"It gets us all close together:" Thousands pack Milwaukee's lakefront to see U.S. Bank fireworks

MILWAUKEE -- Milwaukee's lakefront has gotten progressively more busy as we get closer to the start of Friday night's U.S. Bank fireworks show. FOX6 News found several groups who have made it an annual tradition to get down there early and just enjoy the people.

Days before a single firework is launched into the air, diehards are already unpacking.

"Yes, July 1st we had just a little tape down and then we came gradually as they would let us put everything else up," said Shalonda Jonson, camper.

If you want a good vantage point, you better get there early. Which is why Sholanda Jonson's family comes prepared to pass the time.

"We have to have a little area for volleyball and the kids. We've got football, we've got like little golfing games," said Jonson.

Perhaps even more entertaining is the people watching.

For some of this crowd, there's nothing to do but wait -- making it the perfect opportunity for local entertainers to step up to center stage.

"There's a lot of people walking around, they'll play their guitars. The juggling guy, he's been coming down here forever," said a firework attendee.

Every year since 1984, to be exact.

"It's not even about the fireworks anymore for me, it's about the party during the day," said Ronald Billington, juggler.

And you could call Ronald Billington the life of the party. He tools around the lakefront on skates he made himself while juggling.

"Usually you get people hanging out of windows and hollering and say "hey, hey come back here," girls want their picture with you -- all that kind of crazy stuff, it's fun," said Billington.

Even though it's a many hour wait for those who arrive early, for some, that wait may be the best part.

"It gets us all close together. We can always count on this time of year where we all get together from across the country," said Jonson.

Everyone FOX6 News spoke with today told us they've been arriving early every year for at least 10 years. Some have made this a tradition for much longer than that.