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Fireworks coming back to Downtown Madison July 3 — but not over Lake Monona

Fireworks coming back to Downtown Madison July 3 — but not over Lake Monona

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Shake the Lake

After being canceled in 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic, fireworks are coming back to Madison's Isthmus, but it's not the normal Shake the Lake festival.

After last year’s fireworks on Madison’s Isthmus were canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic, a fireworks display is coming back Downtown this summer but at Breese Stevens Field instead of being launched from barges on Lake Monona.

Festival Foods and Big Top Events, the operator of Breese Stevens Field, are hosting a new Independence Day celebration July 3, the organizers announced Tuesday.

Fireworks launch under the mercy of the weather, so people who prepare firework shows have to watch out for weather conditions at all times.

The ticketed event, called Festival Foods Lights the Isthmus, will feature four local bands, food, drinks and fireworks launched from Breese Stevens Field and a neighboring building.

Normally, Madison’s main fireworks show is the annual Shake the Lake festival, which draws tens of thousands to the shore of Lake Monona at the end of June each year. That event, which was also hosted by Big Top, was canceled in 2020 because of the pandemic and is not coming back this year.

Nina Winistorfer, Festival Foods community involvement specialist, said in a statement that this year’s fireworks show will still be “extravagant.”

Gates open at 5 p.m. and music will start at 6 p.m. The lineup of at least four local bands will be announced next week, the organizers said.

Attendees are encouraged to bring lawn chairs and blankets to sit across the field. Tickets are $10 a person, but free for children under 12 who are with an adult.

Rooftop tickets are $45 and include three beers and all-you-can-eat “tailgate fare,” the organizers said. Tickets go on sale Monday at 10 a.m. at

“We are excited to be a part of bringing fireworks back to the City of Madison,” Big Top Events COO Conor Caloia said. “We would like to thank Festival Foods for making this possible and the neighborhood for working with us to produce an event that will be unique to Madison.”


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