The warm temperatures didn’t keep people indoors during Streator’s Fourth of July celebration.
Organizers estimated the crowds were around 15 percent higher than previous years and noted the national performing talent as a draw to those outside the community.
Co-chairman Rob Tyne also thinks the Walldogs celebration and Pluto Fest all in close proximity played nicely for all of the events.
“I think it was a win-win for Streator. One piggybacked off the other. I think it worked,” Tyne said.
Co-chairman Randy Dominic said the committee raised more than $100,000 for this year’s festivities, which led to national talent.
Dominic said one of the proudest moments of the night was when Joe Diffie took the stage Saturday night and asked how many people were from Streator and from out of town. He was surprised to learn the bigger cheer came from visitors.
Events had to be shifted to accommodate the national talent, Dominic said, as well as other local events such as the Walldogs auction on Saturday night, but he said that’s to be expected as the event and the attendance grows.
“We could go back to having a traditional small-town Fourth of July festival, but that’s exactly what it’s going to be: small,” Dominic said. “If you want the bigger quality event, we have to get a little flexible with the schedule.”
The fireworks were set for Tuesday night to keep it close to the national holiday and because it was expected many would have that day off and would not have to end the night early.
The organizers said they’ve received mostly positive feedback but have heard some criticisms about this year’s fireworks.
“Everybody that was down at the high school field thought it was one of the best shows they’d seen in a long time, including me,” Dominic said. “If you’re not down at the high school field, the viewing is limited.”
Both chairmen expressed gratitude for support from volunteers as well as those who purchased 50-50 and Auto Lotto tickets, which help the festival continue to grow and be self-sustaining. The celebration is not operated with city funds.
Tyne said before the celebration shifted to Northpoint Plaza he wouldn’t believe it would have grown to the size it currently is and Dominic agreed.
“When we started Northpoint three years ago, we weren’t attracting that many people from out of town, and Streator’s always kind of had this negative persona from the community, and we keep growing and attracting more and more people out of town,” Dominic said.
“And we’ve been incident free for three years,” he added with a firm knock on the table.
Labor Day celebration planned
Now the chairmen will head back to the table to begin planning next year’s festivities, but you can expect some fun to begin earlier than usual.
The committee is planning a golf outing in September as well as a Labor Day celebration outside of JACKpots, 110 E. Hickory St., with a smaller carnival for kids and local performers.
Proceeds will go towards the committee’s budget and next year’s Independence Day festivities.
“We’re looking to be back next year, bigger and better than ever,” Dominic said.
For more information or to volunteer, visit streators4th.org or fb.com/streator4thofjuly.