Joe Marino Park. Dedicated in 2010. In honor of Joe Marino also known as Mr. 4th of July, the local man behind Rockford's annual 4th of July fireworks display.
Mr. 4th of July, the
local man behind Rockford's annual 4th of July fireworks display. Installed on
July 4, 2010
Funds raised by
private donations, 200 donors contributed approximately $38,000 for the statue,
Weight - 400 lbs
Artist – David
Seagraves of Elizabeth, IL
Statue Casting – In
Bronze, Mt. Morris, IL
A life-sized bronze
statue honoring Mr. Fourth of July, Joe Marino, was unveiled today Jul 04,
2010. Planning has been going on for several months, and Mr. Marino had no
idea. His family also surprised him and flew in from California. During today's
celebration, a remote controlled plane wowed the crowd with stunts in the air.
As the statue's new home, Waterside Park, which is located across the street
from the Register Star, was renamed Joe Marino Park.
Joe Marino was born and raised in Rockford,
IL. He served in the U.S. Navy during World War II in the South Pacific
on the Destroyer U.S.S. Henderson. After returning home Joe took an
interest in organizing community events, which Rockford had been lacking at the
In 1963, at the
request of Mayor Ben Schleicher, he created the Rockford 4th of July
Committee. With community donations Joe purchased fireworks and provided
Rockford with it's first downtown fireworks show. Today Rockford's
July 4th events entertain hundreds of thousands of people each year.
In 1989 Joe
organized the Holiday Festival of Lights, which enthralls carloads of Stateline
citizens with a one-mile loop thru
Rockford's historic Sinnissippi Park, adorned with colorful lighted
displays. The annually-changing displays are sponsored by local businesses
and community groups.
Joe continues to be
the Chairman of the Rockford 4th of July and Holiday Festival of Lights
Committees to this day, which are non-profit entities, solely supported by
private donations, not tax dollars.
Joe has received
numerous recognitions and awards including...
The Key to the City
Rockford Man of
the Year Award
Mr. 4th of July
District Distinguished Service Award
George Bush Excellence Award