Reporting Lisa Fielding
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EVANSTON, Ill. (CBS) — July 1 can only mean one thing on busy Central Street in Evanston — it’s time to bring out the lawn chairs, duct tape, blankets and beach towels.
“As soon as they know it’s OK, the chairs come flying out,” said Marcia Hartigan, owner of Hartigan’s Ice Cream Shop.
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Marking turf along the parade route is as much a blood sport in Evanston as snow dibs are in Chicago.
“The Fourth of July here is a big, big deal,” Hartigan said. “We usually have people 8 and 10 deep to watch the parade in front of our shop.”
Hartigan says parade goers set out just about everything to stake their claim.
“They duct tape it. They bring out their chairs and duct tape it to the cement, they’ll bring out crime tape, big x’s. They really stake their claim.” Hartigan said. “Up until about three years ago, people were literally putting out their chairs, roping off the area, putting down beach towels and beach towels sometimes two weeks ahead of time.”
But since then, the city has limited the dibs process to only three days before.
The Evanston Fourth of July Association, in accordance with city ordinance, allowed people to place lawn chairs along the parade route as of 6 a.m. on Sunday.
The parade begins at 2 p.m. Wednesday, and will follow a route along Central Street from Central Park Avenue east to Ashland Avenue and Ryan Field. As many as 140 entrants will be included in the annual march.
The Evanston parade is one of the largest and oldest in the state.