By Matt Mueller Culture Editor Published May 24, 2024 at 4:30 PM

A lakefront summer tradition has been extinguished yet again, as Milwaukee County Parks announced late Friday that the annual July 3rd fireworks show has been canceled for 2024.

According to an official statement from the Parks Department, the reason for this year's cancellation is a lack of sponsorship to help cover the cost of the event – which, according to the Parks release, costs $350,000 for the fireworks alone plus an additional $20,000 for staff, dumpsters, fencing, portable toilets and other elements needed to properly put on the show.

"As a non-mandated service, our primary goal is to ensure that our parks remain vibrant and accessible year-round, and hosting events like the July 3rd fireworks display would limit our ability to fulfill this commitment," reads the Milwaukee County Parks statement.

"We recognize the disappointment that this news may bring," added Milwaukee County Parks director Guy Smith, in the release. "However, our commitment to providing vibrant and accessible recreational spaces remains unwavering. We are grateful for the years of generous support from sponsors that have allowed us to create lasting memories, and we express our gratitude to the community for their continued understanding and support."

This year's cancellation marks another unfortunate chapter in the July 3rd fireworks show's rocky recent history. The lakefront celebration was almost canceled in 2019 after they were unable to find a new backer after its lead sponsor at the time, U.S. Bank, announced the previous year would be its final. The Milwaukee Brewers and several other local groups managed to team up and save that year's show – though the fireworks would end up going dark the following two years anyways, due to COVID-19 in 2020 then due to staffing and resource struggles in 2021. The lakefront July 3rd fireworks made an explosive return in 2022 and 2023 – but unfortunately, as of right now, the same cannot be said for this summer.

As of publication, there is no word of new efforts to help sponsor this summer's July 3rd fireworks. The announcement from Milwaukee County Parks, however, does list several alternative Fourth of July fireworks options hosted in their other locations, including:

  • Hales Corners Park
  • Sheridan Park
  • Kletzsch Park
  • Grant Park
  • Alcott Park
  • Wilson Park
  • Mitchell Park
  • Washington Park
  • Noyes Park
  • Lincoln Park 
  • Jackson Park 
  • Humboldt Park 
  • Gordon Park 
  • Lake Park 
  • King Park (no fireworks, celebration only)

For more information about these Fourth of July celebrations, and about supporting Milwaukee County Parks, click here – and stay tuned to OnMilwaukee for any updates. 

Matt Mueller Culture Editor

As much as it is a gigantic cliché to say that one has always had a passion for film, Matt Mueller has always had a passion for film. Whether it was bringing in the latest movie reviews for his first grade show-and-tell or writing film reviews for the St. Norbert College Times as a high school student, Matt is way too obsessed with movies for his own good.

When he's not writing about the latest blockbuster or talking much too glowingly about "Piranha 3D," Matt can probably be found watching literally any sport (minus cricket) or working at - get this - a local movie theater. Or watching a movie. Yeah, he's probably watching a movie.