This was my first time celebrating Independence Day in Sheboygan. It was definitely an experience to remember. So much to experience and celebrate.
Venetian Boat Parade
Sheboygan begins their celebration on the 3rd with the Venetian Boat Parade. My home town used to do a small one but I could have never imagined the extent of Sheboygan’s. I went to South Pier by Angler’s Avenue who was hosting live music. The band was energetic and had people up on their feet and moving to the beat! It was fun listening to some oldies and watching everyone sing along. As it got dark, I started my search for a clear spot to view the display. I was amazed to see thousands of people lined up on both sides of the river to watch over a dozen boats lit up with beautiful lights and decorations! I think my personal favorite was the Grease themed boat. Who doesn’t love the movie Grease?
Independence Day Parade
Thanks to our sponsor, Wisconsin Bank and Trust, the Independence Day Parade had people lining up and down the streets at seven in the morning. It was great to see 100 different groups in the Parade to help celebrate a special day, and how creative they were in displaying themselves. Because I was on the clock, I was placed at the end of the parade to keep everyone moving: which I didn’t mind since I was then able to see it all. If I wasn’t in awe over the floats, I was enjoying different musicians, stunt and dance teams, and people dressed in traditional dress to represent their culture.
For those who may not know the Castaway Challenge involves engineering boats out of cardboard and racing them! The obvious challenge is keeping your boat afloat for as long as possible. I watched two races that had three contestants each. A few were designed like canoes while others were more advanced and looked like viking ships or, my favorite, an airplane! It was quite entertaining watching a few of the boats fall apart and practically sink, but even more so watching the really slow boats race each other. Everyone was hooting and hollering for their teams, and it was as if you were watching a very intense turtle race.
Freedom Fest, sponsored by Plenco and Vollrath Company, had hundreds of people up and down the beach and Deland Park enjoying the beautiful day. After the parade you may have seen me walking up and down the beach handing out free backpacks and cozies. Walking around I saw groups of friends playing volleyball, hanging out, and catching some rays. I watched as kids jumped their little hearts out on the bouncy houses and played in the sand. Finally, after all that walking, I explored a few of the food trucks, headed back to our tent, sat in my chair, and listened to the band as I munched on perfectly buttered sweetcorn.
Unfortunately, it started to rain for a few hours in the evening, but that did not stop me from enjoying my time at the lake! Before it rained I had found a few friends on the beach and we soaked up whatever sun rays were left for the day. Even after, I enjoyed my time playing volleyball in the rain.
After a while, as you can understand, it got a little cold, so we decided to rock out with the band under the huge tent at Deland Park. Some songs we did not know but that did that stop us from dancing around and singing our hearts out to the songs we did know? Absolutely not!
As 9:30 pm approached, we definitely lucked out because the rain cleared and the Festival Food’s Fireworks lit up the night!