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Navy Pier to light up lakefront with 300-drone light show, free ice cream birthday party

Navy Pier turns 107 this year, and it plans to celebrate in style Saturday with a first-ever drone display ahead of its iconic weekly fireworks show.

The drone light show will illuminate the lakefront at about 9:45 p.m. on July 15, reps for the Chicago attraction said in a press release. The free show will precede its regularly scheduled fireworks display, taking place at 10 p.m.

The drone show theme? Ice cream. Guests can expect 10 minutes of ice-cream animations to celebrate National Ice Cream Month in July, National Ice Cream Day on July 16 and of course Navy Pier’s sweet b-day.

“Navy Pier’s 107th birthday promises ‘a pageant of progress’ pairing the ancient art of fireworks with a futuristic light show featuring choreographed drones,” said Navy Pier President and CEO Marilynn Gardner in a statement. “Who needs candles with a display like this?!”

Blue Bunny and Halo Top, sponsors of the show, will host a free ice cream social from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday in Polk Bros Park with treat-sized Bomb Pops, Blue Ribbon Classics, Halo Tops and Blue Bunny ice cream.

“Part of our culture is to give back to the communities that support us, and Chicago is certainly full of loyal ice cream enthusiasts who love our brands,” said Santhi Ramesh, chief commercial officer of Wells Enterprises, maker of Blue Bunny and Halo Top. “We’re excited to partner with Navy Pier to provide a free ice cream social as part of our promise that together we can create a world where everyone can feel joy every day.”

Navy Pier said 300 drones spinning at over 20,000 RPMs will create the drone light show, ending with a “scannable QR code large enough cover an entire city block, which will allow guests access to a special offer at Jewel/Osco just in time for National Ice Cream Day.”