Frequently Asked Questions about the 4th of July Celebration 2019
Brochure with a full schedule of events

1. How much does it cost to get in?
Free Admission, Free Parking, Free Entertainment, Free Fun! There are fees associated with the family midway, food vendors, other miscellaneous retail outlets and our beverage tents. Although it is FREE to park and get into the festival, retail sales help to support the entertainment and overall festival budget. (See #2)

2. What can we bring on base? What does “No Carry- Ins mean?
Not Allowed: fireworks, weapons, grills, coolers, backpacks, large bags or pets. Also, no outside food or beverages are permitted unless guests have dietary restrictions, or small children. Food/beverages can be brought in for these guests, but only in appropriate amounts. Any medications must have a prescription or in a labeled prescription bottle. This includes any medicine using needles (Diabetic Insulin/Epipen, etc.).  Items allowed to bring in: blankets, lawn chairs, strollers, baby-related items, service animals and cameras (photo or video).

3. Can I bring my pet?
Please leave your pets at home, as they are not allowed on the festival grounds. However, true service animals may be brought on, if absolutely necessary (owner must show certified documentation).

4. How do we get there? Can you give me directions?
If driving and you use a GPS or an electronic mapping program, the address to type in is as follows: 601 D Street, Great Lakes, 60088. Once you arrive at Gate 3, Security will direct you to a parking spot. The Metra Station (Great Lakes stop) is less than one mile from Gate 1 where all walk-in guests are allowed to enter. 

5. What gates will be open for the general public and which ones will be open for ID card holders?
All walk-in guests will enter through Gate 1. Gate 3 will open at 2pm on July 4th (festival will start at 3pm) for the general public driving on base. Gates 1 and 5 will be open to base personnel with authorized government ID’s all throughout the day. Gates for inbound traffic will close at 8pm.

6. Will we be searched at the gate?
All general public vehicles may be searched when entering at the gate. All drivers must have a valid driver’s license, vehicle registration and proof of vehicle insurance. All adults in the vehicle should be prepared to show a valid ID card. Participants walking through the gate will also be required to show an ID card, and will not be allowed to bring in back packs or coolers (see question #35 for all acceptable forms of identification).

7. Will we be able to explore the whole base, or do we have to stay on Ross Field?
The general public will be asked to remain on the festival grounds and the surrounding parking and activity areas (Ross Theater, Bldg. 4, etc.).

8. Where do we park?
Parking is available on the base. When you enter through the gate, you will be directed by Security to an available parking area. Lots and routes will be marked.

9. Will there be a shuttle service to take us from the base parking areas, or Metra Station to the festival grounds?
There will be NO shuttle service from the parking areas to the festival grounds. There will also be NO shuttle service from the Metra Station. However, the Metra Station is less than a mile from Gate 1 and using the Metra (mass transit) to come to the festival is a good, all-around idea. 

10. Is there handicapped access? 
Yes, some handicap parking will be available near the festival grounds. Those with this need should be prepared to show their decal at the gate upon entering the base. Security personnel will direct you to the appropriate location. Some walking will be required. Please note: The festival field grounds are mostly grass with little to no pavement.

11. How much will concessions cost and what types of food will be available? Expect the same range and cost of typical festival/fair concessions. There will be a wide variety of festival food that may include burgers, hot dogs, brats, Polish sausage, corn dogs, orange chicken, ribs, barbecue sandwiches, pizza, corn on the cob, funnel cakes and shaved ice. Prices will range from $3.00 to $10.00 for most offerings. There will be 20 oz. bottled Pepsi products, bottled water, Gatorade and energy drinks. Beer and flavored malt beverages will also be available for purchase in the range of $5.00 to $7.00 for a 16 oz. serving. (mandatory ID checks on all purchases).

12. Will the food be safe to eat?
The food is definitely safe. The Navy requires that all vendors be state certified in sanitation, and that their vendor booths and food items are inspected prior to the festival opening (all vendors have provided proof of a current Lake County Food Service Sanitation Certification). In addition, vendors must maintain a sanitary work environment, an approved sanitation wash station and show proper cooking techniques for their product. Finally, there is a Navy Preventative Medicine Representative that will inspect all vendors of the festival. Also, the MWR Department will provide refrigeration for vendor foods prior to cooking.

