Tracks Merge Fireworks and Horse Racing on the Fourth

Friday's Firecracker Day Arlington Park schedule will have family activities beginning at 2 p.m., an hour before Arlington's regular Friday late post time of 3 p.m.

The family day activities on July 4 beginning at 2 p.m. include pony rides and a petting zoo and will continue until 6 p.m. The regular Miller Lite Party In The Park festivities will also be held. The Four Man Band will begin playing after Friday's first race in the Park area and play until 9 p.m., while face painters and a caricature artist will be on hand from 3-7 p.m. The Banjo Buddies Dixieland Trio and Soup Kitchen Quartet will begin playing at Arlington's entrances at 5 p.m. and then roam throughout the crowd until 8 p.m.

Following the races, Arlington Park television personality Christine Gabriel and Arlington Park announcer John G. Dooley will welcome guests to Arlington Park's Fourth of July Fireworks Spectacular presented by LaSalle Bank at 7:15 p.m., and t-shirts will be thrown to the crowd. A Dizzy Bat Race will be held on the track.

At 8 p.m. in the winner's circle, a pie-eating contest involving 10 persons will be held, followed by a game of musical chairs and a limbo contest at 9 p.m.

The 60-second countdown to Arlington Park's Fourth of July Fireworks Spectacular presented by LaSalle Bank will begin at 9:30 p.m.

Calder Race Course will offer the $100,000 Americana Handicap on the turf, "BBQ For A Buck," select food items at special $1 prices, and All-American Family Day activites, beginning at 11 a.m. when the gates open on Friday. Live racing begins at 12:25 p.m.

Grandstand Admission: $2; Clubhouse: $4; children 17 and under admitted free when accompanied by an adult.

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