Highland Park to hold community walk in lieu of July 4 parade

The walk will be held along the parade route and is one of several events to be held that day, themed ‘We are Highland Park,’ the city announced.

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Nancy Rotering, mayor of Highland Park, right, gives a speech on the events of the Fourth of July shooting in July 2022. This year, the city plans a more subdued celebration, with no parade or fireworks.

Tyler Pasciak LaRiviere/Sun-Times

Highland Park will hold a community walk instead of a Fourth of July parade on the one-year anniversary of the mass shooting that killed seven people and wounded dozens of others.

The walk will be held along the parade route and is one of several events that day, themed “We are Highland Park,” the city announced Wednesday.

“We know that the day will be filled with emotion as we mark the one-year remembrance of the Highland Park shooting,” Mayor Nancy Rotering said in a statement.

The events will “allow our community the time and space to remember the seven individuals who were taken from us too soon, opportunities to gather and connect, and provide us with the chance to celebrate Independence Day together as we create new traditions and memories,” Rotering said.

The day will begin at 10 a.m. with a remembrance ceremony at City Hall, along with a performance by the Highland Park Strings, remarks by Rotering and clergy, and a moment of silence.

The community walk begins at 11 a.m. along the 2022 parade route. Stepping off at City Hall, the route goes north on St. Johns Avenue, turns west on Central Avenue and ends at Sunset Woods Park. The walk will not have floats, performers or spectators.

Details about the walk and registration will be available later in the spring at: http://cityhpil.com/july4.

At 11:30 a.m., a picnic will be held at Sunset Woods Park with live performances, food and family-friendly games.

In the evening, Wolters Field will feature music performances, ice cream and a drone show. Fireworks have been canceled out of consideration of noise.

The Bitter Jester Music Festival, usually held ahead of the fireworks, will instead be part of the Taste of Highland Park weekend on June 25.

Organizers said the planning process was informed by feedback from victims’ families and people who were injured, as well as from input from community members, elected officials and staff, many of whom attended the parade.

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