Like so many businesses and organizations, the decision NOT to host our Freedom Festival produced events in 2020 is heavy on us all. With NO Festival in 2020, it will create financial challenges for our organization. Click below to make sure that we are able to return in 2021 even bigger and stronger!DONATE!
Cedar Rapids, IA (4/21/20) Due to the continuation of social distancing and precautions taking place to further prevent the spread of COVID-19, the 2020 Cedar Rapids Freedom Festival has been cancelled.
Freedom Festival Executive Director Carissa Johnson states, “It’s difficult to anticipate what the public health horizon will look like in June when the annual Festival events would normally begin. After consultation with the Mayor of Cedar Rapids and the Linn County Public Health Department, we are making the conservative decision to cancel all 2020 Freedom Festival produced events.”
The Freedom Festival is a 501c3 non-profit organization that is responsible for producing events like the Tribute to Heroes Dinner, Balloon Glow, Parade, dockdogs, Freedom Bike Ride, Pancake Breakfast, & Celebration of Freedom 4th of July Fireworks.
“Freedom Festival is a long-standing tradition in Cedar Rapids that brings our citizens and visitors together to enjoy our community and celebrate our country’s freedoms” reflects Cedar Rapids Mayor, Brad Hart. “This year’s festival will yield to the safety of our community due to the coronavirus, but I’m certain Freedom Festival 2021 will be the biggest and best yet. I’m already looking forward to it!”
Linn County Board of Supervisors, Ben Rogers adds “We know this was a very difficult decision for the Freedom Festival board and staff to make. It’s one on a long list of difficult decisions that have been made in the last several weeks. We also know that our community is resilient. We will get through this. The Freedom Festival has long been a signature event in our community, and we know it will return.”
Commemorative 2020 Freedom Festival buttons will be available for purchase beginning May 1st. Cost is $5 per button available at all Hy-Vee Food & Drug Store locations (Cedar Rapids/Marion). To ensure the Festival’s longevity and ability to return in 2021, the community is encouraged to show support through the purchase of a button—this will help offset the costs of pre-paid Festival event preparations and to cover button packet expenses.
“We thank our community and our sponsors for your continued loyalty and dedication to the Cedar Rapids Freedom Festival as we navigate uncharted territory,” said Freedom Festival Board President Jill Costigan. “We are exploring ways the community can still enjoy Freedom Festival Events virtually for the 2020 Festival – utilizing video, Facebook Live, and other options. We look forward to sharing these plans as they develop.”
We hope to see the entire community (safely) for the 38th Annual Festival—returning June 17th – July 4th , 2021! For more information and to receive the most up to date information on button sales, virtual celebration plans, and affiliated events, please follow the Freedom Festival on Facebook and at FreedomFestival.com
Based on the guidance available to us today, and after consultation with the Mayor of Cedar Rapids and the Linn County Public Health Department, we are making the conservative decision to cancel all the events produced by the Freedom Festival for 2020.
All Freedom Festival Produced Events—including (but not limited to) our popular Tribute to Heroes Dinner, Balloon Glow, Freedom Festival Parade, dockdogs, Freedom Bike Ride, Music at the Museum, Pancake Breakfast, & Celebration of Freedom 4th of July Fireworks.
At this unprecedented time for our community, and as much as we were optimistic that we would know more about COVID 19 at the time of the Freedom Festival, we cannot—in good faith—host events that have historically gathered large numbers, some at 15,000+ people.
While we anticipated that the Medallion Hunt could be played this year with Social Distancing in mind, Linn County is currently under enhanced restrictions asking for residents to stay at home. Governor Reynolds asks that all “gatherings for social, community, recreational, leisure, or sporting activities cease through April 30th” (with possibility of extension)
Affiliated events are events that are produced by organizations or businesses outside of the Cedar Rapids Freedom Festival organization. Examples include the Cedar Rapids BBQ Round Up (now The Round-up in 2020), AmVet Riders Chapter 6 Motorcycle Bug Run, Five Seasons Ski Show(s), Voices of Hope Patriotic Concert, etc. We help to support those community initiatives through promotion and advertising. The status of 2020 Affiliated Event(s) will be decided upon and communicated by each event-producing organization, and will also be reflected at www.freedomfestival.com
YES! Hy-Vee has once again been generous to supply a Hy-Vee coupon book inside each button envelope. Additionally, these valuable coupons include over $30 in savings and are good at all 19 Hy-Vee corridor locations PLUS the book includes an offer of $5 back with a $75 purchase—which pays for the button itself! Note—coupons expire July 15th, 2020.
Due to the cancelation of our 2020 Festival, your button purchase will not be good for access to any Festival Produced Events this year OR next year. It WILL, however, show your support for the community and our Festival, and is sincerely appreciated by the entire Cedar Rapids Freedom Festival, Inc. organization. PLUS, the 2020 Button will be unique in that it will be the only item produced for the 2020 Festival—an unprecedented time in our Festival’s 37 Year History!
Local Hy-Vee Food & Drug Stores (Cedar Rapids / Marion only)
Cedar Rapids Freedom Festival office
Of course. Any registration fees / parade entries / Tribute to Heroes Dinner tickets / etc. will be refunded. However, if you’d prefer, we can consider your fee a tax-deductible donation to the Cedar Rapids Freedom Festival. Please email Karol Shepherd via firstname.lastname@example.org or phone (319-573-2288) before May 15th. 2020 and we can provide any tax documentation you will need for your records.
Many are not aware that the Freedom Festival is a 501© 3 non-profit organization—only able to produce large community events because of the generous support of area businesses through sponsorships, donations, volunteers, and partnerships!
Our hope is to return in 2021, bigger and better than ever, but we need your help! If you are able to provide a tax-deductible donation in support of our mission, please head to https://www.freedomfestival.com/donations/ or you can mail a check (made out to Cedar Rapids Freedom Festival) to the address below:
Cedar Rapids Freedom Festival
609 First Avenue SW / STE 102
Cedar Rapids, IA 52405
We try to post as much up-to-date information on our website at www.freedomfestival.com or on our social platforms like Facebook and Instagram. If you have a question not answered here, feel free to contact our Executive Director, Carissa Johnson at or our Events & Marketing Director, Karol Shepherd at email@example.com