Challenge Issued in Return of Community Celebration

Photo credit: Steve Meyer
Photo credit: Steve Meyer

It’s not surprising that birthdays are among the most common celebrations in the United States. But did you ever think that one of the most popular birthday celebrations is Independence Day?

On the 4th of July we celebrate our country, but in Grand Island it’s a two in one celebration. On July 4, 1857, a group of settlers made their way to central Nebraska with the goal of creating the town of Grand Island.

With the desire to celebrate our nation and community, the Grand Island Community Fireworks Celebration committee was formed in 2023 after an absence of the event for a few years. With one 4th of July celebration under their belts, the committee is currently raising funds through Go Big Give for this year’s event, July 4 at Fonner Park.

H & H Concrete and LAX Concrete Pumping and Placement have issued a fundraising match challenge to the community through Go Big Give. They have pledged a $2,500 donation if an additional $2,500 can be raised through the community giving day. Donations toward the challenge are being accepted through 

Donations may also be given at this Sunday’s cheese frenchee fundraiser at the Burlington Station at 603 N. Plum. For event information and reservations, contact Don Deitemeyer at 308-390-4082.

Founding member of the Grand Island Community Fireworks Celebration committee, Chris Rosacker said, ““For Grand Island, we don’t just celebrate Independence Day on the Fourth of July, we also celebrate Grand Island’s own founding. It is important that we honor both our country and our city’s history in festive and spectacular fashion.”

Greg Geis, another founding member said, “It is more than just a fireworks show, it’s a celebration of our independence and the sacrifices made to protect our freedom. That’s why we need your support.”

The committee has made an initial payment to secure the fireworks contractor and to order fireworks, however full payment needs to be made well in advance of the event. Also, due to construction at Fonner Park, some alternative plans are underway for parking during the fireworks. With those plans come some logistical challenges and potentially some additional expenses this year.

Currently, the committee is nearly half way to their overall fundraising goal for this year, but are hoping for additional funds for future events, specifically the 2026 display. 

Looking toward the country’s semiquincentennial, also known as the 250th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence, fireworks contractor Don Wisniewski said, “We’re anticipating a busy fireworks season in 2026.”

Donations for the fireworks celebration will continue to be accepted throughout the year through the Greater Grand Island Community Foundation.

For additional information, reach out to a committee member. The Grand Island Community Fireworks Celebration committee is composed of: Don Deitemeyer, Abbie Gdowski, Greg Geis, Chris Hochstetler, Renae Hunt, Dana Jelinek, Bob McFarland, John McHargue, Steve Meyer, Fred Roeser, Chris Rosacker, Jon Rosenlund, Marty Scarborough and Celine Swan.