Lighting up the night sky

Fire over the Fox is back in full swing this year for the Fourth of July

By Rachel Sankey

The fireworks show is scheduled to start at 9:45 p.m., and is sponsored by Festival Foods. Becky Bourget Photos

Editor’s Note: Pick up a copy of City Pages for a full schedule of events and food vendors on Monday, July 4. Copies can be found at most coffee shops, grocery stores, gas stations and more.

A typical Fourth of July celebration involves red, white and blue, a cookout and a slew of fireworks to light up the sky, ending the evening on a bright note.

On Broadway, Inc. celebrates the Fourth of July by taking it a step further – from closing down bridges to having several stages full of music.

Brooke Hafs, the marketing director of On Broadway, said the event draws more than 100,000 people to the downtown area each year.

“Because On Broadway hosts this event, it is one of our missions as an organization to draw large numbers of people out to the Broadway District and experience everything that we have to offer here,” she said. “We have really great businesses, we have public art and we have tons of murals throughout our district. It is a very, very up and coming district in Green Bay, and we want people to experience it and want to be here and support our businesses.”

All ages are welcome to the Independence Day celebration.

Back to normal

Hafs said On Broadway took over the organizing reins of Festival Foods Fire over the Fox in 2018.

After two years of running the event, the COVID-19 pandemic put the annual event on hiatus.

Fourth of July festivities were brought back in 2021, but at what Hafs described as “half speed.”

“This is our first year in a couple of years hosting it back to its full glory,” she said. “So bringing it back to full steam, I think, is just another way to kind of return people to normalcy. It’s an outdoor event, so even if people have their hesitations with COVID, they can still socially distance themselves and wear masks if they want to. But all in all, people are really grateful to be getting back to normal, and see a community event they love so much return to normal.”

Coming back to full swing after two years, Hafs said, only brought one change – the time frame.

“We have analyzed the time frame of the events and we have come to decide that a 3 p.m. start is the best success for the event,” she said. “It used to start at 11 a.m. or noon in the past, and we bumped that a little later in the afternoon so people can really enjoy the most of it. It is a family-friendly event. We don’t want kids to be completely worn out by the time the fireworks show begins.”

There are several different happenings throughout the day that sets Fire over the Fox apart from any other Independence Day celebration, Hafs said, from live music, to several food vendors and an entire section for kid-friendly activities.

Community members setting up for the fireworks show. Hafs said the Independence Day event draws nearly 100,000 people every year.

The music

There are four stages throughout the Broadway District that will host a variety of bands and performers, such as Johnny Wad, American Bombshell, Floral Friday and Mike & Miller.

For American Bombshell, this year’s Fire over the Fox celebration will be the band’s third year scheduled, but first year performing.

The band’s drummer, Jason Carr, said he and his mates were scheduled to perform at the Fourth of July festivities in 2018, but were rained out.

American Bombshell was to perform again in 2020, and again the show was canceled, this time due to COVID-19.

This year, Carr said the band is hoping the third time’s the charm.

“We’re really looking forward to finally taking the stage and rocking with our Green Bay fans (the Bomb Squad-Green Bay Chapter),” he said. “Green Bay is our home away from home. We love getting up that way every chance we can get.”

Floral Friday performed at Fire over the Fox in 2019, and Blake Hermans, who sings lead vocals for the band, said they remember having a great crowd.

For this year’s celebration, the band will have two new members performing with them: Justin Wieseler, the bassist, and Bailey Laux, the lead guitarist.

“Personally, I have played this event many times, as I am a member of Let Me Be Frank Productions,” Hermans said. “As a native to Green Bay, I have been present every year for as long as I can remember. We are looking forward to listening to great music, playing our music and watching the fireworks with our friends and family.”

The live music starts at 3 p.m. and lasts until 9:45 p.m.

Check out the full list of performers and times on page 10.

There will be four stages set up within the Broadway District that will provide a variety of live music throughout the night.

The food

Hafs said on the day of the patriotic event, the Dousman Street Bridge shuts down to become a “food truck alley.”

There will be a variety of food vendors to choose from, including Minzo’s Kitchen, Lil Jamaica, Philly’s & York and Kona Ice.

This is the first year Minzo’s Kitchen will participate in Fire over the Fox, and co-owner Spencer Neuman said the event is a “great day for Green Bay, and we love to be right in the middle of it.”

“We’re looking forward to being part of a community event,” Neuman said. “Being BBQ guys, what goes better (together) than fireworks and BBQ?”

Three different beverage tents provided by Kay Distribution will be spread throughout the area grounds and will offer beer from local breweries, other alcoholic beverages, soda and water as well.

Minzo’s Kitchen is a BBQ catering company out of Green Bay. This will be the first year Minzo’s Kitchen is at Fire over the Fox. Spencer Neuman Photo

Other activities

The Neville Museum parking lot will again assume its role as the kids’ area on the fourth.

Hafs said there will be a kids’ stage, bouncy houses and other family-themed activities that help to make the Fire over the Fox fun for everyone.

Other vendors setting up at the event include Renewal by Anderson, Face Painting By Lori and Joyful Henna.

One of the more well-loved activities of Fire over the Fox, Hafs said, is returning this year after a short hiatus.

The Waterboard Warriors Water Ski Show Team will provide a water ski show for the community at 4 p.m.

The ski team spends its summer providing free water ski shows to the Village of Wrightstown.

This is the first year the ski team will perform at the event since the pandemic.

The Waterboard Warriors Water Ski Show Team perform during the summers for free in the Village of Wrightstown. The team will perform from 4 p.m. until 5 p.m. at Fire over the Fox. Waterboard Warriors Photo

The fireworks

And, of course, Fire over the Fox wouldn’t be what it is without the fireworks show put on by Festival Foods, On Broadway’s presenting sponsor, each year.

“The firework show (starts) at dark, so it usually lands anywhere between 9:30 and 10 p.m.,” Hafs said. “The firework show is set to music and is one of the most brilliant and largest firework shows in Northeast Wisconsin for the Fourth of July. It’s a community favorite. It’s literally the best event you could experience on the Fourth of July.”

To see the full listing of activities available on Monday, July 4, flip to page 10.

Rachel Sankey is the associate editor of Green Bay City Pages. She can be reached via email at [email protected]

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