Cedar Rapids Freedom Festival schedule: Fireworks, concerts, races and more

Fourth of July fireworks light up the night sky in Cedar Rapids in 2017, launched from the First Avenue Bridge over the
Fourth of July fireworks light up the night sky in Cedar Rapids in 2017, launched from the First Avenue Bridge over the Cedar River. This year’s Celebration of Freedom festival finale begins at 4 p.m. today (7/4), with the fireworks at dark. Prime viewing spots are the Second Avenue Bridge and the McGrath Amphitheatre downtown. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette)

The bang-up day has arrived. Here’s a look at the Fourth of July’s Cedar Rapids Freedom Festival finale.

Fifth Season races

Head over to Greene Square, Third Avenue and Fifth Street SE, for the races that ignite the city’s Fourth of July festivities. Among the events are the United States Track And Field State Championship 8K, as well as a 5K and three children’s races.

Schedule: 8 a.m. 8K begins; 8:15 a.m. 5K run/walk begins; 9:15 a.m. awards ceremony; 9:30 a.m. two waves for the Little and Big Kids runs; 9:45 a.m. Youth Mile Race; 9:30 a.m. post-race party.

Pancake breakfast

Pile on the pancakes inside Veterans Memorial Coliseum, 50 Second Ave. Bridge, and hear the Vintage Jammers from 8 a.m. to noon. Cost: $6 adults, $3 children; $1 discount with a Freedom Festival button.

Car show

The only cars allowed on the Second Avenue Bridge this morning are the classic models on parade from 8 a.m. to noon. Admission is free for spectators. New this year is a judged show from 11 to 11:30 a.m., with awards announced afterward for Best in Show, Best Engine, Best Interior, Best Paint, Best Wheels, along with trophies for the top 20 cars.

Star-Spangled Organ Concert

The River Valley Chapter of American Guild of Organists presents local musicians in a patriotic organ concert from 4 to 5 p.m. at First Presbyterian Church, 310 Fifth St. SE. Admission is free for this family-friendly event.

Festival concert

Gates open at 4 p.m. at the McGrath Amphitheatre, 475 First St. SW. The Boot Jack Band will kick it off with country sounds from 5 to 6:30 p.m. The Johnny Holm Band will rock the spirit from 7 to 9:30 p.m. Stay put for prime viewing of the fireworks at 9:45 p.m. Admission: Free with a festival button; no coolers, outside food or beverages.

Five Seasons skiers

Hold your breath for some daredevil jump acts, including helicopters and flips, 50 mph barefoot pyramids and more from 7 to 8 p.m. at Ellis Park, 2021 Ellis Blvd. NW. The bleachers fill up quickly, so bring chairs and blankets and come early for the 6:15 p.m. preshow entertainment. The concession stand will be open.

Fireworks finale

No need to wait until dark for fun. Activities ramp up on the Second Avenue Bridge downtown at 4 p.m., with face painting, balloon artist, food and drinks, music, bungee trampolines, inflatables, kids’ activities, military exhibits, food and vehicles and so much more, winding up with the fireworks at 9:45 p.m. Music will be piped through speakers on the bridge, or tune in to KHAK 98.1 on your radio to hear the soundtrack to the sparkling spectacle. A Freedom Festival button is required at bridge entry points for ages 9 and up. Allowed: coolers, chairs and blankets are allowed on the bridge; no glass, pets, sparklers, firecrackers or other fireworks. The Third Avenue Bridge is closed for repairs.


Give us feedback

We value your trust and work hard to provide fair, accurate coverage. If you have found an error or omission in our reporting, tell us here.

Or if you have a story idea we should look into? Tell us here.