North side embraces new Fourth of July fireworks tradition
Mallards president says team is committed to hosting fireworks show for community
MADISON, Wis. — Madison’s north side embraced a new Fourth of July tradition Saturday night.
A few changes were made to this year’s fireworks show at Warner Park that organizers said they set up to keep the north side Fourth of July festivities going.
Saturday night’s fireworks show started at 9:40 p.m. following a day filled with baseball and live music. The fireworks show hosted by the Madison Mallards is a new Fourth of July celebration.
Mallards organizers said they want to continue to offer Madison’s north side community the show for years to come.
“It just felt like the right thing to do. I think it took us all of an hour to consider it last year when the word came down that Rhythm and Booms was moving,” Madison Mallards President Vern Stenman said.
After years of Madison north side residents having front-row seats to the city’s fireworks show, Stenman said they wanted to keep the tradition alive, but this year added their own twist.
“Obviously Rhythm and Booms in the past years has been a free event, so there was a little bit of a challenge to figure out exactly how we marry something, because obviously you can’t open a baseball stadium up for a game for free, but we still like the idea of opening it up to make it a big community festival,” Stenman said.
The festival ended up centered on baseball, entertainment and fireworks, which some fans said was an unbeatable combination.
“Downtown isn’t accessible to everybody, and it’s a little harder to get down there and watch with such a big crowd. So having the opportunity to come see fireworks at an event like this and to have the baseball game is really a bonus,” Lori Peters said.
Michel Diedrich brought his family to Saturday’s game, and said that continuing a Fourth of July celebration on the north side is something residents need.
“We wanted something local, something right here in town,” Diedrich said. “It’s just a great opportunity to come together as a family.”
This is the first year the baseball team has hosted its own fireworks show. Mallards supporters and the team’s president said they hope the new event will be the start to a long-standing tradition for the area.
“We will see tonight how it goes, but my guess is that the Mallards do fantastic things, and I think this is going to be a great success,” John Kovalic said.
“It will be a learning process for us this year, but I think it’s important to note that long term, we are very committed to continuing to host the city’s Independence Day fireworks here at the ball park, and hopefully we can do it for a long time to come,” Stenman said.
The game started at 4:30 p.m., and as soon as it ended the stadium opened up to the public for free live music and seats for the fireworks show.