Dear Community Members,
It has come to our attention that the community is saddened by the decision to not have a parade in 2023 and are expressing a desire to bring the parade back for the 2024 Fourth of July Celebration. We have heard your call for action, and while we can’t change the decision for this year, we will revisit the decision again for 2024. To make a more favorable decision, we will need to address the concerns of funding and community involvement. Without more sustainable support from community stakeholders, events like the Fourth of July will not be able to continue as they have in the past.
In the past several years, the parade has been cancelled due to the COVID pandemic (2020 & 2021) and the ongoing construction on Brown Deer Road (2022). The committee and staff had explored alternate routes to still run the parade in 2022 but ultimately made the decision to cancel due to lack of an adequate staging area that corresponded with the new route, decrease in community involvement in the parade, and decrease in overall volunteers. This year, the committee had to consider the financial burden of a 20% increase in fireworks without any additional financial commitments from community partners to support the celebration. The Parks and Recreation Department along with the Special Events Committee navigated some difficult decision due to the funding challenges, and we will need your help if we’d like to overcome these challenges in 2024.
Historically, the Fourth of July has run on the following funding sources, donations and sponsorships, day of sales (BINGO, Beer sales, and raffle tickets), and supplemented support from the Tourism Commission fund. No tax dollars were used in the planning or coordinating of events in 2022 and prior. Understandably, since COVID, the Village has seen a steady decline in business sponsorships, resident donations, and hotel tax revenue. This year, the Village can no longer supplement the Fourth of July with tourism dollars. To help with the drastic change in supplemental support, the Village did allot $5,000 from the tax levy to help alleviate the financial strain the event is experiencing.
To have a parade in 2024 the Village will need to establish the following:
- Sustainable funding for the parade via alternative sources outside of business sponsorships and community donations. A projected parade budget would be $5,000 -
$10,000. This budget covers the cost of printing, musical acts, clowns, and other entertainment groups outside of the community organizations.
- Community involvement by community groups and organizations to create floats and participate in the parade. The number of parade units have slowly declined over the course of the last 5 – 10 years. From 2013 we had over 16 community groups participate and in 2019 we had 8.
- Committed volunteers to start organizing and coordinating the parade starting in November of 2023 through July 4, 2024. Volunteers will need to reach out to parade units, organize a parade line-up, and lead day of staging. In the past, this portion took 6
- community volunteers, 2 Parks and Recreation Department Staff, and support of the Fourth of July Committee.
a. Volunteers will have to work with the Department of Public Works and Brown Deer Police Department on staging and road closures. They will also have to work with the Parks and Recreation Department and Special Events Committee on promotion.
There is still time to help support the 2023 Celebration. If you would like to help coordinate, plan, or support the Fourth of July efforts you can reach out to the Brown Deer Parks and Recreation Department or attend a Special Events Committee Meeting which are open to the public. Meetings are held the third Wednesday of the month at 5:30pm.
We would like to thank the Special Events Committee for their hard work coordinating this year’s event and to all those who have already contributed to the 2023 and past celebrations with time and/or financially. Without you, the Fourth of July Celebration wouldn’t be possible.
Danielle Gross, Parks and Recreation Director email@example.com
Tyler Burkart, Village Manager firstname.lastname@example.org