The City of Sheboygan has a long tradition of staging a premier July 4th festival for its residents and guests from all of Sheboygan County and beyond. This year the celebration has been named Freedom Fest to recognize two new signature sponsors – Plenco and Vollrath Company – in addition to continuing sponsorship from Festival Foods and Wisconsin Bank & Trust. The 2018 Independence Day celebration is sure to the best yet!
Discover Wisconsin, which is the longest-running travel TV show in the U.S., ranked Sheboygan at #3 in their list of the top 12 Wisconsin Cities with the best Fourth of July Celebrations. While patriotic celebrations can be found all across Wisconsin, a few cities do Independence Day particularly big. In Discover Wisconsin’s blog The Bobber, they stated, “Sheboygan’s Independence Day celebration is a can’t-miss event. With a beach volleyball tournament, parade, carnival, cardboard boat race, live performances, and, of course, fireworks, I’m pretty sure this city thought of everything when it comes to summer celebrations.”
Freedom Fest kicks off Tuesday, July 3rd at City Green with Mead Public Library Family Night from 5:00 to 7:00 pm featuring a performance by the North High Drum Line. Next is the Venetian Boat Parade in the Sheboygan River that starts shortly after dusk. In past years, as many as 40 lighted and decorated boats have motored from the Sheboygan Yacht Club to the 8th Street Bridge and back along the Sheboygan River. A viewing party will be hosted by Anglers Avenue on South Pier with live music by the Hot Shot Band followed by Beer Belly Idols.
The Independence Day activities begin at 7:30 am Wednesday, July 4th at the Sheboygan YMCA with the Coulis Cardiology Freedom Run. If the beach is more your style, check out the King of the Beach Co-Ed 4’s Volleyball Tournament at Deland Park Beach. The tournament starts at 8:00 am and features three skill levels with prizes to the top teams in all divisions.
The Freedom Fest Parade sponsored by Wisconsin Bank & Trust will entertain all ages! It commences promptly at 9:00 am starting at N. 8th Street and Center Avenue, it goes north on 8th Street, east on Michigan Avenue, and south on Broughton Drive. Seating along the parade route can only be reserved after 5:00 am on the day of the parade.
At noon, make your way to Rotary Riverview Park to watch the SEAS Castaway Challenge presented by the Sailing Education Association of Sheboygan. Using recycled materials to create a boat, participants compete in the Open division or the Drifter division to race around the buoy course in the Sheboygan River. Day-of registration for the Drifter division is available on a first come, first served basis beginning at 11:00 am. The design or paddling skills don’t have to be pretty, because it’s about the fun; there’s even an award for the Best Sinking!
Freedom Fest in Deland Park is sponsored by Plenco and Vollrath Company and has entertainment, food vendors, and beverage service from noon to 11:00 pm. Live music starts at noon with Slater Grae Trio, at 2:30 pm is Urban Royalty, at 5:00 pm is Bare Bones Blind, and closing out the evening at 7:30 pm is Fine Line.
Meanwhile, in Fountain Park, the Sheboygan Theatre Company is hosting a brat fry fundraiser and will also present a full concert at 1:00 pm that includes Broadway tunes and patriotic songs to celebrate America’s independence. The Farmers Market in Fountain Park will be open from 8:00 am to 2:00 pm.
Over on South Pier you can enjoy live music, concessions, and kids activities at Anglers Avenue. Music starts at 1:00 pm with Aaron Schwoerer, at 3:30 pm the El Dorados will perform, and at 6:30 pm Cold Soda Club will play.
The July 4th festivities come to a close with everyone’s favorite – the Festival Foods Fireworks Show. Sponsored by Festival Foods, the fireworks will launch from the South Pier at approximately 9:30 pm.
Be sure to celebrate responsibly and to follow the guidelines for fire control, fireworks, alcohol possession and consumption, beach excavation, boats, bikes, etc. Go to visitsheboygan.com/4thofjuly to view the guidelines as well as the full list of Freedom Fest activities.
We are all privileged to be Americans and as such remember the Continental Congress as they approved and signed the Declaration of Independence. This act, and the fight for independence that followed, guaranteed us the opportunity to achieve our founders’ desire for life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. It is in this patriotic spirit that we celebrate Freedom Fest. I offer my thanks to our sponsors, participants, and volunteers for making our Sheboygan celebration possible.