Milwaukee’s July 3 fireworks have been canceled for 2021. They “should return in 2022,” however, with financial support from American Family Insurance.

So why the 2021 cancelation? Milwaukee County Parks explains:

“Our team at Milwaukee County Parks is working tirelessly to ensure that people can safely enjoy parks, trails and amenities as much as possible this summer, but we are still stretched thin,” says Guy Smith, Milwaukee County Parks Executive Director, in a press release. “Cancelling this event was a difficult decision that we’ve been discussing for months with everyone involved, and we also looked at the possibility of postponing the event until the fall, but it comes down to simply lacking the resources and staffing needed to prepare and clean-up from such a large-scale event.”

A press release goes on to note that “it’s no secret that Milwaukee County has been facing financial, staffing, and service level reductions for years. Despite the lessening of COVID-19 restrictions, the department continues to struggle to recruit and hire seasonal staff, which is preventing a return to pre-pandemic Parks service levels.”

Sigh. Here’s the full press release from Milwaukee County Parks:


July 3rd Lakefront Fireworks Display Off for 2021, Plans To Return in 2022

MILWAUKEE, WI – Milwaukee’s July 3 firework display, which attracts over 100,000 people to Milwaukee’s lakefront each year, is cancelled for 2021 but should return in 2022.

The July 3rd display, sponsored in 2019 by American Family Insurance, Milwaukee Brewers Foundation and T&M Partners, has been a Milwaukee mainstay for over 50 years, where thousands of people traditionally take the opportunity to enjoy a full day of outdoor picnicking and festivities in Veterans Park before the display.

“Our team at Milwaukee County Parks is working tirelessly to ensure that people can safely enjoy parks, trails and amenities as much as possible this summer, but we are still stretched thin.” says Guy Smith, Milwaukee County Parks Executive Director. “Cancelling this event was a difficult decision that we’ve been discussing for months with everyone involved, and we also looked at the possibility of postponing the event until the fall, but it comes down to simply lacking the resources and staffing needed to prepare and clean-up from such a largescale event.”

It’s no secret that Milwaukee County has been facing financial, staffing, and service level reductions for years. Despite the lessening of COVID-19 restrictions, the department continues to struggle to recruit and hire seasonal staff, which is preventing a return to pre-pandemic Parks service levels.

Parks is not alone in its struggle to bring on seasonal workers. The impact is not felt until tough decisions, like cancelling the July 3rd fireworks, must be made. Parks’ ability to offer summer recreation opportunities and maintain service levels is directly dependent on seasonal hires.

Seasonal staff shortages are impacting Parks maintenance, lifeguarding, concessions, and beyond. If you are interested in seasonal employment opportunities, visit c for more information.

American Family Insurance has committed to supporting the event again in 2022.

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Matt Wild weighs between 140 and 145 pounds. He lives on Milwaukee's east side.

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