• Megann Horstead

Plainfield celebrates the Fourth at Patriotic Picnic


Thousands honored the birth of the nation at the Plainfield Park District’s ninth annual Patriotic Picnic on July 3.

Cheryl Crisman, director of recreation for the Plainfield Park District, said she was pleased by the turn out to the event, which included a live DJ, a bike parade, big trike races, face painting and inflatables.

“Generally, we have at least 7,500 who watch the fireworks and take part in all the fun events that we plan,” Crisman said.

The Patriotic Picnic was held July 3 at Plainfield Central High School, 24120 W. Fort Beggs Drive. When the park district first introduced the event nine years ago, Plainfield’s downtown area was under construction.

“We created this during that time because we couldn’t have Plainfield Fest, and it was really well received by the community,” Crisman said.

Jay Virzi, of Montgomery, attended this year’s Patriotic Picnic for the first time with his family. Virzi said his son attends summer school, which made the date of the event appealing.

Everybody else by us is [celebrating] on the fourth, and he’s got school on Tuesday morning.”

Ultimately, the Patriotic Picnic was more of an experience than what the Virzi family expected.

“We didn’t really know what we were going to see,” he said. “We mostly came for the fireworks, but we got some Kona Ice and saw a helicopter takeoff. It’s a big win.”

The Plainfield Park District holds a number of events throughout the year. Crisman said the Patriotic Picnic is intended to serve as another fun way to bring the community together.

“We created this (event) when we needed something a little extra—a little fun,” she said. “The Park District no longer does Plainfield Fest. That’s how this (event) came over.”

Stacey Whittman, of Aurora, was one of many in attendance for the Patriotic Picnic. She watched as her 2-year-old daughter took a ride on the Little Obie Train.

“It’s her first time coming to see fireworks,” she said. We’re enjoying it quite a bit. We like all the activities, and she’s having a lot of fun.”

Whittman said she heard about the Patriotic Picnic through a friend of hers who lives in Yorkville. She did a quick Google search and found out the details.

In the end, the event’s true purpose was to bring people together on Independence Day.

“It’s definitely a community outreach event,” Crisman said. “It’s to get people exposure to the Park District [and] to bring them together as a community.

As part of the Patriotic Picnic, the American Legion performed a retiring of the colors. The evening concluded with a fireworks display at dusk.

“This is our community’s only community-based fireworks display, so we’re really happy to be able to present this to the Plainfield community,” she added.

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