Who would ever think that a small town Fourth of July celebration would be the best place to be? Last year we spent the holiday watching the fireworks go off over the Empire State Building. It was unforgettable, amazing, incredible, but the small town experience may be even better.
The Small Town Sense of Community
In a small town, where everyone knows everyone, it is easy to feel out of place. However, when you start talking to people they always make you feel welcome. Not only are you welcome, but their events are awesome because everyone gets involved.
We went to Sibley Illinois the day before the Fourth of July to find out about the fireworks display. A very nice lady told us all about the events they do every year, she even went out of her way to bring us a flyer. It gave a break down of all events with times and locations.
The events included:
- Fishing derby
- Softball game
- Old fashioned children’s games
- Frog jumping contest
- Tractor drive
- Face painting
- Bounce houses
- Model airplane show
- Live music
- And more
Our campsite was in Gibson City about 15 minutes away. Since we are not early risers, the breakfast and fishing derby got skipped. I was excited for the parade though!
A Small town Fourth of July Parade
Not everyone loves a parade, but I enjoy them. It was my first time watching a small town Fourth of July parade too. The nice lady we met the day before told us that it would last half an hour to 40 minutes, which is perfect in my opinion. Especially on a hot summer day.
It starts at 11:30 AM and heads down main street. Some of the participants include Boy Scouts, firetrucks, a school band, and my favorite is the children with their bikes all decorated for Fourth of July. The kids got candy, cold bottled water, and even ice pops. After the parade more events follow at the park.
Games and More in the Park
Right away the children's games begin at Lake Park. I'm sure your kids will want to play them all like mine. They will win small prizes like bubbles, stickers, one game even has coins. These games are things like bean bag toss, basketball, and dig in the sand to find a prize, everyone gets something just to play.
Once everyone arrives after the parade they start the old fashioned games. These include games like:
- Sack races
- Three legged races
- Wheelbarrow races
- Egg on a spoon competition
- Frog jumping contest
The older kids will have so much fun participating in these ones. It is great because all you have to do is show up and you can play. They even give out cash prizes to the first, second, and third place winners. Our youngest won first place in the frog jumping contest. Each round of games is divided up by age group.
You might be wondering what Knockerball is, I know I certainly was. This game consists of kids putting on a large inflatable ball basically and trying to knock each other down while wearing it. This is hilarious to watch and although my kids did not do well at this, they did it again and again.
Something for Everyone
This small town Fourth of July celebration provides all day entertainment for everyone. After the games end more fun begins. For the kids, bounce houses and face painting are available. My daughter had on her red, white and blue flag dress, so had to get her face painted with something patriotic. She chose the American flag to wear on her cheek.
If you aren't interested in face painting or bounce houses, don't worry they have events for you as well. In the park they set up tables where they hold rounds of bingo. This is available to all ages. It is $.25 to buy a card and cash prizes are given to the winners.
Not into bingo either? Well, maybe you will enjoy the model airplane show. We sure did. Several locals come with their planes, which they fly over the lake. It was really fun to watch them and they took time to answer questions about their hobby. My oldest son had plenty of them. You can tell they really enjoy it. Chris was happy to help one of them fix his plane too.
Small Town Fourth of July Entertainment and Fireworks Show
It's amazing how much entertainment Sibley Illinois fits into this day. After the games, bounce houses, bingo, and model airplanes finish, there is still more to entertain you while you wait for the main event, fireworks!
This year the Sweetwater Band played music starting at 6:30 PM. They played covers of some really great songs and even took requests if you had them. This is when people really start to show up. As the band plays the park fills up. If you don't want to show up until just before dark, don't worry there is plenty of room for everyone.
If you are looking for an amazing fireworks display, this is the small town Fourth of July experience you want to have. Not only do they provide an entire days worth of entertainment and events, they put on the best fireworks show you can hope to see.
They shoot them off right across a small lake. So you can get a great view from almost anywhere in the park or nearby neighborhood. Even though a lot of people come to the show, it doesn't feel overly crowded. Find a spot in the grass, sit back, and enjoy what just might be the best firework display in America!
Family Fun Small Town Fourth of July
We never even heard of Sibley Illinois before this, but we will never forget it now that we've been there. Traveling all over the country has opened our eyes to what a great country we live in. The small towns are what make it so great. People come together in small communities to do great things.
If you are ever in this area for Fourth of July you should definitely check out this small town. There is more going on here than I can go into in one article. I know that if you go you will have a great time. From the games to the entertainment to the fireworks, it's all fun. We had an amazing time. Thanks Sibley for letting us spend our nations birthday with you.