Thousands set up camp at Milwaukee's Veteran Park for best view of the July 3 fireworks show

NOW: Thousands set up camp at Milwaukee’s Veteran Park for best view of the July 3 fireworks show

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- Milwaukee's lakefront managed to dodge clouds, rain, wildfire smoke and excessive heat to set the stage for an ideal summer day ahead of the July 3 fireworks display.

"Very thankful to be out here with family and friends," Gina, from Chicago, said.

She came with her sons Mason and Major and said she arrived early and prepared with essentials.

"Snacks, coolers, we got it all," she said.

Temperatures crept into the 80s for part of the day, but the lake breeze helped people enjoy the cloudless day.

"Past years it's been really hot and this year there's a nice breeze coming off the lake, so gotta enjoy it," Steven St. Onge, of Milwaukee, told CBS 58.

Others soaked in the sun with swimwear and beach games.

"I'm really excited," Lydia Olig, a Marquette student from Fond Du Lac, said. "I'm really excited to see the kites, get a little tan, have some fun with some friends."

The show has become a tradition for many families to enjoy.

Dozens of families camped out overnight along Milwaukee's lakefront to score the perfect line of sight for the show.

"Getting our spot, locking it down, getting ready for this big 'ol party that we are having," said Jason Monfre, a Milwaukee man who has been watching the Milwaukee light show for more than two decades.

Monfre went on to say camping near Veterans Park has become his family's tradition.

"It's fun, fun for the family, fun for the kids, and brings up memories," said Monfre.

Monfre is not alone, as Veterans Park has become like a city within a city.

"People used to tell their relatives, 'Okay, if you see the big, three-bedroom tent, we are right down the street from that,'" said Jordan Jelinek.

Jordan Jelinek and his family also scored prime real estate.

"As soon as they said it was happening, we hurried up and came right down here to claim our spots," said Jelinek.

Jelinek said over the past few years they've moved from spot to spot, but eventually they found the perfect location.

"Get closer, away from the crowds, and just -- we like to feel the boom."

And while the fireworks may have attracted people to the lakefront, it’s the memories they said they stay for.

"It's a big community coming together, as I said, different people from all across, all over, don’t even know each other, but we see each other once a year, and it feels like you just picked up where you left off," said Jelinek.

Instead of launching the fireworks from a barge on Lake Michigan, fireworks were launched from a roped-off section of Veterans Park.

The Milwaukee County Sheriff's Office and Milwaukee Fire Department stationed mobile command centers and other units near Veterans Park to prepare and assist in any emergency.

That included traffic closures in the evening closer to the start time of 9:30 p.m. for the fireworks.

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