South Shore Frolics drops 'Blow up the Beach' fireworks display

Posted at 10:32 PM, Jul 06, 2016
and last updated 2016-07-07 15:11:12-04

MILWAUKEE -- A Bay View tradition is coming to an end. The South Shore Frolics' annual "Blow Up the Beach" fireworks extravaganza has been officially cancelled.

This fireworks display is the finale for the South Shore Frolics. The event is the longest running free festival in the city, but the part it’s best known for will soon no longer exist.

"Our signature part of our grand finale, Blow up the Beach would be restricted, we weren't be able to do that," says Dave Reszel, Bay View Lions Club.

Alderman Tony Zielinski says he originally agreed to end the tradition after numerous complaints from neighbors. But when petitions came in asking to keep tradition alive, he changed his mind again, and even signed the petitions.

But that was not enough. Zielinski says the Milwaukee County Parks System also needed to approve the permits and last week, county officials said no.

"I'm not going to speculate for the county parks. they are a separate governmental entity," Zielinski says.
The Lions Club, who runs the Frolics, says this is a first for them. For two decades, they say they have dealt solely with the alderman when it comes to the fireworks. Now, the non-profit says they will lose money on the custom-made fireworks.

"Unlike a retail store we can't just send those fireworks back," says Reszel.

They are also afraid it could hurt attendance.

"I'm not going to go to the Frolics because I heard they aren't going to blow up the beach, and that's kind of the excitement of it. It's kind of why you go," says Andrew Lutzka, Bay View native.

Others say traditions can be changed.

"I don't think it's going to make more or less people go if they blow up the beach," says Matt Parez, Bay View resident.

TODAY’S TMJ4 reached out to Milwaukee County officials for a response, but calls were not returned. The South Side Frolics start next Friday, July 15 and run through July 17. Admission is free, and there still will be fireworks every night.