13. Will there be ATMs on site? Is the festival cash only? Can I use my credit card to buy things on the field?
We are planning to have an ATM on the field. However, guests are encouraged to plan ahead by bringing cash. Some areas on the field will only accept cash.

14. Are restrooms available?
Port O’ Potties and hand washing stations will be dispersed across the festival grounds. ADA restrooms will also be available. There will additionally be two facilities with indoor restrooms near the field.

15. Are baby changing stations available?
The indoor bathrooms located in Ross Theater on the festival grounds have baby changing stations in both the men’s and women’s restrooms.

16. Will there be child care available?
No, children under the age of 16 must be supervised by an adult at all times.

17. How much do the kid’s activities cost?
The event this year will feature an all-new, family friendly midway. All activities including a 32’ rock wall, and a paintball arena will be ticketed admission. Ticket prices are as follows: 10 tickets - $10.00, 20 tickets - $19.00 and 40 tickets - $37.00. The Kids Zone located inside the gymnasium is a free play area for preschool age children and is offered complimentary. The family entertainment stage and roving/costumed characters are also free, and located nearby.

18. I want to be a food vendor - Is it possible?
It might be too late for this year, but contact Mr. Barry East at 847-688-4641, ext. 127, for details and information for next year.

19. I’d like to be a sponsor!
I’d like to advertise my company on the field. Contact our Sponsorship and Advertising Coordinator via email at sponsorship@mwrgl.com for further details. Go to the following link: http://www.navymwrgreatlakes.com/-4th-of-july-/sponsorship-opportunities to view our page and brochure, and learn about the variety of sponsorship and advertising opportunities available.

20. When are the different events taking place?
There will be live bands on the main stage all throughout the event. There is also a family entertainment stage with a variety of shows, etc. In addition, festival fun can be had at the Bingo Area, Family Friendly Midway, Paintball Arena, Indoor Rock Wall and the Kids Zone. For up to the minute information, please follow the festival on Facebook: www.facebook.com/GreatLakes4thofJuly

21. What happens if it rains?
In case of inclement weather, most events will continue, some with delays. For weather updates throughout the festival, call 847-688-2110, ext. 484, as well as following Facebook: www.facebook.com/GreatLakes4thofJuly

22. What is needed to get a motorcycle on base for the 4th event: helmet, jacket, insurance? What is needed to ride a bicycle on the base?

Motorcycle: all riders should show a valid driver’s license with a current registration and insurance, and proof of motorcycle training/endorsement. All riders coming onto the base must wear the required personal protective equipment to include gloves, over the ankle footwear, long pants, a long sleeved shirt, eye protection, an approved DOT helmet and a brightly colored/reflective upper garment.

Bicycle: If riding at night, a white light lamp on the front of the bike, a red lamp or reflector on the back of the bike, and side reflectors are required. Bicycles should not carry more than the number of persons they were designed to carry, and should not be attached to another moving vehicle as a means of propulsion.

23. What time do the fireworks start?  The fireworks extravaganza begins approximately at 9:30pm on July 4th. However, space on the field fills up quickly, and therefore, festival attendees are encouraged to arrive early. Due to gate traffic and back-ups, it is strongly suggested to be here at least two hours before the fireworks begin. General public parking (Gate 3) will close at 8p.m. each night (again, strongly encourage early arrival).

24. Can I take picture/video on base?
Digital video/photography can be taken on the festival grounds of activities. However, some restrictions apply.

25. I have base access, and would like to know what facilities are open for normal business during the festival? Where can I work out? Where can I eat? Due to the efforts of running this large event, limited MWR facilities will be open on July 4th. For a full list of MWR facilities that will be available for military personnel, please view the MWR website here.

26. Can we get autographs from the band? Is there a “meet and greet?”
Some bands may offer a “meet and greet” session after their performance. However, these will be limited in size and scope. It will vary from band to band. Attendees should check with event staff on site for further details.

27. My child has a peanut allergy. Can we bring our own food?
Those with special dietary restrictions, appropriate portions of food may be brought into the festival for that specific individual. No coolers or back packs full of food will be allowed.

