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Candlewick Lake offers American parade & spectacular fireworks. Candlewick Lake residents in Poplar Grove near Rockford, Illinois came out in force both to cheer on their annual Fourth of July parade and to donate more than $10,000 to fund a community-sponsored fireworks display that rivaled those of some big cities
By Ray Hanania
You just don’t know what it is like to live until you have a chance to settle along a lake or sit on a boat on a lake as fireworks explode in the sky above reflecting in red, white and blue on the waters below with a beautiful sunset kaleidoscoping in the horizon.
Candlewick Lake is a beautiful man-made two mile long body of water stocked with an abundance of fish and lined with a hundred homes along its shores, surrounded by hundreds of homes in a gated, secure community a few miles south of the Wisconsin border.
The people who live in the community there celebrate their blessings, honoring Americans who served their country and cheering on America’s birthday with gusto and true down-home patriotism.
I have never seen more enthusiasm for community spirit than at Candlewick.
The community commemorated the July 4th holiday on Saturday, July 2nd, starting with a parade of first responders, military servicemen, a few candidates and politicians seeking legislative and Boone county offices, and some Civil War enthusiasts dressing up for the occasion.
There is nothing like sitting back and enjoying the parade, especially watching the children scramble to grab candies tossed from the many parade vehicles, fire trucks, police cars from Candlewick, the county and the state, and the parade flats and trailers.
Of course, sometimes the candy is so good, you have to duck and dodge. The good candy can hurt when it hits you in the head. I say that laughingly, of course.
The parade began at 11:30 am at Savannah Oaks, the gated community’s private 9-hole golf course and wound around the lake past hundreds of residents who lined the street and filled their driveways with folding chairs, barbecues and tents.
It was so relaxing and fun.
But the evening is capped by a Candlewick Lake tradition, a massive fireworks display at the south end of the lake that started exactly at 9:11 pm. By then, residents of Candlewick, whether they live in spacious homes along the lake, or beautiful homes in the community with spacious manicured and lawns and gardens, had launched their boats from their home piers or from pier rentals in the lake filling the lake with an impressionable array of pontoon boats, speed boats, wave runners and canoes lighted in the mandatory Department of Natural Resources red lights (port side — I’m just showing off), green (starboard side), and white light above and stern.
Pontoon boats are the perfect choice for a very large family and community lake. Families crowd aboard and slowly make their way to positions int he water where they drop anchors and sit and enjoy both the kaleidoscope-like sunsets behind them and the perfectly performed music from a live band at the community center where barbecues and events entertained those who preferred to enjoy the show from land near the community public pool and beach.
The band, Power Trip, played amazing renditions of Led Zeppelin and some of the rock and roll’s greatest music hits. The music and sounds echoed across the spectacularly blue waters on a beautiful day with calm waters.
And the fireworks began exactly at 9:11 pm, probably intentionally to commemorate America’s remembrance of the nearly 3,000 Americans who were murdered by al-Qaeda terrorists only 15 years ago this Fall. This year will be a memorable marker in remembering the terrorism, and for Americans, remembering and commemorating is the strongest first step in destroying the terrorist scum that are seeking to destroy this world.
The fireworks show went on for almost 20 minutes and the organizers, funded by donations from residents, were not cheap. They looked better than displays you would see in some of the state’s biggest cities. Somehow, when a community donates to fund a public event, the quality of the show is far better than those funded through taxation and governments who sometimes have lost sight of what’s really important.
Happy 4th of July everyone.
Here are some more of the photos from this spectacular evening of fun and family enjoyment:
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Hanania loves to write about American Arabs in politics, and focuses on Arab life in America.
Currently, he writes weekly columns on Middle East and American Arab issues for the Arab News in Saudi Arabia at www.ArabNews.com. He writes on American politics for the Des Plaines Valley News, Southwest News-Herald, The Regional News newspaper and the Reporter Newspapers. He also writes for the online websites TheArabDailyNews.com and NewsAmericaNetwork.com (Illinois News Network at IllinoisNewsNetwork.com).
Palestinian, American Arab and Christian, Hanania’s parents originate from Jerusalem and Bethlehem. Hanania began in journalism as an activist publishing Chicago’s first English-language American Arab Newspaper “The Middle Eastern Voice” from 1975 through 1977. In 1976, he was hired by the Chicago community newspaper The Southtown Economist (Daily Southtown) and in 1985 was hired by the Chicago Sun-Times and covered Chicago City Hall for both. In 1993, he launched the “The Villager” Newspapers which covered 12 Southwest Chicagoland suburban regions. In 2004, he published “The National Arab American Times” monthly newspaper which was distributed through 12,500 Middle East ethnic food stores in 48 American States.
Hanania is the recipient of four (4) Chicago Headline Club “Peter Lisagor Awards” for Column writing. In November 2006, he was named “Best Ethnic American Columnist” by the New American Media;In 2009, he received the prestigious Sigma Delta Chi Award for Writing from the Society of Professional Journalists. He is the recipient of the MT Mehdi Courage in Journalism Award. Hanania has also received two (2) Chicago Stick-o-Type awards from the Chicago Newspaper Guild, and in 1990 was nominated by the Chicago Sun-Times for a Pulitzer Prize for his four-part series on the Palestinian Intifada.
Hanania’s writings have been published in newspapers around the world. Formerly syndicated by Creators Syndicate, Hanania also has written news, features and Opinion Columns for Al Jazeera English, the Jerusalem Post, YNetNews.com, Arab News, Saudi Gazette, Newsday in New York, the Orlando Sentinel, the Houston Chronicle, The Daily Star, the News of the World, the Daily Yomimuri in Tokyo, Chicago Magazine, the Arlington Heights Daily Herald, and Aramco Magazine. His political columns are published in the Southwest News-Herald and Des Plaines Valley News, Regional News and Palos Reporter newspapers in Chicagoland. Hanania is the President/CEO of Urban Strategies Group media and public affairs consulting which has clients in Illinois, Florida, Michigan and Washington D.C.
Hanania is Palestinian Christian from prominent Bethlehem and Jerusalem families. His wife and son are Jewish and he performs standup comedy lampooning Arab-Jewish relations, advocating for peace based on non-violence, mutual recognition and Two-States.
His Facebook Page is Facebook.com/rghanania
Email him at: RGHanania@gmail.com
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