4th of July Traditions


A time for friends, family, fireworks, and fun in the woods + water; the 4th of July is one of the most exciting holidays in the Northwoods! Whether it is your first or 50th Independence Day celebration up north, we hope you make new memories and reminisce on old ones. Here are a few of our favorite 4th of July traditions.


Local Parades

While we don't have a Macy’s style parade, our area 4th of July parades feature some of the very best in the north. Local fire departments travel around the northwoods from parade to parade and so can you:

11:00am Mercer
12:00pm Boulder Junction
1:00pm Manitowish Waters
4:00pm Minocqua
4:30pm Greer’s Pier Boat Parade

Northerly Traditions: “My parents get up at 6:00am to reserve a spot for the Manitowish Waters parade. They leave their car and folding chairs in the parking lot of the grocery store. I’m thirty years old and still love to catch candy (except Tootsie rolls, why does everyone throw Tootsie Rolls??)  and I get the chills when the airplanes fly over at the end of the national anthem.” - Elizabeth


Hang the Flag

Whether you keep it up all year or just hang the flag around the 4th, decorate your yard (+ watercraft!) with the stars and stripes of our country. Pick up decor locally at Lakeland True Value Hardware or The Lake House

Northerly Traditions: "I grew up on the north shore of Trout Lake in Boulder Junction and every year my grandparents would hang a huge flag between two trees near the lake. It took a few ladders + helping hands to hang the patriotic giant and was a sign the 4th was just around the corner." - Becca


Enjoy the Flavors

For us, the flavors of 4th of July are one of the best parts of the mid-summer holiday. Here’s a few delicious recipes that make Independence Day at the lake a little more flavorful…

Barbequed Ribs: slow cooked all day - the messier the better.
Baked Beans: the quintessential side to all grilled foods
A good old fashioned hot dog: this one doesn’t have a bun (Elizabeth has celiac disease. so she is all gluten-free all of the time)
Root beer floats: we recommend Culver’s Vanilla Custard + Point Root Beer
Bomb Pops: a frozen, patriotic classic.

Northerly Traditions: "My mom, Susie, always makes homemade raspberry sorbet and blueberry lemon frozen yogurt for the 4th of July (red, white, & blue!) from Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams at Home." - Elizabeth



For the days surrounding the 4th, the night sky is always filled with a pop + crackle as fireworks are being launched off; to enjoy the show, simply sit on your dock and look around. If you prefer a more organized (+ probably safer) fireworks show, almost every town in the Northwoods has their own:

July 2nd
St. Germain - St. Germain Community Park at dusk

July 3rd
Land O’ Lakes - Land O’ Lakes Airport at 10pm
Northerly suggestion - Go early for a good parking spot. Bring food, lawn games and drinks (if you have a designated driver).

July 4th
Manitowish Waters - Rest Lake Park at dusk
Local tip: Come via land or water + arrive early for the MW Skiing Skeeters show at 7pm.

Other area fireworks show:
Boulder Junction
Presque Isle

Northerly Traditions: "We watch the fireworks in Manitowish Waters on July 4th from the middle of Rest Lake. We decorate the boat every year with glow sticks and flags, which is incredibly tacky but so fun. After the fireworks we hustle home so we can watch all of the boats head across the lake towards the channel at one time." - Elizabeth


Celebrate with the Community

Meet The Pilots
Stop by the Manitowish Waters Airport on July 4th to meet the pilots and discover the world of aviation right here in Manitowish Waters (D25), 8am to 3pm.

Brat Stand
Every weekend throughout the summer, Trig’s Village Market invites local non-profit organizations take over their Brat Stand downtown to help raise money for their cause. 

Firecracker Drink at Greer’s Pier Marina
Dock your boat for our favorite patriotic drink, the “Firecracker”, at a popular lakeside watering hole; fruity, boozy, and red, white, + blue delicious.

Kids Activities at Manitowish Waters Community Center
Join Camp Jorn YMCA under the big tent at the Manitowish Waters Community Center for lots of games, laughs, and fun prizes.

Bike to Ice Cream!
Take advantage of the beautiful Heart of Vilas County Bike Trail and indulge in Chocolate Shoppe Ice Cream at Trig’s Village Market. They have a walk-up (or bike-up!) window so you can roll in and get your favorite treat without going inside.  

Northerly Traditions:"Every 4th of July my family makes a trip to The Ice Shanty in Boulder Junction for their Wisconsin-made Cedar Crest ice cream in the flavor “Firecracker”. The strawberry flavored ice cream with Pop Rocks is only available on the 4th and has become a tasty tradition that I look forward to each year." - Becca