Five-year-old Henry Harder really wanted to go in the water at Clark Street Beach on Monday.

“100 on a scale of 100,” he told Evanston Now.

But when Henry, his big sister Mila, and their parents arrived, they found out there was no swimming allowed, there, or at any other Lake Michigan beach in Evanston, because of the danger of raw sewage overflow in the water, as a result of Sunday’s huge rainfall.

“We just wanted to spend a couple of hours at the beach, and spend some time in the water,” said Dana Harder.

“But we couldn’t, so we just packed up 45 minutes later” after sitting on the sand, which was allowed.

Clark Street Beach even closed to sand-sitters at 2 p.m., to allow crews to prepare the site for Tuesday night’s Fourth of July fireworks show. (Other beaches did remain open with no swimming).

Members of the crew from RKM Fireworks Company assembling their equipment near Clark Street Beach Monday afternoon.

This will be the first Evanston fireworks show since 2019. Two years of COVID-19, along with last year’s tragic mass shooting at the parade in nearby Highland Park, led to fireworks cancellation.

Michael Callahan, the city’s assistant director of parks and recreation, said, “We are planning to continue a past tradition” of a colorful fireworks display, which, he said, “has been a long time coming.”

However, Callhan noted that “you never know how an event like last year” in Highland Park will impact attendance.

“The same is true for the parade,” he added.

“You never know if it’s going to bounce back.”

In the meantime, after packing up at Clark Street beach, the Harder family went to find another sunny and sandy beach location, even if they couldn’t get in the water.

They could have gotten in with a boat or a jet ski.

The boat launch was open for those taking watercraft in, as Kyla Chenier and Vlad Berez were going to do with a jet ski.

Kyla Chenier and Vlad Berez at boat lauch site.

Kyla said she “tried to wade into the water up to my waist, but was told ‘no swimming.'”

However, taking a jet ski out into the lake was okay.

“We know what we signed up for,” said Vlad.

“We know what we came here for.”

And with perfect weather, and a $300 jet ski season pass already paid for, it was time to head in, trying not to get a mouthful of water.

Jeff Hirsh joined the Evanston Now reporting team in 2020 after a 40-year award-winning career as a broadcast journalist in Cincinnati, Ohio.

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1 Comment

  1. Are these people seriously complaining that they weren’t allowed in the water after they opened the Wilmette locks and the lake was filled with sewage? 🙄

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