116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
CEDAR RAPIDS — The Cedar Rapids Freedom Festival returns for its 39th year with location changes to many of its popular events, changes to ticket requirements for Balloon Glow and a new laser show.
The Freedom Festival, running June 14 to July Fourth, brings back many signature events including the Tribute to Heroes, Balloon Glow, Pancake Breakfast, car show and fireworks.
The festival will kick off June 14 with a Log Carving Demonstration at NewBo City Market, where local artists will carve art out of donated wood. The handmade works of art will be auctioned at the silent auction fundraiser, available online on June 16 and 17. The auction will end at 9 p.m. June 17 at the in-person Tribute to Heroes dinner fundraiser.
“Producing large events safely this summer will once again be our No. 1 priority,” Freedom Festival Executive Director Karol Shepherd said in a news release Wednesday.
With that in mind, a few changes are in store for this year’s events.
What: Cedar Rapids Freedom Festival
When: June 14 to July Fourth
Where: See a full schedule of event dates and locations online at freedomfestival.com/events-calendar.
Cost: Freedom Festival buttons will be available for $5 at Hy-Vee and Casey’s General Store locations around Cedar Rapids and Marion starting May 27. Balloon Glow requires a separate $5 ticket for those age 9 and over, available through eventbrite.com.
This year’s Balloon Glow & Great American Kites, previously held midweek, will be located at Jones Park on the first Saturday of the festival. The event will feature a record 12 hot-air balloons and music by The Breakfast Club, an ’80s cover band.
For those age 9 and older, a $5 ticket purchase at eventbrite.com is required to enter — buttons will no longer get you in to Balloon Glow.
Freedom Festival buttons, which cover admission to most of the Freedom Festival’s other events, will be available for $5 starting May 27 at all Hy-Vee grocery and drugstore locations and Casey’s General Stores in Cedar Rapids and Marion.
Due to flood mitigation at the National Czech & Slovak Museum & Library, DockDogs has been relocated this year from its usual location to the North Fields of Kingston Stadium, in partnership with the Cedar Rapids Community School District. The canine-centered event will run from June 23 to 26.
The Freedom Festival parade will return to downtown Cedar Rapids on June 25, with children’s programming to follow at Greene Square.
The Laser Light Show, a new one-hour event this year, is scheduled for 9 p.m. July 1 at Hawkeye Downs — included with Freedom Festival button purchase.
For more information and event updates, go to freedomfestival.com/events-calendar.
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