and referrals, case management and needs assessments, and more. For information about support services available through the Resiliency Division, please contact Resiliency Manager Madeline Kati, LCSW, at / 847.926.1036.

Information regarding Independence Day activities will be shared by both the City and Park District as planning continues. Updates from the City are available at, and updates from the Park District are available at Individuals are welcome to share their feedback via email to the City at