Get Ready Kenosha…A Toast to the Return of Summer!

Get Ready Kenosha…A Toast to the Return of Summer!

The Roaring 20s of the 21st Century kicks off with the return of many favorite events
A few organizational leaders from Kenosha provide updates on summer events this year!

Kenosha Civic Veterans Parade & Celebrate America

Spring is in the air and summer is not far behind. Plans are underway for special events, and one of the biggest celebrations involves Independence Day festivities. Kenosha has a long history of kicking off the patriotic fun with the Kenosha Civic Veterans Parade on the Sunday prior to July 4. The following weekend, the Festival Foods Fireworks on July 4 presents a spectacular conclusion to the July 3-4 Celebrate America festival at the harbor downtown.
“A Centennial Celebration: Women’s Right to Vote” is the theme for this year’s parade, set for Sunday, June 27 at 1 p.m. Continuing its community generosity, Snap-on, Inc. is again the lead sponsor for the parade. We look forward to honoring the 2020 Hometown Hero of the Year, Pamela Mundling, and also the 2019 Hometown Hero of the Year, Dennis Warren.  The Hometown Heroes Commission takes nominations of veterans to honor through quarterly awards, and also chooses one veteran as the “Hometown Hero of the Year,” who is recognized at the parade. Both the 2019 and 2020 winners will be honored this year, as the parade did not take place in 2020.
The parade includes a variety of performers and entertainers, local dignitaries and of course our local veterans groups. Each year it is a little different and this year is no exception.  We are excited to see what this year’s lineup looks like. Organizations and businesses are encouraged to decorate floats for entry in the parade and may consider highlighting this year’s parade theme. Floats will compete for the honor of Best in Show, and also first, second and third place ribbons in categories including Artistic Excellence, Patriotism, Hometown Pride, Spirit/Energy and Best Use of Theme. Floats will be judged prior to the parade in the staging area. Winners will be announced during the parade at the reviewing stand area in Veterans Memorial Park outside City Hall.
The popular community bike parade returns this year, with a goal of encouraging bicycling in the community. All ages are welcome to participate – but people must be able to ride two miles without stopping and keep up with the group. All participants in the bike parade must ride a bike; no walking or jogging with the group. People are encouraged to decorate their bikes or add to the spirit of the event by dressing up to celebrate the women’s suffrage theme. Bike parade participants do not need to submit a parade application.
Years ago, the parade was organized by a committee of community volunteers. Today, the parade is put together by City of Kenosha staff, with wonderful support from community volunteers. It takes about 40 parade volunteers to organize the parade and keep it running smoothly. Parade day begins about three hours before the parade steps off, as volunteers meet the parade entries in the staging area and direct people where to line up. Volunteers use golf carts to zip around about the staging area. There are typically about 100 parade entries – some with 50 or more participants – and everyone needs to get in their correct location by parade time.
So many people make my job as parade organizer run smoothly. The Boys and Girls Club supplies volunteers to carry the sponsorship banners. Community volunteers drive dignitaries in their convertibles. Others lend their performance talents to announcing the parade. Friendly parade marshals provide directions to participants.
Look for more information in May on parade details and the parade route on the City web site: Parade applications are posted on the city’s website and also are available by contacting Parade Organizer Kris Kochman in the Mayor’s office at: 262-653-4177 or email:  The deadline for parade applications is Friday, May 28, 2021 at 4 p.m. Early applications are encouraged.
By Kris Kochman
Community Relations Liasion
City of Kenosha

Kemper Center & Anderson Arts Center

The Kemper Center’s beautiful 17.5 acres on the shores of Lake Michigan is the perfect place for summer fun. Get ready to enjoy annual favorites as well as some brand new events.
A long-standing family favorite, the free Twilight Jazz summer concert series is back on Tuesday evenings on the Anderson Arts Center lawn. This year, hear the sounds of local and national jazz artists such as Janet Planet, The Scat Cats, Kal Bergendahl, and the John Crawford Jazz Band. The series begins on June 29.
The Kenosha County Suffrage Celebration ends the Twilight Jazz series on August 24 with live blues and jazz music by Elaine Dame with a special opening performance by Ivy Ford. Celebrating the history of women’s suffrage and the future of voting, the evening will include food vendors and booths by local organizations.
Bring your blankets and lawn chairs to the Kemper Center’s grounds for a 4th of July Backyard Blast. Opening at 11:00am, the Kemper Center will have food and drinks for purchase, children’s activities, and a live performance by GROOVELINE on stage. Stick around after the performance to watch Kenosha’s fireworks show over the Lake at the best seat in the city.
Since Thursday is the new Friday, the Kemper Center is excited to open its new outdoor Lakeside Lounge on Thursday nights. Start your weekend early and enjoy various food options and drinks for purchase while listening to music by a variety of performers. The Lakeside Lounge will be located behind the Kemper Center near the lakeshore path.
For more information on all of these events, go to or call (262) 925-8040.
By Rena Lee
Anderson Arts Center Administrator

Original ArtMarket in Union Parks Arts District is back!

