Thiensville’s Independence Day Party: Family Fun Before the 4th

Three colorful fireworks in the dark skyIf you haven’t participated in Mequon-Thiensville’s Family Fun Before the 4th, you’ve missed one of the very best family fests our town has to offer.

Each year, the weekend prior to the 4th of July, Mequon and Thiensville residents gather for day-long festivities — a parade through the streets of Thiensville, live music in Village Park, picnic and beverages, and fireworks at dusk.

Why is this experience so great? Well, it brings together the entire community and it is extremely kid-friendly. The bonus is that it occurs prior to the 4th of July so you can still enjoy those other family activities you have scheduled for the actual holiday.

The Sequence of Events

Most residents reserve their spots on the parade route well before the parade kicks-off. In fact, it’s not uncommon to see blankets, folding chairs and coolers of beverages lining the sidewalks as early as 8 a.m.

Then at 10:30 a.m., spectators are entertained by more than a mile of fun and entertainment. Parades in the past have included the Homestead High School Marching Band, Dancing Grannies (yes, grandmas who boogie), Pommeranian Dancers, Thiensville-Mequon Baseball Association’s little league teams, the local Girl & Boy Scouts, dozens and dozens of community businesses and organizations and, of course, the perennial little kid favorite — the Mequon and Thiensville fire trucks. You’re guaranteed to see someone you know marching during the almost hour and a half long event.

Once the parade is over, residents make their way to Thiensville Village Park for a cup of free Cedar Crest ice cream, a Wisconsin staple and favorite. Families can purchase lunch from one of the many local restaurants’ food stands, play on the playground and socialize with neighbors.

There’s more music throughout the afternoon and the local dance studios entertain as well. Many families crowd the baseball fields to watch their kids play in the youth baseball tournament. Others park it in front of the Milwaukee River to watch the impressive Badgerland Water Ski Show. Badgerland features skiers young and old, from elementary school age to senior citizens; all of which are incredibly talented.

Evening Festivities

Starting at 7 p.m., residents are entertained by local bands (Christopher’s Project from Milwaukee is a favorite), a Venetian Boat Parade on the Milwaukee River around 8:30 p.m. and, of course, fireworks at dusk! The fireworks usually last at least 45 minutes and promise a great show for the young and old. They are presented by the Bartollota family (who recently opened Joey Gerard’s in Mequon) and have a reputation of putting on a finale that shakes the streets and amazes the eyes.

If you are one of the few who has not been to Family Fun Before the 4th, mark your calendar. It is not to be missed.

The Parade Route

Starts on Cedarburg Road at Weyenberg Library, heads north into Thiensville along Main Street, east on Friestadt, south on Green Bay Road and east on Elm Street to Thiensville Village Park.

Image source: bayasaa

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About Elizabeth Braatz

Elizabeth Braatz was born and raised in Mequon and now lives in Thiensville with her husband and 3 children. She writes for Metroparent Magazine and blogs at

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