Freeport concert to highlight downtown celebration that will complement traditional Independence Day events in Port
The Fourth of July will take on a festival feeling in Port Washington this year.
In addition to the traditional 11 a.m. parade, afternoon family activities in Veterans Memorial Park and fireworks at dusk, the day will feature a festival of music in downtown.
To celebrate the Freeport Music Series’ 10th anniversary, founder Bob Mittnacht decided to hold one large concert on Franklin Street instead of the traditional monthly events.
The celebration will be set up much like the annual street festival with two blocks of Franklin Street closed off to accommodate the concert.
“We wanted to do a really big show. This will be a very impressive show, a lot bigger than the typical Freeport concert,” Mittnacht said.
“We wanted to give the community something a little bigger as a thank you for everyone who’s come out and supported us all these years.”
The event will run from 2:30 to 9:30 p.m., when the fireworks are shot off.
The day begins with the hometown parade, which will travel from South Milwaukee Street to Main Street, east to Franklin Street, north to Jackson Street and then east to Veterans Memorial Park.
Following the parade, decorated bikes, wagons and scooters will be judged at the park bandshell.
Kits for decorating bikes are available at Port Washington State Bank’s downtown Port branch.
A bounce house, watermelon seed-spitting contest, music by Will Pfrang and Mackenzie Pauly, food and beverages will be featured in the park until about 2:30 p.m., when the music festival kicks off.
In addition to headliners The Smithereens and Sam Llanas, formerly of the BoDeans, the lineup will include Pfrang, Tommy Keene and Familiar Looking Strangers.
Opening the festival will be Pfrang, a Port Washington singer-songwriter who will perform at 2:30 p.m.
Pfrang has attended the Rocky Mountain Song School and Folks Festival, and has been performing throughout the area for several years.
Keene, a guitarist, singer and songwriter, will perform at 3:30 p.m.
His 1984 extended play recording garnered a four-star review in Rolling Stone magazine and was one of the year’s top independent releases. He’s recorded 10 albums and performed with Velvet Rush and on recordings by the Goo Goo Dolls.
Familiar Looking Strangers, a band hailing from Liverpool, England, will play at 5 p.m.
The band, which has performed in the area over the past couple years, is expected to release new music this year.
Llanas, who will take the stage at 6:30 p.m., is a singer, acoustic guitarist and songwriter who is known for his distinctive voice. He founded Absinthe with Milwaukee musicians Jim Eannelli and Guy Hoffman, formerly of the Violent Femmes.
He is expected to release a new studio recording, “The Whole Night Thru,” this summer.
The Smithereens, a band that was big in the 1980s and early 1990s, will be the headliner, performing from 8 p.m. until the close of the event.
The band, one of the bigger MTV groups, released its first album, “Especially for You,” in 1986. That album included “Blood and Roses” and “Behind the Wall of Sleep.”
The band’s other hits include “Only a Memory,” “House We Used to Live In,” “Drown in My Own Tears” and “A Girl Like You.”
Food and beverages will be available for purchase at the celebration.
For more information on the concert, visit www.freeportmusic.org or call the Port Washington Parks and Recreation Department at 284-5881.