BY KATIE MATTESON
If you’re thinking about leaving town for the 4th of July, you might want to reconsider. You definitely won’t want to miss Racine’s 83rd Annual Parade and Fireworks.
“This year we’re bringing back our rich history of big floats, marching bands and giant parade balloons, along with new attractions,” parade co-chair Jake Lovdahl said.
This year’s parade theme is “America – 50 Years to the Moon and Back!”
Special guest Charlie Berens, an Emmy-winning journalist, comedian, and creator of the Manitowoc Minute, will ride in the parade. He’s been featured on Fox, CBS, Funny or Die, TBS Digital, Variety, MTV News and more.
Parade goers will also be treated to a flyover by the Air Force Heritage Flight, featuring a modern fighter and attack aircraft flying alongside World War II, Korea or Vietnam-era planes “in a dramatic display of our nation’s air power history.”
Plans call for a North American P-51 Mustang (long-range, single-seat fighter and fighter-bomber used during World War II and the Korean War, among other conflicts) and a Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor (a fifth-generation, single-seat, twin-engine, all-weather stealth tactical fighter aircraft developed for the United States Air Force) to participate in the parade route flyover.
The parade will step off at 9 a.m. on Thursday, July 4 from the corner of Main and Goold streets and finish its 2.4-mile route at the corner of 14th Street and Grand Avenue near the Golden Rondelle. The pre-parade will begin at 8:45 a.m.
WVTV My24 Milwaukee will broadcast the parade live from near Monument Square and also simulcast it online at my24milwaukee.com.
Back for its 14th year, Melrose Pyrotechnics will light up the Racine shoreline with its fabulous fireworks display at dusk on July 4 (approximately 9:20 p.m.). The 40-minute display, which will originate near North Beach can be seen for miles.
The parade and fireworks, organized by 4th Fest of Greater Racine Inc. and its all-volunteer Board of Directors, are funded completely by corporate sponsorships and private donations. This year’s presenting sponsor for the parade is Festival Foods, who also co-sponsors the fireworks with the City of Racine and 4th Fest.
To support both the parade and fireworks, watch for donation barrels circulated by 4th Fest board members during the parade.
As the big day approaches, check out racine4thfest.org for more information about this great fun-filled, family-friendly day of celebration.