'Difficult decision:' Milwaukee's July 3 Lakefront Fireworks canceled due to COVID-19 pandemic

MILWAUKEE -- Milwaukee's July 3 Lakefront Fireworks have been canceled for 2020 due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The event will not be rescheduled this year.

Judd Schemmel

"We understand the disappointment. We feel it too -- we do," said Judd Schemmel, American Family Insurance associate vice president of community investment and partnerships.

Schemmel said the decision was made for the safety of the community.

"We felt pretty strongly that the right decision was to, unfortunately, and in a disappointing way, cancel the fireworks for this year, then commit to 2021 that we are going to come back bigger stronger and better than ever," Schemmel said.

July 3 fireworks

The lakefront fireworks were nearly cancelled in 2019, when American Family Insurance, T&M Partners and the Brewers stepped up to fund the celebration. The partners continue to discuss plans for the 2021 event and beyond.

"We were really honored to step in last year," Schemmel said.

Many other Milwaukee events that occur in June and July have been either cancelled or postponed to late summer or early fall.

“We know this was a difficult decision for American Family Insurance and their partners, and we agree it’s the correct decision,” said Milwaukee County Parks Executive Director Guy Smith. “We look forward to seeing the display return even bigger and better in 2021.”

"This partnership has been a home run for Milwaukee. No one could have predicted the situation we’re in with COVID-19,” said County Executive Chris Abele. “To have American Family and others step up to the plate to show their commitment to Milwaukee is great. These short-term sacrifices are for the long-term safety of the community. We'll come out of this better and stronger."

In lieu of the fireworks celebration, American Family Insurance will make a donation to the newly established Milwaukee Parks Foundation.

As for the economic hit the city will take, VISIT Milwaukee officials say they cannot estimate that right now. They say with all of the events and different vendors, it's too hard to tally.