Milwaukee’s July 3 fireworks show canceled due to COVID-19

Sponsors discussing plans for 2021 and beyond

The annual July 3 fireworks show on Milwaukee’s lakefront is the latest major local event that has been nixed this year as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

Presenting sponsors American Family Insurance, philanthropist Ted Kellner’s holding company T&M Partners, the Milwaukee Brewers and Milwaukee County Parks announced Monday morning that the event is canceled and will not be rescheduled. 

The 45-minute fireworks show costs about $350,000 to put on. The annual event has drawn tens of thousands of visitors annually to Milwaukee’s lakefront for an early Independence Day celebration.

Madison-based American Family said it will instead make a donation to the newly established Milwaukee Parks Foundation

“We’re obviously disappointed for the many Wisconsin residents who have made the lakefront fireworks an Independence Day tradition,” Judd Schemmel, American Family’s associate vice president of community investment and partnerships said in a statement. “However, the continuing uncertainty of the pandemic and concern for the health and safety of participants made it the right decision.” 

The sponsors will continue to discuss plans for the 2021 event and beyond, according to the announcement. 

American Family, T&M Partners and the Brewers took over sponsorship in 2019, saving the event from risk of being canceled without a sponsor. U.S. Bank and its predecessor First Wisconsin had previously backed the fireworks display for nearly 40 years. In 2018, U.S. Bank announced that the 2018 event would be its last.

Milwaukee County Parks executive director Guy Smith said he agrees with the decision to cancel this year’s show.  

“We look forward to seeing the display return even bigger and better in 2021,” said Smith.
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Maredithe Meyer
Maredithe has covered retail, restaurants, entertainment and tourism since 2018. Her duties as associate editor include copy editing, page proofing and managing work flow. Meyer earned a degree in journalism from Marquette University and still enjoys attending men’s basketball games to cheer on the Golden Eagles. Also in her free time, Meyer coaches high school field hockey and loves trying out new restaurants in Milwaukee.

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