'The best day in Milwaukee': Annual lakefront July 3 celebrations attract hundreds of thousands of festgoers
MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- We are less than 24 hours away from the kickoff for Milwaukee's annual July 3 celebrations near the lakefront!
This year, the 30-minute fireworks display will take place around 9:30 p.m. by Veteran's Park.
Throughout the day, multiple cash-only food vendors and beer tents will be available from 11 a.m. until 9 p.m.
The Gift of Wings will also be holding a kite festival, complete with free lessons.
According to a news release from Milwaukee County Parks, around 100,000 people flock to the shores for the spectacle.
For Milwaukee-native Kevin Adams, it's his first time attending the big event.
“I’ve been hearing about it and then even growing up, I knew people did it, but I never got a chance to, and so coming back this year to visit family, I told 'em I was gonna come down here and pitch a tent because I had it in the car," Adams said. "They all laughed but they’re going to come down tomorrow.”
Others like 10-year-old Anthony Williams-Patterson and his family have been coming for the past few years.
“We got games, we got to ride our bikes and stuff, and I get to enjoy it with my family here," Williams-Patterson said. "We get a good view of the fireworks."
Nine-year-old Lakencie O'Kelley-Patterson agreed, noting she loves "just watching" the fireworks display.
"Sitting down, roasting marshmallows, hanging out with the family!" O'Kelley-Patterson said.
But for Jenny Taff and her family, the July 3 festivities are a family tradition that's decades old.
“This is the exact spot that my parents started coming to the third of July while they were dating," Taff said, pointing to a marked-off section in the grass.
The Taff's have kept that spot at Veteran's Park for 41 years.
“It grounds you to the city you know, like this is our city, we’re very proud of being from Milwaukee, living in Milwaukee, celebrating Milwaukee," Taff said. "It’s steeped in history and family tradition and it’s phenomenal being back every year.”
According to 12-year-old Addie Taff, the event doubles as a family reunion, as normally dozens show up.
“Getting to see people that I don’t see for like a whole year and then they show up and you get to hang out with them on a nice summer day and then getting to watch the fireworks show at the night, there’s just nothing better than that," Taff said. "It's the best fireworks show that anyone can possibly have."
Cash only parking at the lakefront will open at 6 a.m. on July 3.
Cars are $25, a car with a trailer is $50, an RV is $75 and an RV with a trailer is $100.
All lots are first-come, first-served and there are no in-out privileges once a vehicle enters.
For a full list of July 4 parades and events, click here.