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Lasers will light sky on 4th of July

May 21, 2019

KANKAKEE — The tradition of a July 4th celebration lighting up the sky above Kankakee Community College will once again be held this summer.

The show, however, will not feature explosions of light or thunderous booms.

Kankakee’s annual Fourth of July show this year will feature a 20 to 30 minute laser light display put on by Laser Encore, described on its website as a nationwide company.

The traditional fireworks show was typically less than 20 minutes.

The $12,000, one-year contract was approved by an 11-2 vote at Monday’s Kankakee City Council meeting. The only council members voting against the contract were Danita Grant Swanson, R-4, and Dave Crawford, R-3. Alderman Chris Curtis, R-3, was not at the meeting, nor was Mayor Chasity Wells-Armstrong.

Kankakee has been hosting a July 4 fireworks show for years. However, the cost has been increasing, and city comptroller Elizabeth Kubal said the celebration was in jeopardy because costs were expected to extend past the $20,000 range for the traditional fireworks show.

The fireworks display has long been the exclamation point for the summer holiday. It also has been a fundraiser for the Kankakee Valley Symphony Orchestra, which has put on a patriotic performance and collected money for parking fees from the thousands of people who have attended the annual show.

Instead, according to the memorandum of understanding approved Monday, the symphony will not charge an admission fee, but will be free to seek donations and sponsorships.

Alderman Carl Brown, D-7, who served as the fill-in mayor, said it will be a fireworks show without the fireworks. He said too many people look forward to the celebration to see it eliminated based on rising costs.

Laser Encore’s website claims there are no other lights like the lights from laser. It states the lights are the most vivid, saturated color palette available. It also stated the show excites crowds with visual effects, which move faster than any other light form.

“Today’s laser displays are creating visions that other only dream of,” the site stated.

Prior to her vote against the memorandum, Grant Swanson said she definitely was against this change.

Alderman Fred Tetter, D-7, said before objecting to the laser show, aldermen should view a show.

“It’s new technology. It’s at least something we should try,” he said.

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