116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
OK Mother Nature, you’ve had your fun with your kind of fireworks. Now it’s time to let Eastern Iowa communities light up the night skies with their booms and bangs, raining down with a rainbow of colors.
In Cedar Rapids
Fireworks are returning downtown Sunday night, for a bang-up finale to three weeks of Freedom Festival celebrations. As in 2019, J & M Displays from Yarmouth will be firing the show, choreographed to music, from the First Avenue Bridge at dusk.
“This will be the (festival’s) largest show ever produced,” said Karol Shepherd, the Freedom Festival’s executive director.
“There was just no way that we could make it financially happen last year. It’s one of our largest costs, definitely,” she said, especially when she wasn’t sure people would be able to gather for the event.
“We're just proud and so happy that the city and county public health have granted us the ability to bring it back downtown this year.”
The firing site has been moved over “just a little bit,” she noted, to accommodate larger elements.
Prime viewing will be from the Second Avenue Bridge and the nearby McGrath Amphitheatre, 475 First St. SW. The bridge will open at 7 p.m. Entry is free with a Freedom Festival button for ages 9 and up; no button is needed for kids ages 8 and under.
The fireworks soundtrack from Z102.9 will be broadcast to the bridge and amphitheater. The event also will be broadcast live on KCRG-TV 9.2.
Dubbed “no frills, just fireworks” on the festival’s website, spectators can bring soft-sided coolers, but no pets, sparklers, firecrackers or other types of fireworks. Food and drink vendors will be available on site.
The celebration will not include a Kids Zone this year, but the first 500 kids will received a bag with an activity book courtesy of Z102.9 and The Gazette, both among the festival’s media sponsors.
Sunday’s festivities begin with the return of the drive-through pancake breakfast from 8 a.m. to noon outside the ImOn Ice Arena, 1100 Rockford Rd. SW. Cost is $5 per meal. Motor on over next door for the Cedar Rapids Car Show from 8 a.m. to noon in the Kernels parking lot, 950 Rockford Rd. SW.
Pairing the two events, as in years past, will help return a “sense of normalcy” on the Fourth of July, Shepherd said.
Other upcoming Freedom Festival events include:
Movie Night: 6 to 10 p.m.o July 1, NewBo City Market, 1100 Third St. SE. Outdoor screening of “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” at dusk, with a silent disco beforehand so bring your headphones and dancing shoes. Admission: free with a Freedom Festival button; food and drinks available for purchase.
Five Seasons Ski Team: 7 to 8 p.m. July 1, 3 and 4, Cedar River at Ellis Park, 1979 Ellis Blvd. NW. Free; bring seating, concessions available, come early for preshow activities.
Root Beer Festival: 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday, July 3, The History Center, 800 Second Ave. SE; $5, $4 with Freedom Festival button. Held in conjunction with “Spirited,” a national touring exhibition that tells the story of the Prohibition Era, when many U.S. breweries turned to brewing root beer. See the exhibit on the center’s first and second floors; outdoor activities include games, food made with root beer, music, make-and-take activities, and a root beer float competition.
Virtual Music at the Museum: Featuring the Pork Tornadoes: 7 p.m. Saturday, July 3 via the festival’s Facebook link at facebook.com/CRFreedomFestival
Music by Twilight: Cedar Rapids Municipal Band concerts, 6:30 p.m. Sunday, July 4 at Guthridge Park, Hiawatha, with prelude by the Derecho Winds ensemble; 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, July 7, McGrath Amphitheatre, Cedar Rapids.
Festival details: freedomfestival.com/events/
Cedar Boat Club: One event that isn’t returning this year is the Cedar Boat Club’s usual fireworks show over the Cedar River across from Ellis Park.
Across Eastern Iowa
Here are more fireworks shows in the region:
Saturday, July 3
ANAMOSA: 9 p.m., Anamosa football field; rain date July 4
DUBUQUE: Dusk, A.Y. McDonald Park just below Lock and Dam 11
DYERSVILLE: Dusk, Commercial Club Park, Second Avenue SE
GUTTENBERG: Dusk, over the Mississippi River, 600 to 800 blocks of South River Park Drive; parade at 7 p.m.
INDEPENDENCE: 10 to 10:30 p.m., over the Wapsipinicon River, Riverwalk Parks
IOWA CITY: Iowa City Jazz Festival; 9:30 p.m. Old Capitol Museum, 21 N. Clinton St. downtown; icgov.org/event/iowa-city-fireworks-part-jazz-fest
MONTEZUMA: Dusk, Lake Ponderosa; rain date July 4 MORNING SUN: Dusk, Locust Grove Park, behind the schools
SPILLVILLE: 9:30 p.m., Riverside Park, park admission $3 per person or $5 per car
WELLMAN: Dusk, North Park
Sunday, July 4
BELLEVUE: Dusk, South Riverview Street
CLINTON: After the LumberKings game, Riverview Park
CORALVILLE: 4thFest; 9:45 p.m. Sunday, S.T. Morrison Park, 1500 block between Seventh and Eighth streets; coralville.org/310/4thFest
DYSART: Dusk, City Park; rain date July 5
GRINNELL: Dusk, Ahrens Park
HILLS: Dusk, City Park
MARENGO: Dusk, Gateway Park, seating west of the football field
MECHANICSVILLE: 9:45 p.m., North Cedar Mechanicsville Elementary Center
MONTICELLO: Dusk, Monticello City Park, 766 N. Maple St.
OXFORD JUNCTION: Dusk, Wapsi Park
RICHMOND: Presented by Richmond Shooters and AMVETS Post 107, dusk, AMVETS Post 107, 402 Am-Vets Rd.
SHELL ROCK: 10 p.m., behind Shell Rock Elementary
TIPTON: Dusk, Cedar County Fairgrounds
TOLEDO/TAMA: Dusk, Toledo Heights Park
WASHINGTON: Dusk, Washington County Fairgrounds
WELLMAN: Dusk, Wellman Community Park
WILLIAMSBURG: Dusk, Recreation Center
Source: City and event websites
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