All fired up for the Fourth

With a fresh location and a new group of planners, the Fourth of July Fire on the River celebration is being re-invented.

The location will move from the former site at Veterans Memorial Park to the Sauk City Riverwalk area with lawn seating for the fireworks display between the Sauk City Village Hall and the Riverview Mall and Riviera Bowl complex.

The fireworks display will go off near the Highway 12 bridge and include what planning chairman John Ramthun said are “lower level fireworks.”

“We want to utilize the beauty of the bluffs and the river,” Ramthun said. “I hope people leave this year and say you have to come down and watch next year instead of watching from a front porch.”

Ramthun, who leads the group known as 6:8—Making Service Personal, known for its food packing events to help the organization Feed My Starving Children, said his group decided to lead Fire on the River when members of the VFW asked the Sauk Prairie Area Chamber of Commerce to take over the coordination of the event.

He said members are working to expand the day-long Flavors of Sauk Prairie event, based upon the popular Taste of Madison, in which numerous area food vendors show off their best recipes.

The tasters in attendance then vote on their favorite flavors.

Ramthun said there event also would incorporate beer and wine tasting.

Last year 29 vendors participated.

“With the changes we’re bringing in the location, it provides a lot more open access,” Ramtun said. “We’re making it a full day of family friendly entertainment, activities, food and we’re highlighting the best of Sauk Prairie.”

There will be dueling pianos with Sauk Prairie graduates Rory Bolton and Nathan Cicero performing.

He said there is a creative piece in which artists will be on the River Walk painting, with a silent auction for their finished products later in the day.

There also will be a mural creation event in which anyone can paint a piece of a mural that eventually will be placed somewhere in town.

How to help

Find ways to volunteer to help, be a vendor at Flavors of Sauk Prairie, or be one of the entertainment acts by visiting the event website at, or contact John Ramthun at 608-658-4700. The event also can be found on Facebook at

“We’re inviting people into the creative process and to be engaged,” Ramthun said.

The organizing committee is looking for artists to create a Fire on the River “mask” for promotional purposes.

“We’re thinking an Uncle Sam or a bald eagle,” Ramthun said. “Something with a patriotic theme.”