Five more days. The wait is nearly over for the return of fireworks in downtown Cedar Rapids on the 4th of July. The Celebration of Freedom Fireworks are back Sunday night and they'll return in unprecedented fashion. This year's display will be the largest in the history of the Cedar Rapids Freedom Festival.
The Freedom Festival website says that the idea for fireworks in downtown Cedar Rapids on the 4th of July originated with a presentation to the city council in 1984. On July 4, 1985, the incredible new tradition started. Not only does Cedar Rapids have the largest fireworks display in the state each 4th of July night, we also have a plethora of "Freedom Festival" events leading up to the holiday. It all culminates with the "Celebration of Freedom" fireworks.
In 2021, Cedar Rapids is outdoing even itself! According to a media release from Cedar Rapids Freedom Festival Executive Director Karol Shepherd,
The Celebration of Freedom Fireworks returns to downtown Cedar Rapids with the largest sized display (larger fireworks shells) thanks to fireworks sponsors Green State Credit Union, Terry Durin Company, and BAE Systems.
This year's display will be shot from a slightly different spot to allow for the bigger shells. Shepherd tells me the blast-off site, if you will, will be the intersection of 1st Avenue and 1st Street West. The adjacent grassy areas along 1st Avenue and 1st Street West will be closed to the public for spectator safety.
The 2nd Avenue Bridge and McGrath Amphitheatre will be open for pedestrians starting at 7 p.m. Admission is a Freedom Festival button. Those will be available at the gate. Children 8 and under don't need a button. Food and drinks will be available. There won't be any kids activities on the 2nd Avenue Bridge this year.
Due to ongoing flood control construction on the 3rd Avenue Bridge, that bridge is closed.
The display itself begins at 9:40 p.m. and it will be the only public display in Cedar Rapids on the 4th of July. The Cedar Rapids Kernels will be doing fireworks at Veterans Memorial Stadium on July 3. That's the night the Cedar Boat Club typically does fireworks at Ellis Park, but that display will not happen for the second consecutive year.
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