Cedar Rapids Freedom Festival canceled due to COVID-19

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This year’s Cedar Rapids Freedom Festival has been canceled to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

“In the 37 years of our Festival, we’ve not ever had to have the heavy conversations that we have had over the last few weeks — taking into consideration the latest news of COVID-19 and the impact it is making on our community,” a post published Tuesday on the Freedom Festival’s Facebook page said.

The festival typically begins during the third week in June and ends on July 4 with a fireworks celebration. After speaking with Cedar Rapids Mayor Brad Hart and Linn County Public Health, the group decided to cancel all events to prevent people from gathering in large groups.

“It’s difficult to anticipate what the public health horizon will look like in June when the annual Festival events would normally begin,” Freedom Festival’s executive director Carissa Johnson said in a news release.

Freedom Festival’s board president Jill Costigan added that they are looking into ways to celebrate the festival virtually, including video, Facebook Live and other options. More information will be available in the future.

The group is still planning to sell Freedom Festival buttons starting May 1. Buttons can be purchased for $5 at all Hy-Vee locations in Cedar Rapids and Marion.

Any registration fees, parade entries, dinner tickets or additional purchases will be refunded or can be donated to the Freedom Festival. Those interested in donating their fee can email Karol Shepherd at or call 319-573-2288 by May 15.

Despite the disappointment of having to cancel this year’s event, Freedom Festival is already counting down the days to next year’s festival, which is scheduled to return on June 17, 2021.

For those wanting to keep track, that’s 421 days away.

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