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More Summer Festivities Fizzle: Pandemic concerns cancel Lakefront Fireworks and July 4th celebrations

Milwaukee County Parks announced on April 27 that the July 3 Lakefront Fireworks have been cancelled for 2020 because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, and the event will not be rescheduled this year.

In lieu of the fireworks celebration, American Family Insurance will 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,” said Judd Schemmel, American Family Insurance associate vice president of community investment and partnerships. “However, the continuing uncertainty of the pandemic and concern for the health and safety of participants made it the right decision. American Family looks forward to continuing our support of this iconic community event in 2021.”

The lakefront fireworks were nearly cancelled in 2019, when American Family Insurance, T&M Partners and the Brewers stepped up to fund the celebration. The partners continue to discuss plans for the 2021 event and beyond.

“We know this was a difficult decision for American Family Insurance and their partners, and we agree it’s the correct decision,” said Milwaukee County Parks Executive Director Guy Smith. “We look forward to seeing the display return even bigger and better in 2021.”

Many other Milwaukee events that occur in June and July have been either cancelled or postponed to late summer or early fall.

“This partnership has been a home run for Milwaukee. No one could have predicted the situation we’re in with COVID-19,” said County Executive Chris Abele. “To have American Family and others step up to the plate to show their commitment to Milwaukee is great. These short-term sacrifices are for the long-term safety of the community. We’ll come out of this better and stronger.”

In addition, the City of Milwaukee has postponed local activities for 2020. The Milwaukee July 4th celebrations take place at more than one dozen Milwaukee County Parks, where volunteers carry on a neighborhood tradition started in 1911.

“After 40 plus years of being involved in the 4th of July celebration this is a tough decision but the only right one,” Fourth of July Commission Chair, Cheryl Cieciwa said. “We are disappointed we will not be gathering with our friends and neighbors to celebrate the 4th this year, but we look forward to resuming this cherished Milwaukee tradition in 2021.”

© Photo

Lee Matz

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