28. Can we smoke?
There will be NO smoking allowed on the festival grounds (Ross Field), or inside any of the buildings. There are two designated smoking areas on site, located nearby (see festival map for designated smoking areas).

29. Do you have chairs we can use?
Attendees should plan on bringing their own blankets or chairs, as this is a mostly grass field. Seating will not be provided.

30. Will there be alcohol served at the event?
Yes, however, this is a family friendly event, and we encourage everyone to use alcohol responsibly. ID’s will be checked for each purchase (please have them ready). Note: Alcohol sales will stop approximately 30 minutes before the end of the night.

31. What is the Rock White and Blue Zone?
The Rock White and Blue Zone is a secure and exclusive area around the main stage. The cost for access to this area is $30 per person, while supplies last. Attendees of this area will receive a custom festival T-shirt, a 2-day free admission for the Outside Experience Show (July 13-14 at McCormick Place), a concert ID and lanyard, and access to a private beverage station/bathrooms. Exclusive VIP access passes to this area will be available for purchase through our web site. Though, supplies are very limited and will sell out quickly. Click here to get your VIP access today! Festival-goers may also get these passes for free via promotions with MWR (for base personnel) and WIIL ROCK 95.1 FM (for the general public). This area provides front row access at the main stage from 3 to10pm.

32. What is the Restricted Area/Special Seating?
This is a special seating area to view the fireworks, which is designated for sponsors, and their employees/guests, who have helped MWR produce this amazing event. The area is also open to invited guests from around the base and special guests from the local community. This area opens at 8p.m. each night.

33. How should I expect to exit the base after the fireworks show?
For those DoD attendees who have CAC cards, they will exit out Gate 1 and 5 after the event.

For the general public, security personnel will be on hand to help direct foot traffic back to the parking areas, and to direct vehicle traffic out of Gate 3. Traffic will flow off the base onto Sheridan Road. Security personnel will be as efficient as possible in helping vehicle traffic exit from the base. However, expect some wait time, similar to the exit process and timeframe at a typical large special event/stadium.

We do encourage people to stick around after the fireworks. Generally, some of the food vendors stay open for approximately 20 minutes after the fireworks for convenience.

34. How can I provide feedback on the festival/event?
Go to the District 5 (VFW) tent available on the field during the event. They will have the survey available to take. In addition, festival-goers may go directly to the survey at www.mwrgl.com or www.facebook.com/GreatLakes4thofJuly. The survey will stay active for 30 days after the event. Please let us know what you think of the event!

35. LIST OF ACCEPTABLE DOCUMENTS THAT ESTABLISH IDENTITY- All documents must not be expired. All guests are required to have one of the below documents on their person.

1. U.S. Passport or U.S. Passport Card.

2. Permanent Resident Card or Alien Registration Receipt Card (Form I-551).

3. Foreign passport that contains a temporary I-551 stamp or temporary I-551 printed notation on a machine-readable immigrant visa.

4. Employment Authorization Document that contains a photograph (Form I-766).

5. For a nonimmigrant alien authorized to work for a specific employer because of his or her status:

a. Foreign Passport; and

b. Form I-94 or Form I-94A that has the


(1) The same name as the passport; and

(2) An endorsement of the alien's nonimmigrant status as long as that period of endorsement has not yet expired and the proposed employment is not in conflict with and restrictions or limitations identified on form.

6. Passport from the Federal States of Micronesia (FSM) or the Republic of the Marshal Islands

(RM) with Form I-94 or Form I-94A indicating nonimmigrant admission under the Compact of Free Association between the United Stated and FSM or RM.

7. Driver's license or ID card issued by a State or outlying possession of the United States provided it contains a photograph or information such as name, date of birth, gender, height, eye color, and address.

8. ID card issued by federal, state or local government agencies or entities, provided it contains a photograph or information such as name, date of birth, gender, height, eye color, and address.

9. School ID card with a photograph.

10. U.S. Military card or draft record.

11. Military dependent's ID card.

12. U.S. Coast Guard Merchant Mariner Card.

13. Native American tribal document.

14. Driver's license issued by a Canadian government authority.