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Organizers of Chicago festivals, events go all out to keep people safe

Chicago summer festival organizers go all out to ensure safety for all
Chicago summer festival organizers go all out to ensure safety for all 01:50

CHICAGO (CBS) -- Organizers of festivals in every part of Chicago are trying to keep everyone safe this summer.

The Puerto Rican Festival, or Fiestas Patronales Puertorriqueñas, began Thursday in Humboldt Park. Music boomed within the festival grounds, but getting in to see it required waiting in a security line.

Organizers prioritized safety—with a fence around the perimeter and bag checks at the entrance.

"One of the biggest things that we are focusing on - and have been focusing on for the last couple of years—is making sure this is completely family-friendly. That's a priority. Safety is a priority," said Puerto Rican Fest host Mike Oquendo. "So everything - every decision that's made - is made with that in mind."

Organizers say 2,000 people preregistered to enter the festival grounds on Thursday. They expect attendance to grow throughout the four-day festival.

Safety concerns at Chicago area events are not merely theoretical. Last weekend, the Posen Park Fest carnival was cut short Saturday evening after a large fight.

A fight broke out around 6 p.m. Sunday at the festival and carnival and continued for almost two hours. Police made several arrests in connection to the incident and shut down the carnival due to safety concerns.

But back in Humboldt Park, the show will go on, and the festival will adapt to whatever organizers face.

"The festival in the last couple of years post-pandemic has gone—Like other festivals in the city, like other festivals in the country – has gone through some challenges, and the community has worked through that," said Oquendo.

Navy Pier fireworks on July 3, 6 among major summer events

Meanwhile, the city acknowledged it will not hold a fireworks show on Lake Michigan on the Fourth, instead deferring to Navy Pier's regularly scheduled fireworks shows on Wednesdays and Saturdays. This is not a departure from the norm of recent years—the city has not held a fireworks show since 2010, and Navy Pier fireworks shows have been the only option since then.

The city once hosted a July 3 fireworks extravaganza the night before the 4th as part of the Taste of Chicago in Grant Park. However, this fireworks show has not been held since 2009, when Richard M. Daley was still mayor.

Today, even the Taste of Chicago itself is now held in September.

In 2008, a man was killed, and several others were injured as patrons flooded into the Loop from Grant Park after the July 3 fireworks show and gunshots rang out. The shooting caused mass hysteria in the streets of the Loop and prompted more stringent security measures at the Taste the following year.

The Taste of Chicago was still held over the July 4th weekend in 2010, but there was no July 3 fireworks show that year. It was replaced with three smaller shows—at Navy Pier, 63rd Street Beach on the South Side, and Montrose Beach on the North Side—but this plan only happened once.

Since 2011, the Navy Pier fireworks shows have been the only ones for the 4th. The Navy Pier fireworks shows have been held on July 4th in past years, but not in some time.

Last year, the Navy Pier fireworks show for Independence Day was on July 1, with no fireworks on the 4th. This year, the Navy Pier Independence Day fireworks show will be held on Wednesday, July 3.

There will also be fireworks at Navy Pier on Saturday, July 6.

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