After taking an unanticipated hiatus in 2020, starting this July the Kenosha ArtMarket will be back in the Union Park Arts District. Every third Sunday from 10:00 am – 2:00 pm you will find area artisans nestled amongst the trees and selling their original art in Union Park, 4500-7th Avenue. Artists are anxious to meet their favorite patrons in this unique settling. You will find original fine art, jewelry, pottery and so much more this summer in the park that brought public sculpture, a Little Free Library and mosaic planters to Kenosha’s cozy neighborhood park. Look forward to the introduction of the first Little Free Art Gallery coming this Spring.
Acoustic music will be scheduled throughout the day thanks to the Union Park Tavern. Support from the area businesses; Lemon Street Gallery & ArtSpace, Artworks/Pencillarium, Union Park Tavern and more have put this event back on track. Interested vendors may apply at or on the Art Market tab at
By Beth Dary
Executive Director, Lemon Street Gallery & ArtSpace

… and so much more!
• The Kenosha Public Market has been going strong throughout the winter at their current indoor location at The Vault Banquet Hall, 625 57th St. On May 8th, they return to their outdoor location at 52nd Street and 8th Avenue, open every Saturday from 9am – 2:30pm.
• The Kenosha HarborMarket is returning to its usual location near the Kenosha Public Museum on 2nd Avenue and 56th Street. They kick-off their 18th season on May 8th and will be open every Saturday from 9am – 2pm.
• The Kenosha Kingfish are returning to their usual 72-game schedule in 2021. The first home game of the regular season kicks off on Monday, May 31st at Simmons Field, 7817 Sheridan Road.
• Celebrate America, co-presented by the City of Kenosha and Happenings Magazine returns over the July 4th weekend featuring multiple  stages of entertainment, Rainbow Valley Carnival, Pier Pups, a multitude of food vendors, exhibitors and the spectacular Festival Foods Fireworks.
• Now in its 19th year, PB&J returns to the Meijer stage for an eight week run beginning July 8th. The event, co-presented by the City of Kenosha and Happenings Magazine, showcases a variety of acts at both 11:30am and 6:00pm in Veteran’s Memorial Park on Kenosha’s

• The 73rd annual Mt. Carmel Festival is scheduled to go on July 9th – 11th at Columbus Park, 2003 54th Street. Many of the other usual church festivals are in the planning stages and cannot be confirmed at press time.
• Enjoy three days of food, music, and drink along the Kenosha lakeshore when Taste of Wisconsin returns in 2021 for three fun-filled days – July 23rd – 25th!
• This year Tribute Island, the country’s largest cover band festival, returns July 30th, 31st and August 1st featuring over 50 bands in tribute to some of the most successful artists of our time.
• The HarborPark Jazz, Rhythm and Blues Festival is scheduled for Saturday, August 21st at 5501 Ring Road.
• Kenosha’s lakefront comes alive Labor Day weekend with the return of Cheese-A-Palooza.
• Downtown Kenosha will be jam packed with excitement on Saturday, September 4th with the return of the Kenosha Classic Cruise-In Car Show.

Even some new events are confirmed!
• Women’s Empowerment Summit  is June 19th at the Pennoyer Park Bandshell
• The Kids From Wisconsin are coming to Pennoyer Park Bandshell on July 24th.
• Kooler by the Lake VW and Audi Enthusiasts car show will be Aug. 14th at Kennedy Park.

But this isn’t everything!
It goes without saying that this list is far from complete. As you are reading this, more and more events are being planned. For a more comprehensive list of what’s happening this summer in Kenosha, be on the lookout for our annual Summer Fever magazine – coming in June! For more check the Happenings facebook page HERE or

(This article first appeared in the 3/25/21 issue of the Smart Reader)
Photo supplied by – City of Kenosha, Anderson Arts, Lemon Street, Kim Carmichael, Donny Stancato & Samantha Vaughn of Bird of Paradox Studio
Edited by Jason Hedman 
Concept for this piece by Frank Carmichael, Donny Stancato & Jason Hedman