Graham Kilmer
MKE County

July 3 Fireworks Return!

After a two-year hiatus, fireworks return to Milwaukee's lakefront.

By - May 26th, 2022 09:34 pm


The July 3 fireworks hosted by Milwaukee County Parks will return to the lakefront for the first time since 2019.

“With the great support from our partners, I am excited for us to bring back this long-standing tradition to the lakefront,” said Milwaukee County Executive David Crowley in a statement announcing the event’s return. “We’re looking forward to a fun and safe atmosphere for all choose to join the festivities.”

The fireworks this year are being sponsored by American Family Insurance, the Kelben Foundation, Inc. and Town Bank, a Wintrust Community Bank, along with the county parks department.

In 2019, the return of the annual fireworks was cast into doubt when one of the longtime sponsors, U.S. Bank announced it would not continue supporting the event. It was saved that year when a partnership between the Milwaukee Brewers Foundation, American Family Insurance and T&M Partners sponsored the event.

The event was canceled in 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The event was canceled again in 2021. Parks officials said the department didn’t have enough seasonal workers to host the event. Though, the department continues to struggle with a shortage of seasonal workers to maintain the parks in the summer.

“The popular July 3rd fireworks have certainly been missed the last two years, and American Family Insurance is pleased to return as a co-presenting sponsor of this event,” said Ranell Washington, American Family Insurance partnership development advisor.

The Kelben Foundation is a new sponsor for the event. The non-profit is a family foundation that primarily provides funding for health and education programs, according to a description by Mary Kellner, president of the foundation. Her husband, Ted Kellner is the Chairman and CEO of T&M partners, a holding company, which sponsored the event in 2019. He said in a statement that the foundation is excited to be part of bringing back “the iconic fireworks to the Milwaukee lakefront for all residents of southeast Wisconsin to enjoy.”

The fireworks can be seen from just about anywhere on Milwaukee’s lakefront, but Veterans Park is the prime real estate, and the official destination for the fireworks. The county said that the event typically attracts approximately 100,000 people to the lakefront.

Parking in the lots along the lakefront will open at 6 a.m. on July 3. There are no “in-out privileges” the county says, so if you move your car you lose your spot. The fireworks begin at 9 p.m. and once the 45-minute show has finished. There’s no overnight parking, so the county asks that all vehicles leave the grounds after the fireworks conclude.

“Milwaukee County Parks welcome you and your family back to the lakefront for the fireworks display thanks to our event sponsors,” said Guy Smith, county parks executive director. “In partnership with the City of Milwaukee, Milwaukee County Sheriff’s Office, and United State Coast Guard onlookers can enjoy a safe, family-friendly celebration.”

The parks department is looking for volunteers to clean up the lakefront before and after the fireworks. If you’re interested in signing up, visit this website.

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