Vintage warplanes fly overhead as the American flag is raised above the Long Bridge by Jerry’s Tree Service on Independence Day, Saturday, July 4. 

Liberty Fest’s schedule was a bit shorter this year, but area residents and visitors at the weekend-long festival gave no complaints about the event, other than perhaps the heat that reached 90-plus degrees most days.

“Even though Liberty Fest was scaled back somewhat, it was wonderful to see people enjoying the variety of events and activities around Chetek,” said Darryl Dahl, Chetek Chamber of Commerce president on Tuesday, July 7. “We were hit with some pretty high temps on top of the current health concerns but all weekend, people were on the lakes, at the ball field, exploring downtown, enjoying live music throughout the town and we still celebrated Independence Day with our flag ceremony as well as the annual fireworks over the lake.”

This would be a Liberty Fest to remember, he added.

On Saturday, July 4, Marcia Amble, of Boyceville, and Laura Knutson, of Onalaska, were at the Craft & Vendor Event at The Mill. They were staying at Watersmeet Resort with family—hopefully a new family tradition.

Both said the fireworks and the craft fair were their favorite events. Even though the coronavirus was a concern, they were happy to see people out.

At the Wisconsin Indian Head Country Art and Craft Fair on Saturday was Amy Perry, from Illinois. She was staying on The Island, visiting family.

“Fireworks, on the lake. You can’t beat it,” she said of her favorite Liberty Fest event. Watching them from a boat was the best way to view them, she said.

Perry said she was sticking to outdoor activities, like the art and craft fair, and was trying to be careful this year because of the pandemic.

Also at Airport Park for the art and craft fair was Keith Fields, of Pelzer, S.C. He was in town visiting his parents. He likes the Vintage Voyagers’ Car Show and was bummed that it had been canceled, but he understood the reason and concern. But there was still the Chuck Schaaf Memorial Horse Pull at R-Bar, which he also enjoyed watching.

Tim Cree, of Eau Claire, was at the Mason’s breakfast on Saturday. He attends it to support the Masons. With him was Sophia Johnston, also of Eau Claire, who noted Liberty Fest’s fireworks were the best in the area.

Cree said it was unfortunate that the coronavirus was affecting attendance at events—fundraisers like the Mason’s deserved better attendance, he said. “You can’t live your life in fear.”

Linda Gunderson, of Chetek, was at the WIHC Art and Craft Fair, which is her favorite event along with the fireworks. She also enjoys the street dances, when they happen.

“What we have is good,” Gunderson said when asked about this year’s scaled-back Liberty Fest. “A parade would be nice for the kids, but glad there is something.”

Watching the fireworks on the Long Bridge on Saturday night was Trevor Madis, of Eau Claire. He was with his family. They come up to see friends and the fireworks nearly every year; usually they watch them from a pontoon. The fireworks show, along with the parade are the best events.

“We’re enjoying our family events and not letting COVID slow us down,” Madis said.

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