When it comes to celebrating America’s birthday, the Beloit community goes all out.
Every Fourth of July, more than 2,500 families, friends and visitors get together in Riverside Park for “Pops on the Rock,” a special evening highlighted by a free concert performed by the Rock River Philharmonic, and fireworks that light up the sky.
“It’s a big draw for Beloit and its residents to have this type of show every year,” says Rob Tomaro, Rock River Philharmonic Conductor and Music Director. “Everyone looks forward to it. ‘Pops on the Rock’ brings people together from all over the country.”
In 2015, the event was a tribute to the Armed Forces and American composers such as Scott Joplin, John Philip Sousa and Leonard Bernstein. The concert featured patriotic hits such as “The Armed Forces Salute” as well as “Jurassic Park” and “Carnival Overture.” Tchaikovsky’s “The Overture of 1812” kicked off the fireworks display and the Philharmonic played its rousing rendition of “The Overture of 1812.” Each year the orchestra plays a medley of songs in recognition of each branch of the military.
The patriotic concert was kicked off with a welcome by new Beloit City Manager Lori Curtis Luther. Former City Manager Larry Arft was the narrator for the evening, and Wisconsin Secretary of Tourism Stephanie Klett of Beloit served as the evening’s host. There were even performances by Miss Beloit Outstanding Teen Chassidy Walworth and Miss Beloit 2015 Kylie Thompson and Maestro Mouse, the mascot for the Rock River Philharmonic who encouraged children in the crowd to play kazoos to the tune of “This Land is Your Land.”
“It’s the perfect way to cap off the Fourth of July celebration.”
To help families enjoy the festivities, kayaks, paddleboats and tandem bicycles are available for rent that day at Riverside Park. And there are concession stands that serve a variety of food, from hot dogs to ribs. “There’s something for everyone,” says Tomaro. “There’s a great view no matter where you are in the park. It’s the perfect way to cap off the Fourth of July celebration.”
The Fourth of July Celebration is made possible by the community’s generous contributions to the fireworks fund. Donations are made to the Stateline Community Foundation, which goes towards helping to offset the cost of fireworks.
“The Pops on the Rock concert is a fun family event that draws hundreds of visitors together along the beautiful riverfront.”
“The Pops on the Rock concert is a fun family event that draws hundreds of visitors together along the beautiful riverfront,” says Tara Tinder, executive director of the Stateline Community Foundation. “So many people recall – with fondness – growing up, watching the fireworks and playing with sparklers right in their own backyard. The Fourth of July is a time that we can all enjoy and celebrate.”
“Pops on the Rock” is a special performance that members of the Rock River Philharmonic look forward to every year.
“It’s our pleasure to present this event to the city of Beloit,” says Tomaro. “To have a professional orchestra similar to Rockford or Milwaukee is special and we’re proud of it. It’s a tremendous amount of fun; it’s a chance to see old friends and make new ones. Don’t miss it next year.”
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