celebrate de pere | may 2019
It's difficult to think of any single event that signals the start of summer in northeastern Wisconsin quite like Celebrate De Pere. The event is fast approaching its 30th anniversary and in 2019, for the first time ever, Celebrate is taking place at a new venue.
Yes, this year all the events the folks of N.E.W. have come to love return, but this time, they'll be going down at the Brown County Fairgrounds. The reason: space.
“We knew sooner or later, we'd outgrow the confines of Voyageur Park," says Celebrate De Pere President, Jeff Tilkens. “We want to be sure that we set ourselves up for a safe future."
More Room, More Fun
According to Tilkens, the move presents several advantages to families attending this year's event, which kicks off on Friday and runs through Monday over Memorial Day weekend.
This year, folks are invited to check things out on Friday night with what Tilkens calls a “bit of a throwback night" as admission is a paltry $5.
Taking the Midway Stage on Friday is the WAMI Award-winning Eminence and upon the Main Stage, regional favorite Johnny Wad.
Taking immediate advantage of the extra space provided by the fairgrounds, Celebrate is happy to welcome the Sick Air Motorcross Show, which will be performing two shows on Saturday and Sunday.
The fireworks are always a big draw on Sunday night. Visitors arriving for the fireworks can expect an unprecedented view of the show this year.
“Because of the new grounds, the fireworks are going to directly overhead," says Tilkens. “It's going to be awesome."
The larger venue will be a great relief where parking is concerned and the event can now offer handicap, veterans and general parking to accommodate visitors.
Sure, the venue may be new, but all the events folks have come to enjoy will return in 2019. This includes the redneck regatta, fishing tournament, car show, family/kids area, marketplace and more!
Also returning this year is the Uncork & Unwine Art in the Park Oasis. This area brings together some local favorites: craft beer, local wines and local art.
“This will be your relaxation zone," says Tilkens. “It was such a hit last year, that we've decided to make it a permanent fixture."
Celebrate has become synonymous with great music and this year that trend continues bringing more than a dozen great acts to its two stages.
On Saturday night the stage belongs to national recording artist, and traditional country stalwart Joe Nichols and on Sunday, the show belongs to Vic Ferrari's Symphony on the Rocks.
To date, Celebrate De Pere has helped raise more than 2.5 million dollars for area organizations and the event's mission to support area organizations with an emphasis on veterans groups continues to this day.
A special Memorial Day service will be held to honor servicemen from all branches of the military at 12:30 p.m. on Monday. Admission on Monday is on a donation-only basis with gate proceeds going directly to area veterans groups.
“Everything goes back to local organizations," says Tilkens. “We do a lot for Vietnam veterans and different veterans groups."
Visitors are encouraged to come hungry as each food tent is operated by a local organization.
“Anytime someone comes in and buys a hamburger they can know for a fact that the majority of that money is going directly to that organization."
Non-profits operating food tents in 2019 include the Bay Area Ice Bears, Lions Club, Desert Veterans of Wisconsin and booster clubs of both West De Pere and De Pere High Schools.
Pre-sale single and family pack tickets are available at a reduced rate at all Festival Food locations and online at celebratedepere.com until midnight of May 23.
General Admission Tickets include national acts. VIP tickets for Saturday night are $25 and available online. These tickets grant access to the premier viewing area with access to private cash bar and private restrooms as well as a chance to win prizes that include meet and greet passes to meet the headlining act.
Admission on Friday (4 p.m.-11 p.m.) is $5. Admission Saturday and Sunday (11 a.m.-11 p.m.) is $10 for adults, kids under 12 are $5. Monday (11 a.m.-4 p.m.) admission is by donation only with money collected going to area veterans groups. Children 4 and under are free.
Parking is $8.
-- Wayne McCairns photo.