Jacksonville, IL: Celebrating the Fourth of July

fireworks© Jupiterimages/Comstock/Thinkstock
In 2011, residents of more than 50% of the cities, towns and villages in the U.S. cast their votes in the inaugural Reader’s Digest We Hear You America campaign. The top 20 vote-getting towns received grants that allowed them to kick off (or complete) projects to make their communities even better places to live. This is one of those towns.

Want to help your town get the support it deserves? Vote in the 2012 We Hear You America campaign now!

If you happened to be in Jacksonville in early July, you would have experienced a celebration that hadn’t happened in years. Over four days around Independence Day, townspeople flocked to Nickles Park for carnival rides, eating contests, charity runs and food vendors, culminating with a massive fireworks display over the lake.

The revival of this Fourth of July tradition was possible because of the grant the town received from the We Hear You America campaign. “Without the money, [this event] wouldn’t have happened,” said mayor Andy Ezard. “The town actually collected enough money from vendors to do it again next year. We hope it will be sustained for years and forever.”

The campaign also was a big boost to community spirit. It was the “talk of the town for months,” explained Ezard, as people worked to round up votes. The town had been going through tough economic times, but Jacksonville continued to push forward. “We’re a giving community; when things aren’t going right, people just step up,” said Ezard. A local water disaster in June kept the town of Jacksonville with no water for weeks, so “this July celebration got everyone’s mind off the problem. It was pretty neat to watch it all happen.”

Become more interesting every week!

Get our Read Up newsletter

how we use your e-mail

Some people like to travel by train because 
it combines the slowness of a car with the cramped public exposure of 
an airplane.

Dennis Miller

I think my pilot was a little inexperienced. We were sitting on the runway, and he said, “OK, folks, we’re gonna be taking off in a just few—whoa! Here we go.”

Kevin Nealon

“I can’t wait until your vacation is over.” 
—Everyone following you on Instagram


A man knocked on my door and asked for a donation toward the local swimming pool. So I gave him a glass of water.

Comedian Greg Davies

Funny Jokes

Just found the worst page in the entire dictionary. What I saw was disgraceful, disgusting, dishonest, and disingenuous.


Funny Jokes

Client: We need you to log in to the YouTube and make all our company videos viral.

From clientsfromhell.net

Funny Jokes

My cat just walked up to the paper shredder and said, “Teach me 
everything you know.”


Funny Jokes

“Just because you can’t dance doesn’t mean you shouldn’t dance.” 

@yoyoha (Josh Hara)

Funny Jokes

My parents didn’t want to move to Florida, but they turned 60 and that’s the law.

—Jerry Seinfeld

Funny Jokes

Q: What do you call an Amish guy with his hand in a horse’s mouth?

A: A mechanic.