CHICAGO (CBS) — A sunny morning made the perfect start for the July 4th weekend; and an ideal day for parades, picnics, and barbecues before the night’s fireworks.

CBS 2’s Vince Gerasole reports one of the earliest celebrations started at 10 a.m. in Arlington Heights, where neighbors, veterans, and politicians alike came together to show their patriotic spirit.

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“When we know we’re going to do this, we just get all up. The adrenaline’s going. We really look forward to it, we really do,” said Nick Paglia, of Rolling Meadows.

The two men running for governor of Illinois crossed paths as they shook hands with Independence Day revelers in Arlington Heights.

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“Today’s a day of celebration. We’re lucky to have a democracy. It’s a God-given gift. It’s government of the people,” Gov. Pat Quinn said.

Republican challenger Bruce Rauner said he was happy to celebrate the birthday of “the greatest nation in the history of the world.”

“Freedom, opportunity, the American dream, a higher-quality life for families generation after generation; it’s great to be here,” he said.

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Parades like the one in Arlington Heights are a great opportunity for politicians to press the flesh with voters ahead of an election. Quinn and Rauner both were attending several July 4th events across the state, and for the most part were putting aside political messages to concentrate on the holiday.