Hot as a firecracker!
Record-high heat of 100 degrees didn’t seem to keep many Sauk Valley residents at home this Fourth of July.
Prophetstown State Park was packed during the town’s annual Fourth of July celebration, which featured an all-day 3-on-3 basketball tournament, a horseshoe tournament, kids races, a performance by thew rock band Kizmaz and fireworks.
Throughout the day, ‘80s hairband music blared through speakers as basketball players stomped up and down the small court.
Organizer Chrissy Howard said 120 teams signed up to play, which is a pretty typical number.
To keep cool, many attendees set up tailgating tents in the shade and drank water and sports drinks.
Others walked down to the Rock River to dip their feet or catch the cool breeze that skimmed across the water.
They also took advantage of two misting stations to cool off as the hot summer sun beat down.
“It was warm this year, but it was nothing like this,” Howard said.
The day before, Howard considered cancelling the event because of the heat. Wednesday, organizers wanted to cut the play time from 20 to 15 minutes, but players refused, she said.
Two misting stations and EMTs who made periodic announcements reminding players to hydrate helped keep everyone safe.
This was the first year Polo High School sophomore Hannah Grobe, 14, played in the tournament.
“I thought I was going to roast, but it wasn’t that hot ... at least right now,” she said.
In Dixon, a steady stream of people strolled Page Park during second day of the 48th annual Petunia Festival.
Festivalgoers braved the heat to ride carnival rides, listen to live bands, and try their luck at the festival’s sixth annual beanbag tournament.
Festival board president Jenna Albert said the heat didn’t seem to deter people. There were many tents set up to keep folks cool while they ate carnival food and watched the bags tournament and musical acts.
First aid stations are available in case anyone is overcome, Albert said.
Tracy Kanzler, 44, of Dixon, took her son, Justin, 6, to the carnival. As Justin rode the “Wacky House,” Kanzler kept cool by sipping lemonade from a large, plastic container, dubbed “The Tanker,” that was sold at a nearby stand.
Despite the heat, she didn’t even consider skipping the festival this year, Kanzler said.
“[Justin] likes it,” she said. “It’s not unbearable ... at least, not for me.”
In Sterling, Amazing Grace held its annual festival on Second Avenue, featuring four tempting inflatable water slides.
Kids weren’t the only users. “I saw a few adults go down the slide,” organizer Dan Pipes said with a chuckle.
The festival, in its third year, raises money the church uses to send bi-weekly care packages to soldiers serving overseas, Pipes said.
Wednesday’s attendance seemed a little higher than last year, he said.
“I’ve very pleased with the turnout,” Pipes said. “Without a doubt, this was definitely a new challenge for us this year.”
Aside from the water slides, the church also set up bounce houses and two misting stations, and sold cold drinks and food. Organizers had to run out several times to buy ice to keep up with the demand, he said.
The bounce houses eventually got a little too hot for the kids, and one person had to be taken to CGH Medical Center in Sterling because of the excessive heat.
Otherwise, the slides and misting stations seemed to keep people cool, he said.
“The heat definitely threw us for a loop, slightly more than last year.”
Organizers are considering nixing the bounce house next year in favor of more water slides, especially if next year’s celebration is as hot as Wednesday’s.
Jenny Parker, 29, of Sterling, brought sons Brenden, 6, and Hudsyn, 10 months, to Wednesday’s festival.
The slides and misting stations made the heat a little more bearable, she said.
“It’s a nice setup,” Parker said. “Too bad it’s too hot for the bounce house.”
Amazing Grace in Sterling sends care packages twice a month to the 1644th Transportation Company and others serving overseas.
If you would like to help, call 815-625-9300.
If you need to get in from the heat, here are some air-conditioned places to visit:
Pankhurst Memorial Library, 3 S. Jefferson Ave., Amboy; 1 to 7 p.m. Monday and Wednesday, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday, and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Friday and Saturday, closed Sunday; 815-857-3925.
Amboy Pharmacy, 202 E. Main St.; 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, closed Sunday; 815-857-2323.
Clipper Closet, 110 E. Main St., Amboy; 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, closed Sunday.
Dixon Public Library, 221 S. Hennepin Ave.; 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, closed Sunday; 815-284-7261.
Lee County Senior Citizens Center, 100 W. Second St., Dixon; 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday, closed Saturday and Sunday; 815-288-9236.
Mills & Petrie Memorial Library, 704 N. First St., Ashton; 1 to 6:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, closed Sunday; 815-453-2213.
Franklin Grove Library, 112 S. Elm St.; 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, closed Sunday; 815-456-2823.
Paw Paw Library, 362 Chicago Road; 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Thursday, 9 a.m. to noon Saturday, closed Sunday and Monday; 815-627-9396.
In Sterling/Rock Falls
Sterling Public Library, 102 W. Third St.; 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, closed Sunday; 815-625-1370.
Rock Falls Public Library, 1007 Seventh Ave.; 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, closed Sunday; 815-626-3958
Whiteside County Senior Center, 1207 W. Ninth St., Sterling; 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday; 815-622-9230. Open to anyone, regardless of age.
The Illinois Department of Public Aid office, 2605 Woodlawn Road, Sterling; 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.
The Coliseum, 212 Third Ave., Sterling; 24 hours a day until heat subsides.
The Sterling Fire Department main station, 110 W. Fifth St. and substation, 16th Avenue and Lynn Boulevard; as needed.
CGH Medical Center, 100 E. LeFevre Road, Sterling; as needed.
Morrison City Hall, 200 W. Main St., 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday through Friday.
Morrison Community Room, 307 S. Madison St., 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Wednesday through Friday.
Odell Public Library, 307 S. Madison St., 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday and Wednesday, 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday, 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. Friday and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday.
City1.com office, 218 W. Main St., during business hours.
Morrison Community Hospital, front lobby, 303 N. Jackson St., daily until 8 p.m.
Whiteside County Sheriff’s Office front lobby, 400 N. Cherry St., 24/7.
In Ogle County
Pinecrest Manor, 414 S. Wesley Ave., Mount Morris.
Byron Fire Department, 123 N. Franklin St., Byron.
Rock River Center senior center, 215 E. Washington, Oregon.
All public libraries.
Hate the heat? Sorry, there's no relief in sight, at least for the next few days.
In fact, an excessive heat warning is in effect until 7 a.m. Saturday. The forecast:
Today: Mostly sunny, high in the upper 90s with a heat index of 112. Low in the mid 70s with a heat index of 109 in the evening.
Friday: Mostly sunny, high in the upper 90s and a heat index of 114.
Friday night: Partly cloudy, 20 percent chance of rain. Low in the mid 70s with a heat index of 110.
Saturday: Mostly sunny with a high in the lower 90s. Low in the upper 60s.
Sunday: High in the mid 80s with a low in the mid 60s.