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Milwaukee lakefront fireworks are back July 3

Many people will go to great lengths to watch fireworks. Maybe it’s because of tradition. Maybe they’re genuinely awed by the pyrotechnics. Maybe it’s because they have children who will beg and beg and beg until they relent.

Whatever your reason might be, the Milwaukee County Parks will once again give you the opportunity to gather with literally tens of thousands of your fellow appreciators of colorful things that go BOOM at the lakefront for this year’s Independence Day eve fireworks July 3. The event is presented by American Family Insurance, J&M Displays, the Milwaukee Parks Foundation and T&M Partners

"Our Parks System is a hidden gem that we’re lucky to have to have in Milwaukee County,” Milwaukee County Executive David Crowley said in a release, “and I look forward to seeing families throughout the county, and visitors from all over the region, fill Veterans Park to take part in this annual summer celebration.”

The display has lit up the skies over the lake for more than 50 years and will do so again for approximately 45 minutes, beginning around 9:30 p.m. But that’s only part of the fun, of course. For many people, it’s a daylong event — almost literally. This year, the parking lots near the lakefront will open for business at 6 a.m. All of them are accessible from Lincoln Memorial Drive, operate on a first-come-first-served basis and do not offer in-and-out privileges.

Once you’re there, you’ll be able to enjoy the various amenities offered along the lakefront, including the handful of areas within relatively easy walking distance that are part of the Milwaukee County Parks system: Veterans Park, McKinley Park, Lake Park and Bradford Beach.

"We are excited to see the fireworks bring the community into parks again this year,” Milwaukee Parks Foundation executive director Rebecca Stoner said in the release. “We hope this opportunity inspires residents to visit their parks, and enjoy year-round events and programming.”

There will also be a Fireworks Kite Festival in Veterans Park from 11 a.m. until 7 p.m., during which you can check out the giant kites flying over the grounds, get a free lesson or pick up your own at the Gift of Wings store. If kites aren’t your thing, other vendors will be on hand offering food and beverages for those who didn’t bring their own or people like me who pack cold sandwiches, which are boring. If you’re interested in being one of those vendors, you can email the county’s Special Events team.

In addition, organizers are looking for good-hearted people to tidy things up along the lakefront before and after the fireworks display. You can register to lend a helping hand on the Milwaukee County Parks sign-up page.