Aurora has big July 4 plans for 225th anniversary

Born, or at least first settled, in 1799, the city of Aurora celebrates its 225th anniversary this year. Preparations are already underway, with T-shirts for sale on the city website.

Festivities ramp up on July 4 with a 5-K fun run and one-mile fun run at Bicentennial Park, East Pioneer Trail and Chillicothe Road. Registration is open on, but walk-in registration is available starting at 7 a.m.

The parade will step off at 11 a.m. from Barrington Town Square and Route 306 and proceed along West Pioneer Trail to Aurora High School.

Recognitions will be noted, with a special “Best 225th Birthday Celebration” entry added this year.

Grand Marshal is Tony Dockus, a distinguished community member and Vietnam War veteran. Dockus has lived in Aurora since 1976, is past president of the Aurora Kiwanis Club, past chair of the Aurora Fest and past board member of Catholic Charities.

He is a service officer for Aurora American Legion Post 803 and VFW Post 2629. He has worked to support veterans’ mental health and helped bring the Vietnam Travelling Memorial Wall to Aurora. He also helps veterans navigate the Veterans Administration and enjoys acting as a commercial hot air balloon pilot.

A festival set for noon to 3 p.m. at Kiwanis-Moore Park on West Pioneer Trail will include carnival concessions, food trucks, inflatables, face painting, balloon art and booths spotlighting local businesses and organizations.

Parade Grand Marshal Dockus will also be honored, and 225th birthday T-shirts will be available for sale while supplies last.

The birthday celebration will conclude at dusk with a fireworks display adjacent to Kiwanis-Moore Park, across from Fire Station 1.

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Wendy DiAlesandro is a former Record Publishing Co. reporter and contributing writer for The Portager.