People watch the Milwaukee lakefront fireworks display from the patio of the Milwaukee War Memorial Center on Wednesday night.
Michael Sears / Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Milwaukee's famous July 3 lakefront fireworks show has been canceled for this summer — not because of financial concerns or the COVID-19 pandemic, but because there aren't enough workers to stage the event.
It's yet another example of a tight labor market that's also hampering the restaurant, tourism and service industries, as well as businesses that support those industries. Seasonal jobs with modest wages, in particular, are being left unfilled.
Milwaukee County Parks Executive Director Guy Smith in a statement said the county does not have the staff and resources necessary to prepare for the lakefront fireworks and clean up afterward. The event "should" return in 2022, the Parks Department announced Tuesday.
"Canceling this event was a difficult decision that we’ve been discussing for months with everyone involved, and we also looked at the possibility of postponing the event until the fall, but it comes down to simply lacking the resources and staffing needed to prepare and clean up from such a large-scale event," Smith said.
The July 3 display has taken place for more than 50 years, according to the department. It usually attracts more than 100,000 people to Milwaukee's lakefront. Many stake out prime viewing spots by camping out the night before. The event was canceled last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.